By Victor Ordonez
Fordham Athletics has signed a multimillion dollar contract with Learfield Communications, Inc. for the University’s sponsorship rights and a portion of its multimedia rights, according to Fordham Athletics.
Learfield is an athletic-based marketing company that specializes in college sports.
“Learfield empowers businesses and universities by connecting big brands to the excitement, passion, tradition, fans and fun of college sports, through customized marketing solutions and experiences,” said Learfield’s website.
The official contract between Learfield and Fordham is set to be a 12-year partnership that will not expire until June 30, 2028.
Aside from Fordham, Learfield has partnerships with eight of the 14 Atlantic 10 Conference schools such as Davidson, Duquesne, George Mason, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Saint Louis and Virginia Commonwealth University.
Through its access to multimedia platforms and sponsorship rights, Learfield will run a local team led by Fordham’s Director of Corporate Sponsorships James Osborne. The team’s job will be to connect Fordham Athletics to local, regional and national brands by acquiring their sponsorship.
The company will manage the multimedia and sponsorship rights for Fordham University, according to a Fordham press release. The company’s acquiring of sponsorships for Fordham Athletics will generate annual revenue for the university, according to Osborne.
At most schools, the company manages all of the athletic department’s multimedia affiliations. However, the contract between Learfield and Fordham Athletics will not affect Fordham’s existing radio or television affiliations, according to Fordham Director of Athletics David Roach.
“In most schools [Learfield] would go out and find local radio stations and ask if they would like to broadcast the University’s games,” said Roach. “We are in a different situation because of [Fordham Athletics’] relationship to WFUV.”
The agreement will allow WFUV to remain the home of Fordham Athletics, said Roach
“We essentially just serve as the sponsorships branch,” said Osborne.
Fordham has already had ongoing sponsorship deals through Learfield with national brands like Geico, Pizza Studio and Applebees, according to Osborne. Mike’s Deli, a local shop located on Arthur Ave., is also a sponsor of Fordham Athletics.
“The goal is not just to provide brand exposure on a larger level with more recognizable names, but also to provide exposure for companies right outside the campus walls,” said Osborne.
Learfield will manage all aspects of the rights agreement, which includes signage and the corporate sponsorships obtained by Osborne and his team.
In approaching these companies for sponsorships, Osborne and his team offer marketing packages.
“The ultimate goal for us is to find the solutions for companies and supplement their ongoing marketing efforts,” said Osborne. “This could include courtside signage, radio exposure or even a presence on any of our digital offerings.”