SBJ/April 7-13, 2014/Colleges
Northwestern Mutual extends NCAA sponsorship through 2020, gains assets
Published April 7, 2014, Page 5
Northwestern’s original deal, signed in 2012, was good through 2015, but the financial services and insurance company elected to renew early. The extension was struck with Turner Sports and CBS, the joint rights holders for the NCAA.
Northwestern’s assets in the deal include exclusivity in the mutual fund category, a new element to the agreement beginning in 2015, as well as NCAA marketing and promotional rights in the life insurance, wealth management and retirement planning categories. Northwestern has use of NCAA trademarks and logos across all 89 championships in 23 sports. The firm also will maintain its position as presenting sponsor of the “First Four” games in Dayton each year.
New to the deal will be Northwestern’s position as presenting sponsor of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic championship game on Turner Sports. The firm also will have an increased number of on-air features during the NCAA tournament broadcasts on Turner and CBS.
“Just two years in, we’re extremely pleased with how the sponsorship has allowed us to connect with our clients in ways unlike ever before,” said Conrad York, Northwestern’s vice president of marketing.
The primary form of activation on the ground has been the company’s use of NCAA championships to recruit clients and reward its financial planners. The firm, which works with GMR Marketing, has 350 offices nationwide.
In addition to the rights Northwestern secured in its extension, the firm will continue to be presenting sponsor on the ESPN broadcast of other NCAA championships, including volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, wrestling, ice hockey’s Frozen Four, and men’s and women’s lacrosse. Northwestern negotiates those deals with ESPN separately from its NCAA partnership. Those presenting sponsorships, while an incremental spend for Northwestern, are available only to NCAA corporate partners.
Northwestern continues a flurry of renewals for Turner and CBS in the past year. Several deals with existing partners were set to expire in 2013, but Turner and CBS managed to extend each of the eight deals up for renewal in the past year.