Big Ten shoots for corporate deals

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The Big Ten Conference recently hired Dallas-based Learfield Sports to bring in more revenue from sponsorships, hospitality and other corporate initiatives.

Big Ten and Learfield Sports officials announced they have signed a pact where Learfield will develop an exclusive corporate partner platform for the conference through an entity to be called Big Ten Sports Properties.

As part of the deal, Learfield will be “delivering impactful, strategic corporate partnership initiatives for the Big Ten Conference through media, corporate hospitality, presenting sponsorships of select championships and tournaments, venue exposure, branding opportunities and product sampling,” a joint news release said.

Learfield also will be charged with creating corporate opportunities for the Big Ten Web site, and managing promotions and certain retail licensing deals.  Additionally, Big Ten Sports Properties will work closely with the Big Ten Network to develop strategic and multimedia platforms for certain major clients.

Financial terms of the deal were not released.

Learfield already has separate multimedia and licensing deals with several Big Ten schools, including Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.

Learfield officials said they will hire a staff that will operate as Big Ten Sports Properties to specifically handle the rights business for the Big Ten.

Big Ten Sports Properties will staff offices at the Big Ten Conference headquarters in Park Ridge, Ill., and in downtown Chicago.

“We have a deep respect for what Learfield Sports does for its existing partners and firmly believe they are the right partner for us as we look to bolster our corporate partner initiative and other overall marketing efforts,” said Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany.

“This is an opportunity to work with the conference on an entirely new level,” said Greg Brown, Learfield Sports president.

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