Razorback Sports Properties generated $7.55 million in revenue for the University of Arkansas athletic department in 2015-2016, according to associate athletics director Kevin Trainor.
That’s up nearly 10 percent from the previous year’s total of $6.88 million.
RSP is a division of IMG College, which handles multimedia rights and marketing services for more than 200 schools around the country. The North Carolina-based company has owned the Razorbacks’ multimedia rights since 2008, securing support for the Hogs in a variety of ways including corporate sponsorships, signage, at-event hospitality, radio and television programming, official athletic website advertising and game programs.
RSP general manager David Shoemaker said there are approximately 120 companies who promote their business through the Razorbacks on a variety of sponsorship levels.
There are, however, a select group of companies who are in a sponsorship category all their own. The UA athletics department has 17 partners whose support is at a level that they are able to market their companies as “official” sponsors of the Arkansas Razorbacks.
This level of sponsorship entitles companies to different marketing rights, category exclusivity and the use of designated Razorback images and marks.
“These [companies] want an affinity they can promote across multiple channels,” Shoemaker said. “If you’re going to be the official hot dog of the Razorbacks or the official truck of the Razorbacks, you want to be able to take that and promote it wherever you go as opposed to just a sign in the stadium or a particular radio spot. They’re looking to create that relationship across all platforms.”
Official category sponsors include a number of Arkansas-based companies who have claimed a variety of distinctions — Yarnell’s Ice Cream Co. of Searcy (official ice cream), and Fayetteville-based companies Arkansas Braces & Dentistry (official smile provider) and Vold Vision (official eye care provider).
The group also includes several national corporations like Chobani (official yogurt) and United Parcel Service Inc. (official logistics partner) who partner with IMG to support multiple colleges and universities across the country.
Blakeman’s Fine Jewelry in Rogers is the official jeweler of the Razorbacks. Ben Blakeman directs the family-owned company’s sales and marketing efforts. He said the Razorback brand is a strong connection to make to help promote the store on a more regional basis, and has proven to be an effective marketing platform to reach existing and potential customers.
“Especially in a football stadium with 75,000 fans, a lot of whom travel from other parts of the state,” he said. “It gives us an opportunity to get our name and business out there.”