August 2 2019



Heiner Shares His Expert Insight on “What’s Next?” and Best Practices For Brands Sponsoring College Sports

STAMFORD, Conn. – August 2, 2019 – Octagon, the worldwide leader in Sports and Entertainment marketing, is proud to announce that Bo Heiner, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Events, has been named to Sports Business Journal’s 2019 “College Sports: Power Players list.”

Recognized as one of the most distinguished leaders and dealmakers in the business of college athletics, Heiner regularly provides strategic insight and guidance to Octagon’s robust roster of clients currently activating or exploring sponsorship opportunities in the college sports landscape.

Heiner’s tenure of experience has included bringing college sports sponsorship programs and campaigns to life for brands including The Home Depot, Delta Air Lines, Piedmont Healthcare, and Georgia Power.

Listed below, Heiner shares his expert insight on “What’s Next?” in the industry, and best practices for brands sponsoring college sports.

  • Multiple Points of Entry: Based on the multiple points of entry into college athletics, brands should do their homework on the front end of sponsorship evaluation to determine goals and objectives. Is the target students or alumni? How important is campus activation? Are there geography factors? All of these considerations, among others, will help align the most strategic investments.


  • Where to Invest: College athletics sponsorship investment options are wide-ranging and include schools, conferences, bowls/tournaments, coaches, talent, media, and much more. Brands need to be hyper-focused on their goals, to make the most strategic investments. Those that are primarily focused on local interests have a tremendous opportunity to tap into fan passion for local college athletics programs. For example, Octagon client Georgia Power has partnered with several universities in the state of Georgia, to sponsor their individual school programs and leverage local school affinity. Brands focused on national exposure, such as Octagon client The Home Depot, can take a broader national media partnership approach, as with the case of The Home Depot’s campaigns with ESPN and CBS.


  • The Bench is Deep: For decades, college football and men’s college basketball have been the go to college sports categories for brands and sponsors. With a 10% YOY increase in household TV viewership for college football, and 100+ million live streams on March Madness Live, NCAA football and basketball continue to prove to be premium and growing platforms. There are however several other rising and underleveraged sports categories available to marketers. The list includes men’s and women’s lacrosse, women’s softball (the 2018 Women’s College World Series averaged 1.05 million viewers, up 20% from last year), women’s basketball, as well as college baseball.


  • College Football Playoff Expansion: While I personally like the four team College Football Playoff format, it seems inevitable that more teams will be added, thus creating more fan and school engagement, sponsorship opportunities, and revenue. The addition of more teams to the CFP could provide new opportunities for existing sponsors and new brands to take advantage of the platform in new and unique ways.


  • Wahoowa: March Madness is my favorite sports event, and I was particularly engaged watching my UVA team win it all this past year. Nothing beats March Madness for excitement, drama, upsets, storylines and the ultimate reality TV.