Loyola Athletics Begins New Era in Corporate Sponsorships

Loyola’s Athletic Department is trying to become less reliant on university funding. To do this, the department has begun to rebuild its internal infrastructure by creating new jobs to improve its finances and marketing.

One way to improve the Athletic Department’s business structure is through corporate sponsorships.

Tim Soboro, who was hired in August as the senior associate athletic director of External Operations, said the Athletic Department still plans to utilize university funding but is trying to do its part in driving revenue.

Pat Schultz, who has worked part-time for Marketing and Promotions in previous years, is the assistant athletic director for Marketing and Promotions, a new full-time position that focuses mainly on working with the Athletic Department’s sponsors and continuing to acquire new ones.

“The reason for having a person solely on sponsorships is because the university wants us to get better at self-funding,”  said Schultz. “There are not many athletic departments that are self-funding … We would like to get more self-funding for us so the university can use its resources on other things than athletics.”

Some of the Athletic Department’s current sponsors are PNC Bank, Loyola Hospital System, Novacare and Nike. The Department also shares sponsorships with Powerade and Coca-Cola with the university.

The specific financial success of the Athletic Department’s sponsorships can’t be released to the public, according to Soboro.

There are several benefits to being a corporate sponsor for collegiate athletics, according to Soboro. He said some of the benefits include the in-game exposure to a loyal fanbase. Fans of college sports are very passionate, and when a brand is associated with a university brand, the loyalty of fans can extend from the university to the corporate brand, according to Soboro.

As of now, Loyola’s Athletic Department is still in the beginning stages of trying to become less dependent on the university. Schultz said that in the process of creating new sponsorships, it takes time to build trust and show the value of partnering with the department.

Schultz said Chicago companies like to be affiliated with Loyola because of the university’s well-known presence in the city. Schultz attributed this presence to Father Michael Garanzini, S.J.’s success in helping the university make a myriad of improvements since arriving at Loyola in 2001. Other sponsors are drawn to Loyola not just for the Athletic Department, but because of other enticing programs.

The Institute of Environmental Sustainability is one example of a program that has attracted sponsors, according to Schultz. He said there was one company (which he couldn’t name because it’s still in the process of negotiating a contract with the department) that was interested in having a partnership with Loyola because of its focus on sustainability.

Schultz said that establishing sponsorships is a two-way street. When the Athletic Department tries to secure a new sponsor, it attempts to show the sponsor all of the ways Loyola can benefit it. Loyola makes this effort by inviting companies to come to games and allowing corporate sponsors to use space on campus for company events.

Schultz said the Athletic Department plans to reevaluate its success once it has completed one whole year with trying this new technique.

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