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Senior CLASS Award

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Since 2001, the Senior CLASS Award® has developed into a highly successful property created by Premier Sports. It has seen remarkable growth due to several strategically engineered partnerships with CBS, Lowe’s, the NCAA and most recently Turner Sports.

The Senior CLASS Award was launched after sportscaster Dick Enberg suggested a national award for seniors during the 2001 NCAA Men’s Final Four® on CBS when Shane Battier, a potential NBA lottery pick who chose to return for his senior season, helped lead Duke University to the National Championship and earned his college degree. With Enberg’s call for an award, Premier Sports Management created the Senior CLASS Award® in late 2001 in response to the growing trend of college basketball players leaving college early to enter the professional ranks. With Enberg as the program’s honorary chair and CBS as a broadcast partner, Premier began presenting the award annually in men’s and women’s basketball. With the addition of Lowe’s as a title sponsor from 2006-12, the program expanded to include 10 NCAA sports and today is regarded as one of the most prestigious collegiate awards in America.

The Objective

  • To manage a corporate-sponsored program that recognizes the nation’s most outstanding NCAA Division I senior student-athletes and brings brand awareness to a national corporation through a comprehensive activation plan.

The Players

  • NCAA corporate partner
  • NCAA (college sports governing body)
  • CBS Sports & Turner Sports (broadcast partners)
  • NCAA Division I universities (communications)

Our Role

  • Property rights holder
  • Overall strategic direction and management of the program
  • Work closely with title sponsor in activation plan throughout entire academic school year, including significant splash during NCAA Final Four week
  • Work with universities, national governing bodies and coaches associations, promoting the program and the voting process.
  • Implement full-scale marketing and media for the award, including network television, major national publications and multiple digital platforms
  • Generate publicity for the award and candidates throughout the year

The Results

  • Built the program from its inception and obtained key corporate sponsors and promotional partners
  • Secured national exposure at the highest level, including a men’s basketball presentation on CBS during the Final Four “Bridge Show.” The football winner is traditionally announced during BCS Championship Game on ESPN.
  • Award presentations made at NCAA Championship events, including major weekend-long series of events and programming during Final Four
  • Generated enthusiastic buy-in from the collegiate community and provided effective tools for universities to promote candidates and therefore create continuous grassroots level promotion
  • Successfully introduced social media tools into the program, including a Facebook advertising campaign and ongoing Twitter strategy, that significantly raised public voting totals and targeted sponsor’s demographic

 

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