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INSIDE THE DEAL

INSIDE THE DEAL

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THE DEAL


Southwestern Bell signs as title sponsor of the annual University of Texas-University of Oklahoma football game.

ESTIMATED VALUE / LENGTH


$800,000-$900,000; three years

DEAL MAKERS


Debbie Major and Phill Corkins, SBC Communications; Chris O'Hagan, The Marketing Arm; Tad Brown, Streetball Partners International/Host Communications Inc.

KEY ELEMENTS


Title sponsorship of Southwestern Bell Red River Shootout.

Temporary signs at Cotton Bowl, including facade and light pole banners.

Title sponsorship of one-hour game preview television show on Fox Sports Southwest. Includes in-program ad spots.

Sponsor tags on all pregame television and radio advertising.

Luxury suite and hospitality tent at Cotton Bowl.

Opportunity to develop halftime promotion.

BACKGROUND


The Oct. 7 game will be the 95th meeting between the schools. Dr Pepper sponsored the game from 1995 through 1999, and according to reports, the schools each received about $125,000 a year from that deal.

Southwestern Bell is the title sponsor in the first year of the new deal. In years two and three, the corporate parent, SBC Communications, will be the title sponsor. SBC has sponsorship deals with both schools and the Big 12 Conference. The company is also the title sponsor of the SBC Cotton Bowl Classic. Last month, SBC committed to a 20-year, $41 million naming-rights deal for the San Antonio Spurs' new arena. Subsidiaries of SBC Communications include Southwestern Bell, Ameritech, Pacific Bell, SBC Telecom, Nevada Bell, SNET and Cellular One.

Host Communications Inc. handles sponsorship sales for the event. The company also markets the Big 12 Corporate Partnership Program.

The Marketing Arm represented SBC Communications.

ANALYSIS


The annual Texas-Oklahoma game doesn't command the national interest it once did, but it's still a highlight game for fans of both schools. Based on the company's level of activity in the state, SBC must know that Texas consumers are sponsorship-sensitive and that there's still some upside from another deal in this market. SBC, like its competitors, is constantly battling for customers, and a big part of winning business is achieving top-of-mind awareness. It would be difficult for even a casual football fan to escape some element of SBC's involvement in college football this fall.

Alan Friedman (alanf100@excite.com) is the founder of Team Marketing Report and has been active in the sports marketing industry since 1984.

OTHER NEW DEALS


Baxter Auto Parts signed a three-year deal as title sponsor of the Pennzoil World of Outlaws sprint car series at Portland Speedway.

The Toronto Blue Jays selected Rexall Showcase International as its official sports nutrition supplier and the company’s Ultimate Performance products as the team’s official nutritional supplements product line. Rexall Showcase International is a sector of the Network Marketing division of Royal Numico N.V. In addition to providing sports nutrition supplements, Rexall Showcase International will also provide health information resources on topics such as diet, nutrition, athletic performance and physical rehabilitation.

SportsYA!, a Spanish- and Portuguese-language Internet sports portal, entered into a three-year sponsorship agreement with Uruguayan soccer club Atletico Penarol. Under the agreement, SportsYA! can put its logo on the front of the Penarol jersey and gains rights to stadium signs as well as e-commerce of team merchandise.

Source: Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal research

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