SBJ/April 30-May 6, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Lowe’s ceding senior award

The Senior Class Award, which has been sponsored by Lowe’s since 2006, is up for grabs now that the home improvement retailer has decided not to renew its deal.

The award, started in 2001 to honor a college senior for accomplishments on and off the field, is being shopped by NCAA marketing partners CBS and Turner, as well as by the award’s founder and administrator, Kansas City-based Premier Sports Management.

The award comes with a valuable three-minute presentation on CBS between the two semifinal games of the men’s Final Four.

Lowe’s had worked with Premier and the NCAA to build a heavy activation plan around the Final Four that includes Jim Nantz as the spokesman. All 10 finalists for the honor typically travel to the site of the Final Four and participate in events and appearances.

The award started as an honor for men’s and women’s basketball players and has since spread across 10 sports. Each one is presented at the championship event for that sport. The finalists also appear at a corporate event on the morning of the Saturday semifinals with close to 50 of the sponsor’s guests.

“It’s grown immensely,” said Gary Heise, president of Premier Sports Management. “It’s a strong part of the NCAA’s corporate partner program, and the activation within the championship events around the country adds a lot to it.”

Because CBS/Turner and Premier are attempting to roll the award into a sponsorship package, financial terms for the Senior Class Award were not available.

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