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Volume 26 No. 227
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Sponsorship Execs Talk Importance Of Activation In College Sports

Biondo said college sports help brands access fans and leverage their peak passion at big events
Photo: MARC BRYAN-BROWN
Biondo said college sports help brands access fans and leverage their peak passion at big events
Photo: MARC BRYAN-BROWN
Biondo said college sports help brands access fans and leverage their peak passion at big events
Photo: MARC BRYAN-BROWN

The final panel of the '19 Learfield IMG College Intercollegiate Athletics Forum looked at sponsorship activation and its influence on the fan experience. Buick Media & Experiential Manager Anthony Biondo said college sports let brands "access fans at peak passion" around big events and, in turn, "leverage that passion through our products." Unilever USA Team Lead/Shopper Marketing Center of Excellence Scott Wolfarth pointed to the uniqueness of fans' commitment to schools. "We can really localize things with those universities in ways that we probably can't do with professional properties," he said.

FEMALE-FOCUSED: NCAA Dir of Championships & Alliances, Corporate Relations, Marketing & Branding Ellen Lucey noted there has been a "huge wave of attention and activation" around women's sports, which she called "exciting." Biondo said about 60% of Buick's sales within the space come from women. He said, "We're buying media around all the NCAA championships, but where we're seeing significant value as a brand ... is within the championship activation space." Learfield IMG College Exec VP/National Sales Andrew Judelson said the women's platform is a "huge initiative" for the company. Judelson: "It's absolutely the right time in our society to be doing this."

GOING GREEN: Coca-Cola North America VP/Marketing Assets & Activation John Mount noted there is a "real sense of urgency" on sustainability industry-wide, and said the company plans to "lean in big time" on its efforts during this year's Final Four in Atlanta. MillerCoors Dir of Sports & Entertainment Marketing Adam Dettman said, "We're looking at it across all of our packaging on sustainability. ... When you think about the total ecosystem around a university and an athletic venue, you got to think about that from start to finish."