SBJ/Sept. 1-7, 2014/Colleges

Big South signs sponsors Utz, Kangaroo Express

Two new corporate sponsors have struck deals with the Big South Conference, giving those brands rights to the league’s schools and championship events.

Pennsylvania-based Utz will be the official snack of the conference, while Kangaroo Express, a North Carolina-based chain of convenience stores, will have official status as well.

Utz, the maker of chips and other snacks, is looking to expand its business in the Big South’s three-state footprint of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Kangaroo Express already owns a strong presence in the Southeast and will use its Big South deal to strengthen its position.

Financial terms were not available, but corporate sponsorships at the Big South typically range from the high five figures to the low six figures. The Big South negotiated directly with the companies on these deals.

Utz and Kangaroo Express join a roster of 11 conference partners. Unique to the Big South is that the conference office is able to market and sell rights to their member schools, in addition to the rights to the conference’s championship events.

“We do all of the marketing here, in-house,” said Chad Cook, the Big South’s assistant commissioner of marketing, and a veteran of 11 years at the league office in Charlotte. “We’re a one-stop-shop model for partners because we can integrate them at the local level through assets at the schools.”

Part of the three-year deal grants Kangaroo Express a game-day sponsorship at each of the Big South’s 11 schools.

The company also will run a scholarship contest, which will encourage students to enter through Kangaroo Express’ new mobile app. One scholarship worth $500 will be awarded for each school during each year of the deal.

Utz’s two-year deal will provide the brand with online advertising and sponsorship of the fan poll at BigSouthSports.com, as well as several sampling opportunities on Big South campuses.

Utz came on board for a trial run last March at the league’s basketball tournament with sponsorship of the team benches and decided to return with a bigger deal through 2016. Details haven’t been completed, but Utz will work with the conference and schools to create on-court promotions during basketball games as well.

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