College Athletics

Georgia hurdle

A Seismic $4 Billion

  • This article was first published in the FOS Daily Newsletter. Subscribe here.
  • Without college football, Power Five schools will face an altered future landscape.

A lost college football season would cost the 65 Power Five schools at least $4 billion.  As many as 20 FBS athletic departments have announced pay cuts and furloughs to staff as schools have endured heavy losses without spring sports and March Madness. Conferences, meanwhile, are announcing scheduling changes and eliminating tournaments to help shave costs. Approximately 50% of FBS athletic departments are self-sustaining, meaning expenses don’t exceed revenue and require student fees or university support to fill gaps. Without […]

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Contactless Tech Comes to Colleges for Game Day Sales at Just The Right Time

  • Learfield IMG College subsidiary signs mobile commerce deal to bring touchless payments and technologies to colleges.
  • Nebraska among the first schools to sign on for the suite of mobile options. Florida started in the mobile POS space in 2019.

Contactless payments and mobile point-of-sale offerings are coming to college sports venues just as institutions and athletic departments attempt to reconfigure operations and plan for new venue safety protocols in the wake of coronavirus. Sidearm Sports, a Learfield IMG College company, has signed a five-year partnership with mobile commerce company VenueNext to provide the technology to partner schools. Sidearm Sports powers collegiate websites and mobile applications and works with more than 300 NCAA DI programs – or 94% of DI schools. […]

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Trading Sports for Esports

  • This article was first published in the FOS Daily Newsletter. Subscribe here.
  • As universities add esports programs, athletic departments are cutting traditional sports.

Universities are continuing to get on the esports train, even as traditional sports get the axe. Eastern Michigan University has announced a partnership with esports operator Gen. G. to bring competition to the school.  The new EMU + Gen. G. futures program will highlight the connections between gaming, business and technology while also hosting high school tournaments. Gen G. also has partnerships with Kentucky and the University of Pennsylvania. The move is the latest in a trend from universities that […]

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College Teams And Sponsors Push Digital To Grow Without Sports

  • With the coronavirus pandemic wiping out the remainder of the college athletics season, teams and sponsors are turning to digital and social media to fill any void.
  • College sports programs like Navy, Penn State, and Texas are using everything from virtual tailgates to #WallpaperWednesday to work with its sponsors.

Many aspects of the sports industry are struggling to adjust to the wave of cancellations and postponements caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Since mid-March, with few marquee events, sponsorship departments across the globe have had to be creative with how – and where – to reallocate their funds.  Since no college sports are going on right now, Navy is working with its sponsors to fulfill contractual obligations through its social media presence.  Recent social media posts have seen Navy incorporate […]

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Power Five

Conferences Lobby Hard

  • This article was first published in the FOS Daily Newsletter. Subscribe here.
  • The Power Five college conferences spent more money lobbying in the first quarter than any full year prior.

As discussions around college athlete endorsement money continue, the Power Five conferences are doing all they can to ensure a prime seat at the table. The SEC, Big Ten, Pac 12, ACC and Big 12 spent $350,000 on lobbying in the first three months of 2020 – more than they had previously in any full year, according to the Associated Press.  The SEC, in its first-ever foray into congressional lobbying, led the way by spending a total of $140,000 with […]

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NFL Expands Life Skills Program to Prep College Players for Life After the Game

  • One set of courses is designed to help all college football players prepare for their futures, and another is specifically aimed at helping rookies transition to the league.
  • “We hear from a lot of players who go pro when they’re trying to figure out time management or money. We also hear from guys who don’t about how different things are.”

The NFL is expanding its College Outreach Program, which aims to help prepare collegiate student-athletes across the country for all that comes after college – whether that means a professional career in football or not. In conjunction with software platform Game Plan, which works with athletic organizations to deliver online education, the league added a new customized eLearning curriculum to the program. The curriculum provides college football teams with year-round, on-demand opportunities for continued education and growth to meet college […]

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Big 12 football

Q&A: Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby

  • Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowslby believes life will fundamentally change.
  • "I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that there will be disruptions during the season."

On the latest episode of Fundamentals with Ian Thomas, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby joined guest host Emily Caron to conclude a three-part series on college athletics.  Bowlsby talked at length about the effects COVID-19 will have on college athletics as well as his intimate involvement with the NIL rules change proposals. Bowlsby on the potential disruptions to college sports: “It’s hard to imagine that we’re going to get all the way through a fall and a winter sports season […]

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Big 12 Commissioner Says Football Decisions Must Be Made ‘Between Early June And Late July’

  • Bowlsby joined Front Office Sports digital interview show Fundamentals on May 7, addressing topics ranging from NIL to the conference’s ESPN partnership.
  • "Those of us that are involved in the athletics enterprise are going to have to be responsive. I don’t think we can drive those decisions. That’s the tail wagging the dog."

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby has set a timeline for his conference to make decisions about the upcoming fall football season, citing mid-summer as the window during which decisions must be made for schools in regards to a return to play. The conference and its member institutions are working with public health officials and state decision-makers as they try to preemptively plan for a number of possible shapes the football season could take. “We have tried to coordinate with public […]

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Georgia Tech Leads Brand-First Push in College Football

  • The concept of brand has become increasingly important in college athletics - especially in football - with name, image and likeness rules changes coming.
  • “Since I came back home to Atlanta, a large part of my focus has been on building an exciting brand and culture for our football program,” GT football coach Geoff Collins said.

When Atlanta native Geoff Collins came back to Georgia Tech in 2019 to take over as the football team’s head coach, he brought with him a traditional focus with a unique twist: bringing the program back to prominence, but doing so largely by elevating the “brand” of Yellow Jacket football.  This concept of brand is tied to almost every major corporation, sports entity, or celebrity in the country – yet never before has it had as prominent of a place […]

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Q&A: Learfield IMG College’s Cole Gahagan

  • Gahagan said NIL rule changes will “be big. It's probably going to be complex.”
  • Fans will come back hungrier for sports, presenting a big opportunity for marketers.

On the latest episode of Fundamentals with Ian Thomas, Learfield IMG College President and CEO Cole Gahagan talked all things college sports marketing, including the direction of his company, the effects of COVID-19 on the industry and the potential impact of NIL rule changes. Learfield IMG College’s focus going forward: – Continued investment in data aggregation and mining to understand fans. – Creating a “true media company that’s engaging to fans and compelling to brand partners.” – Extend traditional sports […]

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