When it comes to Weber State University athletics, money is the big factor that makes everything turn, and a good portion of that money comes through corporate sponsorship.
Under the tenure of Athletic Director Jerry Bovee, who took the position five years ago, Weber State has brought in over a half a million dollars from sponsorships. The driver of that growth was a restructuring of marketing and promotion for athletics.
It started with the cultivation of culture in the Athletic Department, according to Bovee. The attention to detail at Stewart Stadium stands out to sponsors.
One example of this is the upgrade to the athletic office reception area, which went from a plain background with a painted mascot to a wood paneled surface with a burnished metal, fierce looking Wildcat underscored by the words, “Weber State.” Weber State has put efforts towards painting the basketball stadium and refinishing the tennis courts.
“Presentation of every sport through the stadium, as well as the new courts, is why corporations are excited to partner (with us),” Bovee said.
Bovee said he is proud of what Weber State has, and added that they are putting their best foot forward.
“Everything speaks,” Bovee added, quoting Walt Disney.
Another key in the restructuring was to outsource corporate sponsorship management to a third party called KP Sports.
“KP Sports has been a wonderful partner in increasing our brand in the community, and we look forward to continued success and growth in the years to come,” Bovee said.
A few other universities have outsourced their corporate sponsorship management including BYU, University of Utah and Utah State University.
Weber State Athletics Director of Corporate Partnerships Dave Champlin focuses on the coordination of sponsors. He handles existing partners and seeks interested parties who might want ad space at Weber State.
Some of his big clients include Adidas, Larry H. Miller, America First Credit Union, Coca Cola and most recently RC Willey.
Damian Lillard’s career is of the best sales pitches Weber State can make to sponsors. Lillard was a star on Weber’s basketball team who catapulted Weber State University’s recognition when he was drafted by the NBA and became Rookie of the Year.
Before Lillard became a major spokesman for Adidas in the NBA, he was a Weber State athlete sponsored by Adidas.
Adidas is the main supplier of Weber athletic apparel, and the partnership goes beyond the athletic department. The Weber State University campus store sells some of the latest Adidas gear, and, because of the partnership with the Adidas brand, they can sell it for a reduced price.
As for the upcoming renewal of the contract with Adidas, Bovee says there will be a special party with Damian Lillard attending.
“Lillard has direct access to Adidas management,” Bovee said. “We (Weber State Athletics) will use him for leverage, because we have kept a close relationship.”