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Volume 24 No. 113
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IMG Says UPS Deal Is Biggest College Sports Sponsorship In History

Sutton calls UPS deal the
largest in college sports
IMG College President Ben Sutton yesterday said UPS' new sponsorship deal with about 70 colleges and several conferences is the "largest college sports sponsorship deal in history," according to Richard Craver of the WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL. Sutton, who was CEO of ISP Sports when IMG Worldwide acquired it last summer, said, "It's hard to understate how important this is for IMG. This agreement, and the ones like it to follow, really validates the merger because it enabled IMG College to create a national marketing sale outside network TV." IMG Sports & Entertainment President George Pyne said the IMG program enables "blue-chip brands like UPS to reach the largest and most affluent fan base in sports." IMG College VP/Strategic Communications Andrew Giangola said that the UPS partnership "will debut immediately at 'select schools,' with a full rollout of all universities by Jan. 1." Craver notes UPS becomes the "official logistics, package-delivery and retail-business-services provider in all forms of sponsor recognition." The agreement allows the company to "make use of the college sponsorships in its UPS retail stores." Sutton said that "recent controversies involving several Division I football programs did not affect UPS' sponsorship decision." UPS yesterday announced separately a "four-year sponsorship agreement with the Big Ten Conference and a two-year agreement with the Pac-12 Conference," adding to existing deals with the NCAA and the SEC. Sutton indicated that IMG College "expects to make similar corporate sponsorship announcements in the near term" (WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 8/30).

ENROLLING IN COLLEGE: Pyne appeared on Bloomberg TV yesterday to discuss the UPS sponsorship and said, "It’s a big deal because we have made a significant investment in college sports, and the idea behind this was to go to corporations and offer them a product in 49 of the top 50 markets in the Americas with one buy. That’s what's unique, that’s what's different and, frankly, transformational.” The deal “allows the colleges now to get up there" with the major pro sports. Pyne: “For the colleges, it’s great. For the advertisers, it’s a very efficient, one-time buy at a value that can’t be matched anywhere in sports.” Bloomberg's Michele Steele noted it has been a "bad PR year for college football” and asked why companies now should “get into college sports.” Pyne replied college sports fans are a “very compelling demographic." Pyne: "There are 300 Division I schools, and from time to time there’s unfortunate things that happen. But the vast good outweighs any negative.” Pyne added, “As an industry, the value that you get in college sports and the cost for entry is very favorable for an advertiser in comparison to other things in professional sports. That rich demographic and then the size and scale are unmatched” (“Bloomberg Bottom Line With Mark Crumpton,” Bloomberg TV, 8/29).

ORANGE CRUSH: IMG College announced that since the Univ. of Tennessee began using its Ticket Solutions program on July 1, the school has realized more than $1M in season ticket sales this summer. The sales milestone reached this week is the equivalent of more than 2,000 season tickets to UT college football. The ticket department has also sold more than 5,000 group football tickets as well as men’s and women’s basketball season tickets (IMG College).