Aug 26, 2011 at 12:38 PM
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NCAA Schools Set The Rules When It Comes To Lottery Sponsorship

Two years ago the NFL eased its stance on lottery promotions clearing the way for teams to increasingly tie-up with their state lotteries. Now it seem, colleges are exploring similar, albeit more delicate, deals on a more frequent basis.

Both Oregon and Oregon State will receive about $60,000 each to name the Oregon Lottery's new game, the Civil War scratch-it, after their annual football rivalry.

The terms of such deals are up to each individual school's discretion, which means getting cross-state rivals to agree on a contentious topic, much less to the same contractual terms, may not be an easy thing to do. For instance, Oregon State officials approved use of marks, but University of Oregon refused to let the lottery use its logo so the scratch off ticket will feature OSU's logo, but not Oregon's.

"I guess we feel like we've already crossed the line a long time ago in accepting resources from the lottery," OSU athletic director Bob De Carolis told the Oregonian, "whether it be through this state thing, whether it's going to be on a scratch(-it) or whether it's a promotional thing. So we didn't see this being over the top."

In Iowa, a recent tie-up between the Iowa Lottery and University of Iowa Hawkeyes has been several controversial years in the making. In 2007, the Iowa Lottery’s longstanding promotional partnership of Iowa athletics turned into a PR nightmare when a modified version of the Iowa fight song was used in lottery commercials. UI ended the partnership after complaints and threatened legal action. Every year since, Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta says the Lottery has approached the school with new sponsorship ideas.

This year, Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa have signed on to a sponsorship with the Iowa Lottery that will let fans redeem non-winning tickets at the schools’ football stadiums for a chance to win promotional premiums. Deal terms were not released, but lottery deals in the NFL involve both a merchandise fee and a licensing fee, representing a royalty percentage tied to sales of the branded lottery game.

“They’ve made sure they live within our parameters so they won’t be using the Iowa logo, fight song or our name in their television commercials,” Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta said.

Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Iowa and Oregon State are Learfield schools, while Oregon has a marketing and sales partnership with rival, IMG.

With college sponsorship throughout the nation increasingly influenced and networked by a handful of major agencies, look for the trend to gain steam as these schools weather the PR friction and set the precedent for similar deals in other states.

The question is, for $60,000, is it worth it? What's your view on lottery sponsorship at the college level?