Sports Marketing: Advancing Saint John's!

Johnnie athletics strive to be the best in the nation in Division III, and that’s why there’s a “1” in the “U” of the Saint John’s athletic mark.  It’s a great aspiration, but many fail to realize just how much our program in athletics marketing helps to further that goal.

To get a sense of that role, consider this.  For FY’17 athletics marketing has raised a total of $350,000 from 165 corporate partners.  Then consider the 450 colleges and universities in Division III.  No other school comes close to raising these types of sponsorship dollars.  And why is this important?  Athletics marketing provides non-tuition revenue to athletic budgets that are chronically tight.

If John Arnold ’80 is not your typical athletic sponsor, it’s because he and his family have a deep relationship with Saint John’s.  He’s president and CEO of Arnold Companies, Inc.  He’s a regular donor to the Student Fund, has contributed to the capital campaign, and has included the University in his estate plan.  He’s also sent four children to the Prep School, where youngest son Matthew is now a senior.  Son Patrick is a senior at SJU, while daughter Ellen is a member of the class of ’19 at CSB.  But on top of all this, he’s a sponsor of Johnnie athletics.

“Giving to Saint John’s through athletic marketing is a great way for our businesses to align our brands with the University and its athletic department,” he says.  “And certainly this is important for me, as I truly believe in and value the mission of Saint John’s.  By purchasing sponsorships over the years through athletic marketing I have found another way that I can help my alma mater to be successful!”

Head basketball coach Pat McKenzie echoes the importance of all this.  “Athletics marketing at Saint John’s has helped our basketball program and the athletic department to maintain its competitiveness.  It’s helped to offset budget deficits and solve unforeseen needs and financial challenges.  We are certainly much better off by having an athletic marketing program than if we did not have one.”

What exactly does the program support?  For one thing, marketing dollars print game-day programs for seven intercollegiate sports — football, basketball, hockey, soccer, swimming, wrestling and baseball.  These dollars have also helped the publication team earn “Best in Nation” honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America.  In the 2015-16 academic year they earned it for its football, basketball and hockey programs, and that brought the total to 32 awards in the past fourteen years.

Athletic marketing also pays for the Johnnie football, basketball and hockey radio broadcast rights.  This has allowed Johnnie football to be the only networked radio broadcasts in all of NCAA Division III during the past ten years.  On top of that, athletic marketing covers the cost of printing pocket schedules, posters and season football tickets.  All of this creates exposure and enhances the brand identity of Johnnie athletics.

Finally, funds from athletics marketing have contributed to the installation of new turf in Clemens Stadium and the long-end bleachers in Sexton Arena.  And this summer athletic marketing dollars helped pay for the new track and field throws area, located just east of the Haws Soccer Pitch and Becker Park, the home of the baseball team.

So, the next time you hear a sponsor’s spot over the public address system at a game in Clemens Stadium, or read an ad in a game-day publication, consider this. Like support for the student fund and the capital campaign and an estate gift, sports marketing helps.  It helps to advance the mission of Saint John’s University!

[Editor’s note:  Tom Stock is a Senior Development Officer in the Office of Institutional Advancement and also serves as the Director of Athletic Marketing at Saint John’s.  The photograph presents John Arnold ’80 and son Patrick ’17.]