Big Ten Bolsters Corporate Partner Platform with New Inventory, Synergies
Nov. 9, 2009
The Big Ten Conference heads into the highly anticipated collegiate basketball season with a stable of 10 new corporate partners and innovative, new inventory for existing and renewing partners.
The recent boost from exclusive partner Big Ten Sports Properties has accelerated overall strategic marketing efforts and branding for the Big Ten, as well as its member schools. The conference inked a long-term relationship with collegiate multimedia rights leader Learfield Sports in May 2008 to drive its corporate partner platform, and this affiliation already has opened up opportunities for new inventory, flexibility, activation and synergies across all Big Ten member schools.
To date, Under Armour, Avis and Budget Rent A Car, Verizon Wireless, All Pro Classics, K & K Insurance, Rawlings, Team REIL, Britten Banners and MFS Investment Management have committed to the Big Ten as new corporate partners. Additionally, Nissan/Infiniti and Dr Pepper renewed affiliations with the conference, while Spalding, Gatorade and Ticketbag are existing partners finding new avenues.
“There’s no question this has been an incredible year of growth in terms of our corporate partner initiative conference-wide,” said Deputy Commissioner Brad Traviolia. “We have identified additional ways companies can maximize their visibility through a partnership with the Big Ten Conference, and we’re excited for these new opportunities.”
According to Scott Bailey, general manager for Big Ten Sports Properties, many corporations want to attach their brand to a visible entity like the Big Ten. “Given today’s marketplace, we’re pleased with the response we have received from local and national companies wanting an association with the Big Ten Conference. We are helping them create new and different ways to bolster their brand through as many inventory opportunities as possible.”
Big Ten Sports Properties oversees securing corporate partner exposure through media, corporate hospitality, presenting sponsorships of select championships and tournaments, venue exposure, branding opportunities and product sampling. The Chicago- based entity also acts as an integral partner in terms of opportunities for the Big Ten website, and managing promotions and certain retail licensing deals. Additionally, Big Ten Sports Properties works closely with the Big Ten Network to develop strategic and innovative multimedia platforms for certain clients.
Big Ten Sports Properties is a property of Learfield Sports, which manages the multimedia rights for more than 50 collegiate institutions and associations. The company titles the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, in association with NACDA and USA Today, and it also oversees marketing partnerships for the Black Coaches & Administrators (BCA) and provides exclusive sports programming to more than 1,000 radio stations nationwide. Learfield Sports is an operating unit of Jefferson City, Mo.-based Learfield Communications, Inc., which made its initial foray into the world of sports marketing in 1975. For additional information about the company and its collegiate portfolio, including Big Ten member schools Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin, visit learfieldsports.com.
The Big Ten Conference is an association of 11 world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in student-athletes’ lives and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. Big Ten universities provide in excess of $100 million in athletic scholarship aid to more than 8,500 men and women student-athletes who compete for 25 championships, 12 for men and 13 for women. Conference institutions sponsor broad-based athletic programs with more than 270 teams.