When a sponsorship deal is big enough to make the mainstream news it is truly groundbreaking. We haven’t seen this much buzz in quite a while, but while the news media, sports talk radio, and the advertising world are focused on the impact of beer on campus the sponsorship world sees a new gold rush.
First, it isn’t really a deal with the University of Texas.
It is with The University of Texas Sports Properties. The rights holder is IMG College. Why? Because this separates the University from all kinds of liability and legal entanglements. In part, it is why major sports programs contract companies like IMG College. Most folks don’t know this but the Longhorns Iconic Logo is owned by UT Sports Properties. The Alumni Association can’t use it.
Why The University of Texas?
Simply put, where Texas goes, others will follow. I know from personal experience, that if you can get a groundbreaking deal done with UT it makes every deal thereafter easier. Don’t get me wrong, I bet this wasn’t easy. Alcohol sales on campus has been decisive because it is a huge revenue opportunity. According to the Austin American Statesman beer sales last year were over $3 million. There are many stakeholders to a decision about beer sales and beer sponsorship. Beyond the administration, there are major donors, other sponsors, alumni and community leaders. Keep in mind that Texas is not a private institution. But now that all obstacles have been overcome, every other university can point to this deal and not have to take responsibility for being the first. It is a much easier sale going forward.
The media has been asking why a Mexican beer and not an American beer? I see two reasons. First, they were willing to ride out the approval process. It is the first beer partnership with a college and first college deal with an import. While it is as yet unclear if they get any pouring rights, they do get huge activation at the “Corona Beach House” near the stadium (per press release).
Why not Bud or Miller?
They already have huge investments in professional sports and pouring rights. Why open up another bottomless money pit? They now need to determine if they are going to need to defend turf and what it may cost.
So if you are looking to lead a sponsorship category breakthrough follow the template:
- Go after the biggest player in the category.
- Find a partner with a big brand that has everything to gain and little downside.
- Be patient. It’s going to take some time.
- Once you close the deal, go get everyone else as fast as you can.
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