Monday, September 12, 2011

Why College Football is Open for Business

Despite the very best efforts of a handful of college presidents to mess up a good thing, college football is open for business. For sports marketers, it's a very, very good business. This past week we saw examples why that is still the case.

On Monday, The University of Maryland caught the attention of all the sporting community--as well as King Lebron James himself-with it's over-the-top uniforms, which were in display for ESPN-nation to see. Dazzling and impactful, you did not have to like what you saw, you just had to see it. "Seeing" something today, is not small feat, as I have written about earlier. Getting attention in the media today is harder than it ever has been.

By this weekend, we saw the other end of the spectrum of why college football is good business, for marketers in particular. During the day, Penn State hosted Alabama. If there ever was to be a greater contrast to Maryland's new uniforms, we saw it in State College Pa. With my earlier reference to Maryland being the Lady Gaga of college sports uniforms, then Alabama vs PSU was like Pat Boone and Lawrence Welk on a double bill at the State Fair--you know what your gonna get, but it ain't gonna be too fancy. And, yet it worked. A stadium of over 100,000 people as well as TV audience of over 7 million. If you are a product marketer looking for audience, you know it will be there.

To close the college football weekend, Notre Dame at Michigan, in the Big House in Ann Arbor. Nearly 115,000 fans, packed tightly, side by side, with a thrilling made-for-tv ending. If there is more tradition in college football, it's hard to top what ND and UM have got going in their annual series.

Some of what we have just talked about will go away, if more than a handful of college presidents get there way, and they "de-volve" in the super conference model. There will be no time in the schedule for those rivals to play one another.  I don't suspect that the presidents who are "in" on this super conference decision have sat down with the CEO's of the various companies that support college football as sponsors and advertisers, but they well should.

The business of college football has never been better, but there is still time to spoil it, especially if you are a president of a university.

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