SBJ/Aug. 19-25, 2013/Colleges

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  • ACC gets in games with sponsored app

    The surge in popularity of mobile gaming apps has finally reached the college space.

    The ACC and its multimedia rights partner, Raycom Sports, will roll out the ACC Football Challenge on Aug. 28 for Apple and Android devices. The mobile gaming app will feature all 14 of the league’s football teams and will integrate with social media.

    Raycom signed McAlister’s Deli to be presenting sponsor of the game, which is believed to be the first of its kind among college conferences. It will be free to download, but some upgraded elements in the game will cost from $1.99 to $4.99.

    “McAlister’s is really strong in the ACC footprint and they’ll play a significant role in the game’s promotion,” Trey Walters, Raycom’s manager of new media and business development, said of the restaurant’s 300-plus
    locations in the Mid-Atlantic.

    Mobile gaming apps, those addictive, comically simple games like “Angry Birds” on smartphones and tablets, are played by more than 40 percent of the population with those devices, according to a survey by Bellevue, Wash.-based research group Information Solutions. That’s the trend that the ACC hopes to tap into with a game that serves as a brand extension that potentially could put the league in front of more young viewers.

    McAlister’s, whose low-six-figure investment helped pay for the game’s development, will give the gaming app strong retail promotion with point-of-purchase signage in its restaurants. More promotion will come from Raycom’s syndicated broadcast of an ACC football game each week through the season, as well as online through TheACC.com, which Raycom also manages. At multiple points during the game on TV, announcers will reference the gaming app with on-screen graphics.

    Walters said Raycom has worked on the game through the spring and summer with San Diego-based Naquatic, an app developer.

    The game is played by the user dragging a finger across the touch screen. That motion instigates a field-goal attempt and points are collected for field goals made. Users can play against the game or, with a Wi-Fi or cell signal, against other gamers. Results can be posted to Facebook and Twitter.

    Stadiums in the app are designed to look like the actual facilities, to give it an authentic feel.

    Apple and Android stores will make the game available on Aug. 28, but the conference allowed users to take it for a spin this past weekend at the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., where the ACC is headquartered. Fans at the tournament were able to visit an ACC-sponsored kiosk and play the game on iPads.

    As the game gains users, Raycom will offer a VIP trip to the ACC football championship game in Charlotte to players who score well. McAlister’s gift cards and ACC-branded gear also will be part of the giveaways through the fall.

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  • Nelligan back as FAU rights holder

    Pat Chun capped off his first year as athletic director at Florida Atlantic earlier this month with a new multimedia rights deal that is expected to pay $25 million over the next 10 years.

    The agreement extends the relationship between Boca Raton-based FAU and Nelligan Sports, which began in 2006, through 2023. Nelligan’s contract guarantees FAU a little over $2 million a year. Additional revenue can come from a revenue split between the school and the multimedia rights holder if Nelligan hits certain sales goals.

    Nelligan will have rights to FAU’s corporate sponsorship, signage and advertising sales, among other assets.
    Chun spent 15 years as an associate AD at Ohio State before taking over the Owls’ athletic program last summer, when the Nelligan deal initially expired. With FAU in the second year of its football stadium and entering its first season as a Conference USA member, Chun asked for additional time so that he could research the value of FAU’s multimedia rights.

    “That bridge was important,” he said. “That also gave us a year to see the level of professionalism Nelligan brought to the table.”

    Chun hired Chicago-based Navigate Marketing to evaluate FAU’s sponsorship assets and values, which led to the most recent deal. That was an important step for a school moving up in conferences and trying to build on a young football program entering its 13th season. Mark Donley, senior vice president at Nelligan, led the talks for the rights holder.

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  • Pac-12 moving its headquarters to San Francisco

    The Pac-12 will consolidate its headquarters with its media enterprise next year, bringing all of the conference’s operations to one location in downtown San Francisco.

    Commissioner Larry Scott confirmed that the Pac-12 will move out of its current offices in Walnut Creek, Calif., in August 2014 and take over a space adjacent to the Pac-12 Networks offices in the SoMa section of San Francisco.

    The conference employs close to 50 in its main office, not including the 130 employees who work on the media side. The Pac-12 headquarters have been in Walnut Creek for the last 35 years.

    Scott explained that the new conference office will be separate from the media office, but they will be side-by-side, “providing enhanced opportunities for communication among both staffs and creating a great meeting center for conference teams, coaches and administrators.”

    The move from Walnut Creek, which sits east of Berkeley, across the bay to San Francisco certainly will provide the conference with a more prestigious address in a growing part of the city, just blocks away from AT&T Park.

    SoMa stands for South of Market Street, and the Pac-12 will be located on 3rd Street.

    “It’s a closer proximity to the major Bay Area airports, and the dynamic city atmosphere will be a plus to groups that come to San Francisco to meet with us, including important business clients,” Scott said.

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