SBJ/October 31-November 6, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Title helps UConn boost sponsorship revenue by 20 percent

Terry Lefton
While we are keenly aware that winning matters, a recurring mission here is to try to determine just how much it matters — and perhaps apply a framework to selling sports marketing assets without focusing on wins and losses, since they are generally out of the purview of the marketing department.

However, it is always intriguing to see what kind of return a championship yields. In the case of the NCAA basketball championship won by the University of Connecticut this past April, sponsorship revenue is up about 20 percent. Renewals, as you might expect, were knocked down at about the same percentage as a two-foot bank shot in the lane — with close to a 100 percent return from incumbent patrons, including AT&T, Coca-Cola, Dunkin’ Donuts, People’s Bank and Toyota. Newcomers included office technology specialist Connecticut Business Systems.

Tom Murphy, IMG College’s general manager of University of Connecticut sports marketing, also points out that the continued excellence of the university’s women’s basketball squad and the first BCS appearance by the football Huskies in the Fiesta Bowl last season did not hurt, either. Hartford, where the NCAA basketball champs split their home games at the XL Center when not playing at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, “is obviously not New York or Boston, but UConn is relevant all over now,” Murphy said.

AGENCY OF RX-CORD: Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment has been named the domestic sports agency of record for the U.S. division of Sanofi-Aventis, the world’s fifth-largest pharmaceutical company.

Sanofi’s largest sports programs in the U.S. are its lead sponsorship of the Team Type 1-Sanofi pro cycling team and an NBA/WNBA sponsorship, now in its second year. Both are used for diabetes awareness, a malady for which Sanofi has a variety of drugs. The company also has aggressive plans for expansion into related areas.

NEWSCOM
“There’s still a strong appetite for sports and media investments.”
Bob Gutkowski
New partner,
 innovative strategic management
HOLD THE LINE: We’ve gotten some clarity regarding MetroPCS taking the USA Basketball sponsorship rights sold by the NBA, while Sprint has NBA and WNBA rights through a deal signed this past summer. Sources close to the deal tell us that USAB rights were off the table when Sprint was in negotiations in late spring, since Metro already had a verbal agreement with USAB. The upshot: Assuming the NBA returns to the court this season, that would leave the NBA with two telecom brands leveraging its top hoop assets in 2012.

COMINGS & GOINGS: Former Madison Square Garden President Bob Gutkowski is joining Roslyn, N.Y.-based Innovative Strategic Management as a partner, spearheading an expansion of the private equity firm into sports, media and entertainment. ISM represents funds with $3.8 billion under management. It was founded in 2002 by former MSG executive Howard Kahn. Gutkowski noted that several of those funds have or have owned sports equipment, media and publishing investments. “There are some sports brands out there interesting to some people, and overall there’s still a strong appetite for sports and media investments,” said Gutkow-ski, who helped engineer the roll-up of what became The Marquee Group and SFX. … Former NBA marketer Dan Pincus was named assistant vice president, sponsorship and promotions at MetLife, filling a vacancy created when Kim Taylor left the company. Pincus was most recently at Strategic, New York City. … Former NHLer and more recently NBA vice president of global partnerships Frank Nakano leaves the league after four years to join JPMorgan Chase’s burgeoning sports and entertainment marketing department headed by Steve Pamon, a former NFL executive. … Mandy O’Donnell goes to Ben Sturner’s Leverage Agency as senior vice president of integrated marketing. She was last at MSL Group, working on accounts including Puma, Women’s Professional Soccer and Heineken.

Terry Lefton can be reached at tlefton@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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