Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Allstate And College Football: A Nice "Safety Net" For Both


Anyone who knows me well, knows that I’m a ridiculous college football fan. It’s the one sport that I’m just stupid about. I don’t really have to say much more than tell you that I have I’ve had a college football fantasy league team for the past three years and that I didn’t see anything wrong with staring at the ESPN GameCast of the New Mexico-Air Force game last night.

So, I’m a big fan. Now combine that with the fact that I’m always looking for the business angle, even if I’m just sitting on the couch.

This being said, I thought it was finally time to talk about those Allstate nets since miraculously given the marriage of what I love and what I do, I somehow have never talked about them. But this is a great marketing relationship.

In 2005, Allstate begin advertising at college football games by putting the Allstate logo on the ball-catching nets behind the goalposts. The program started in 2005 with 47 schools and the exposure generated almost 34 minutes of on-screen time. Last year, the number increased to 54 schools and the exposure jumped to an hour and 18 minutes. This year, 60 schools have the Allstate nets and they’re on line for yet another exposure record.

This sponsorship works on many levels. First of all, a safety net is perfect for an insurance company. Secondly, the exposure is as non-threatening as possible to fans who object to advertising on the field of play, yet at the same time it’s clearly noticeable. Lastly, there’s a feel good aspect to it all. While Allstate pays for a sponsorship, they also give money back. Allstate donates $300 for every field goal kicked and $100 for every extra point converted by the home team.

Eight BCS teams currently have Allstate nets: (2) Boston College, (3) LSU, (4) Arizona State, (8) Virginia Tech, (16) South Carolina, (17) Hawaii, (21) California, (23) Connecticut. Thanks to the leg of place-kicker Chris Summers and the potent offense of Purdue, the Boilermakers lead the participating schools in scholarship money ($5,200).

I noticed this season that Allstate competitor State Farm has started to compete for advertising on those nets, but it's also done its own creative advertising as well in college sports. They have deals to put signage on the basketball hoop support arms at more than 40 college arenas.

Questions?  Comments?

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