Sheraton Hotels & Resorts is teaming up with CBS Sports and the NCAA as an Official NCAA Corporate Partner. Sheraton is launching the sponsorship with a multi-faceted marketing campaign that includes TV, online and on-property activation, as well as a unique effort to engage fans by bringing back an all-time fan favorite - the “wave.” With 190 hotels located throughout the U.S., Sheraton will become the hotel of choice for loyal NCAA sports fans who follow and support their favorite college team while they travel.
The Sheraton brand’s NCAA partnership provides the global hotel brand with category exclusivity in 23 sports, including basketball and football, and marketing rights to all 88 NCAA Championship events and integrated media, including the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. The partnership provides opportunities for Sheraton to reach approximately 1,200 member schools and 360,000 student-athletes across 50 states and is one component of a larger effort to dramatically differentiate the guest experience at the Sheraton hotels, currently rolling out nationwide.
Sheraton is supporting the partnership with a multi-faceted marketing campaign that includes television, online, on-property activation and promotional elements. Sheraton hotels have unveiled a new :30 TV spot, “Belong,” that airs during CBS Sports’ regular-season coverage of NCAA basketball, the 2008 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship—including the Men’s Final Four semifinal games—and the National Championship game, through April 8.
Online media includes placements on CBSSports.com and NCAA.com. Additionally, Sheraton will sponsor NCAA March Madness on Demand(R), the online video player that provides live streaming video of all 64 games of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, March 6-April 14. Sheraton will also have a presence on NCAA.com, with banner ads and video player sponsorship, through Dec. 31, 2008. And, as a CBS College Sports Network All-Access Sponsor, Sheraton will receive both site media placements and integrated promotions.
To encourage NCAA fans to show their team spirit in a unique way, Sheraton is bringing back an all-time sports fan favorite worldwide, the “wave.” Beginning March 11, Sheraton is launching the world’s largest online wave at www.Sheraton.com/NCAA, a site that features video clips of individuals who have filmed and uploaded their own creative version of the wave. The clips are linked together to form one massive wave of fans showing their team spirit. Users also can search these clips to build their own personalized wave. A University of Kansas fan, for instance, could use the search tool to generate a wave consisting only of Kansas clips. Visitors are encouraged to film and upload their own “wave” and then enter a random drawing to win tickets to the NCAA 2009 Men’s Final Four.
“Sheraton is proud to be joining an exclusive list of NCAA partners and feels our brand values of community and belonging perfectly align with NCAA sports,” said Brian Povinelli, Vice President of Global Marketing for Sheraton. “We plan to utilize our designation as the Official Hotel Partner of the NCAA and our media relationship with CBS Sports to position Sheraton Hotels and Resorts as the home of the away game for all NCAA sports fans. Travel and sports go hand in hand and we will create experiences and opportunities for our guests that cater to fans and can’t be duplicated by our competitors.”
“CBS Sports is pleased to add Sheraton Hotels and Resorts to our impressive roster of NCAA Corporate Marketing partners. As Starwood’s most global brand, Sheraton will provide CBS Sports and the NCAA with unparalleled activation and branding opportunities for all of NCAA championships,” said Chris Simko Senior Vice President, CBS Sports Sales and Marketing and Director CBS Sports Properties Group. “In connecting college sports fans around the world, whether at home or on the road, making them feel like they truly “belong”, Sheraton will immediately become an important member of the NCAA’s student-athlete and fan community.”
“We’re extremely pleased that the Sheraton has joined the NCAA Corporate Partner family as the merger represents a union of two extremely visible and respected national brands,” said Greg Shaheen, NCAA senior vice president of basketball and business strategies. “Our focus continues to rest on high standards in academics and athletics, which is similar in nature to the top quality business principles and values that the Sheraton has demonstrated over the years.”
The Sheraton brand’s sponsorship also includes in-game billboards, on-air sponsorships, in-game programming and a NCAA-themed national promotion where guests can enter to win tickets to the Men’s Final Four semifinal and Championship games, a four-night stay at Sheraton Gunter Hotel San Antonio and more. Additional viral components include an online social network around NCAA championships to connect business travelers and Sheraton guests to their home teams: Sheraton guests will be able to link from Sheraton.com and Starwoodhotels.com to NCAA message boards, blogs, and other viral online communities about their alma mater or favorite college sport.