SBJ/May 13-19, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Fishbait, GMR upfront with college knowledge

Two agencies with clients deep in the college sports marketplace are looking to answer questions and offer insights about that dynamic and volatile space, all in the midst of this week’s upfront presentations in New York.

Fishbait Marketing and GMR Marketing will host a two-hour college sports marketing forum on Tuesday at the B.B. King Blues Club on West 42nd Street. Marketing executives from agencies and brands, as well as football and basketball coaches, are scheduled to answer questions. The audience is expected to be made up of executives from agencies, brands, TV networks and other affiliated areas.

Mike Boykin, executive vice president at GMR, said he expects 140 to 170 people to attend the free event to discuss the changes in the college landscape, best practices in the space, and how to manage and reach goals through college sports.

“The college space is red hot right now, but it’s also going through a lot of changes,” Boykin said. “We just want to have a discussion about what’s working and what’s not.”

Boykin and Fishbait’s Rick Jones will host the event. GMR’s clients include NCAA partners Northwestern Mutual, Lowe’s and Hershey. Fishbait represents the football and basketball coaches associations.

“We’ve been talking about doing something like this for a year,” Boykin said. “We just had to find a gap in the upfront, and that’s what we did. This is for anybody in the space or who’s looking to get into the space.”

Boykin emphasized that there will be no sales presentations as part of the forum.

“There are a lot of moving pieces in college sports, and it’s growing,” he said. “We’re just looking to offer some thought leadership and education.”

Among the expected guests are Chad Dern from Northwestern Mutual, George Pyne from IMG, Tom Lamb from Lowe’s, Michael Kelly from the BCS, former Nebraska coach and athletic director Tom Osborne, Learfield’s Andy Rawlings, ESPN’s Rob Temple, Will Funk from Turner Sports and Tom McGovern from Optimum Sports. St. John’s basketball coach Steve Lavin is among the coaches expected to be there.

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