BYU corporate sponsorships withstand COVID-19


Many teams and businesses have tried to cope and adjust to their new reality after spring sports were suspended. One sector of BYU Athletics that has tried to readjust is the Corporate Sponsorship Team (CST).

On Thursday, March 12, BYU announced that athletic competitions would not permit fans to watch, then shortly after suspended all athletic competitions. BYU Athletics administrators worked with President Kevin J. Worthen and other universities on the next steps moving forward.

The CST is responsible for partnering with local and national businesses that sponsor the athletic brand in return for advertising and promotions during games, meets and more. CST responsibilities involve attending these competitions, meetings and client lunches. They now rely on the digital world to complete this work.

Business Development Manager Matt Jarvis and his colleagues have transitioned to working from home. Typically, this time of year they hone in on seeking new sponsors to boost the brand.

“Over the past week a lot of our conversations are focused on learning how the virus is affecting our clients’ businesses and if there’s anything we can do to assist in a challenging time,” Jarvis said. “Some sponsors are still moving forward with renewal, while other conversations are working towards finalizing what the sponsorship might entail with a commitment likely to come after things get back to normal.”

Since the virus has struck, many businesses have suffered sales and traffic. Senior National Account Executive Jake Murphy’s job allows him to work closely with these businesses to plan the next moves going forward.

He said his team is working with the business contracts that are affected by the absence of spring sports due to the pandemic. As of now, most of the contracts go through the 2020-21 season and businesses pay out either upfront or in installments.

“Our team is currently working with each sponsor to find a replacement for the value of any spring sports asset we aren’t able to fulfill due to the cancellation of games,” Murphy said.

Reaching the target audience without live sporting events is another challenge that has been presented to the CST. Various digital media mediums will now provide advertising almost exclusively. Businesses that buy in-stadium signage or promotions will now be featured online.

“We’re developing a social media campaign to encourage BYU fans to support our restaurant partners during this challenging time when they are looking for takeout or delivery food options,” Wood said. “We’re sensitive to the current climate and will be flexible as we determine the best ways to be a good partner.”

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