By: Sam Shields, @samshieldss
It’s that time of year again. The time for college football fans to rejoice in the fact that their Saturdays are now littered with an endless array of games propelled by the excitement and optimism that this year could be ‘the year’ for their respective teams. With some big matchups on deck, as well as some likely blowouts and a few upsets, not much compares to the passion and loyalty that is found within NCAA football fans across the country.
With such enthusiasm surrounding the sport comes great opportunity for many parties involved (let’s hold off the ‘should student athletes be paid?’ debate for another time). I’m specifically referring to sponsors and their ever growing presence within collegiate athletics. Let’s take a look around the country at some of the stimulating activations gearing up for the 2016 season.
Nissan Heisman House
In it’s 6th season, the Nissan Heisman House has become a staple in college football. Beginning in 2016, at the Notre Dame vs. Texas game, the Nissan Heisman House will travel to a new campus each week, setting up a large activation on campus inviting fans to get to know the Heisman winners. With past Heisman award victors in commercials, and on site at the house, Nissan has created an enjoyable activation that has a unique way of engaging fans.
Fanzone presented by Coca-Cola & Tailgate Town presented by Home Depot at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game
The Chick-fil-A Kickoff game, which features the Georgia Bulldogs matched up against the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, will be filled with pregame activities headlined by the Fanzone presented by Coca-Cola and Tailgate Town presented by Home Depot. Events include a pep rally, in which fans get the chance to meet their team before they take the field, team walks, hot-wings eating contests, live entertainment, giveaways and more. This pregame activation should add to the excitement leading up to one of opening day’s most anticipated games.
Hyundai’s Tailgate Tour
One of the larger activations found around the country is Hyundai’s Tailgate Tour, now in it’s fifth season. Found at 117 campuses, Hyundai uses the slogan #ThisIsLoyalty to bring college football fans together. Their activations include large TVs with games on throughout the day, autograph signings, games with school gear as prizes and of course plenty of good food and drinks.
Corona Can Tailgating Experience
Corona has a new can. Not just in a bottle anymore, Corona has made stops on campuses for pregame festivities to promote itself through it’s tailgate tour, which provides an experience centered around an upscale tailgate experience filled with Corona beer. Not always seen as a ‘tailgating beer’, Corona, the number one imported beer in the U.S. would like to try and incorporate their beverage at tailgates more often and hopes to do so through use of cans as opposed to bottles.
Geico’s Player’s Academy
Geico has alumni discount partnerships with 375 universities across the country, and to promote itself, Geico has activated the Player’s Academy across college campuses. With entertaining and interactive ways for fans to test their knowledge and expertise of their university’s football program, Geico also incorporates real driving lessons into their activations such as texting and driving awareness and mental and physical measurements.