The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee athletic department has announced a new partnership with Front Row Sports Marketing, a nationally recognized sports marketing firm based in Philadelphia.
The main goal of the partnership as stated on the UWM athletics website is to “secure commercial rights revenue, and drive the brand-enhancing sponsorships that will elevate the on and off-field experiences for students, alumni, and Milwaukee Panthers fans around the globe.”
Specifically, Front Row Sports marketing will be looking to secure corporate sponsorships for UWM athletics from the greater Milwaukee area and southeast Wisconsin abroad.
After securing the sponsorships, Front Row will be looking within UWM for potential advertising assets which can be sold to the new sponsors. This can be as simple as using wall space for a promotional banner or as complex as a corporately sponsored half time show.
“We have to turn over every stone and make sure we’re optimizing every revenue opportunity,” said Associate Athletic Director Charlie Gross. “We saw this was the best area for potential growth. The Milwaukee market is a very sports-minded market and UWM has a major foothold. We felt that in order to reach potential audiences and not become stagnant, it was worthwhile to investigate what opportunities could come about.”
The process in acquiring the deal began in late 2012 when the athletic department put out request for proposal (RFD). An RFP allows companies to make bids to organizations in order to acquire a certain asset, service or commodity. In this case UWM’s request was for a company specializing in creating corporate sponsorships and utilizing potential advertising platforms.
Front Row Marketing Services was attracted to UWM’s RFP and made an offer. After deliberation on both sides, a five-year contract was negotiated and signed.
“They were pretty aggressive and clear with their interests,” said Director of UWM Athletics Amanda Braun when asked what attracted them to Front Row’s bid. “They understand the kind of department we are and the community we have here in Milwaukee.”
Bringing in a sports marketing firm for corporate sponsorships is an increasing trend in collegiate sports. Area schools such as Marquette and UW-Green Bay have signed with Nelligan Sports Marketing, and UW-Madison with Learfield Sports.
“They have a real opportunity to add value to the university,” said Braun. “We’re excited to see the results.”