SBJ/June 24-30, 2013/Colleges

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  • PrimeSport deal boosts college presence

    Two companies deep in the college hospitality space are joining forces.

    PrimeSport, the official hospitality provider for the BCS championship game and the Final Four, has acquired Premiere Global Sports, an agency with several individual school relationships.

    Soni
    No financial details will be released, said Sam Soni, CEO and president of Atlanta-based PrimeSport.

    Premiere, with headquarters in Libertyville, Ill., and a main office in Cary, N.C., was formerly owned by a private equity firm, Pfingsten Partners.

    Everything under the Premiere banner will be rebranded to PrimeSport, beginning immediately.

    Premiere is mostly known for its fan travel packages for college sports and NASCAR events. Premiere has the designation of the official or preferred fan travel partner for 40 colleges, including North Carolina State, Nebraska, Ohio State and Oklahoma.

    PrimeSport conducts VIP hospitality at big events, a ticket exchange and fan travel packages.

    “We’ve been considering Premiere for quite some time,” Soni said. “When you look at our existing relationships with the NCAA and the BCS, and their strengths in collegiate travel at the school level, you can see how the two companies are very complementary.”

    Premiere’s NASCAR ties also will take PrimeSport in a completely new line of business. Premiere has relationships as the official or preferred fan travel partner with a dozen racetracks, including Daytona International Speedway.

    “We own a significant market share of fan travel in NASCAR,” said Brian Wilder, executive vice president at Premiere. “We’re excited to put together what we’ve got with PrimeSport to see what we can become.”

    Both companies are deep in the bowl space, through their ties with both the bowls and the individual schools.

    Premiere’s management, led by Wilder and Scott Jernigan, will stay on in executive roles with PrimeSport. Wilder will be chief product officer, working on the travel package side of the business, while Jernigan will be chief business officer.

    Soni said he has known Wilder for close to 20 years and the two companies have worked together in the past on Super Bowls and other big events.

    “This is the right move for us now to keep growing market share,” Soni said. “We have a unique model. We’re not just one thing. We’re operating a ticket exchange, we produce hospitality events, and all kinds of sports travel. This positions us to keep growing those areas.”

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