SBJ/Jan. 20-26, 2014/Colleges

College Football Playoff inks hospitality deals

The College Football Playoff has struck partnerships with four companies to handle hospitality sales and marketing for the inaugural championship game next season.

Michael Kelly, the CFP’s chief operating officer, said the hospitality arm will be branded Playoff Premium, which will designate official CFP packages. The four partners will be: Colonnade Group, Birmingham, Ala.; Dallas Fan Fares; QuintEvents, Charlotte; and PrimeSport, Atlanta. Each has a one-year agreement with the Dallas-based CFP.

All four of the agencies will sell from the same pool of inventory, and the formal sales process will kick off this week for next January’s title game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. In the past, each bowl has handled its own hospitality. Revenue from hospitality sales will go to the CFP and the providers will be paid a commission.

“This is a new model that will allow us to cast a very wide net, but also operate within our vision,” said Kelly, who joined the CFP in November 2012 after five years at the ACC.

Playoff Premium will offer corporate customers and fans the chance to create packages that will range from $1,899 to $5,999 per person. Suites in AT&T Stadium will go for $4,000 per person and up. Pricing is largely based on the location and size of the suites, as well as the location of the seats that are included in the packages. Other assets could include hotel, field access, tours, meet-and-greets with former players, gifts and parking.

Ken Elder, the CFP’s senior director of marketing and strategic partnerships, will oversee hospitality and each of these new relationships will flow up through him.

Roughly 3,000 tickets will be incorporated into hospitality packages. Kelly said the CFP has not yet determined what capacity will be at AT&T Stadium, where it can range from 80,000 to close to 100,000 because of standing-room-only areas. Kelly said more than 50 percent of the tickets will go to the participating teams. The CFP also has announced that 1,000 tickets will be available for purchase through a random drawing.

Hospitality plans for the two semifinal games at the Rose and Sugar bowls have not been finalized.

Elder, who has directed or consulted the sales and marketing for six Super Bowl host committees over the last 12 years, said the CFP did not use requests for proposals during the selection process. Instead, CFP officials used their contacts to assemble a set of candidates.

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