Aug 28, 2009 at 01:49 PM
written by rEvolution

The New American Pastime – College Football

If you are in the same boat with a huge percentage of American sport fans, you are already well aware that the college football season officially kicks off on September 3. As the sports media shifts its focus away from baseball and toward the gridiron, it’s not too late to get off of the sidelines and into the game.

I know what you brand marketers are thinking, “Can I really afford to be in football?” The better question might be, “Can I afford not to be?”

According to recent fan interest studies, college football is now the number two sport (only behind the NFL) in terms of fan interest in the United States. And while the NFL may be the most popular, it is also the most expensive.

Here’s the silver lining – due to economic conditions, there are plenty of deals to be had in college football. Additionally, the window to make deals in college football is wide open and will remain open and active through the fourth quarter of 2009.

Why should college football be on your marketing radar? For starters, fan interest hits its peak during “back-to-school” promotions, as well as the pre-holiday shopping months of November and December.

It’s also important to keep in mind that when we’re talking about marketing opportunities in college football, we’re talking above and beyond media and naming rights. We’re talking integration.

Integration isn’t just a buzz word. Opportunities for brands/sponsors abound in college football and include everything from media, sponsorship, events, corporate hospitality, etc., even bowl game naming rights and title sponsorships are still available. Brands and companies do not and should not have to settle for off-the-shelf packages. The customization of college football deals is now more widely available than ever before.

The bottom line is that there’s never been a better time to consider college football as a part of your integrated marketing strategy. And if you’re a current college football sponsor, it’s also not too late to ask, “How are we using college football in our marketing mix?” And, “Is it integrated into our overall marketing strategy?”

Marketing and college football isn’t a desperation Hail Mary, it’s a touchdown.

Larry Mann is an executive vice president at rEvolution, a Chicago-based firm specializing in sports marketing services. For more info about rEvolution, as well as frequent insights on the practice of sports marketing, visit their blog at

photo credit via flickr: sd kirk