Fox scores under new media rights package

It didn’t matter that Florida beat Ohio State, 41-14, in the recent Bowl Championship Series (BCS) title game. The number that mattered to FOX Sports, its national advertisers and bowl sponsors was 27.7 million — that was the number of viewers who tuned in and gave Fox its strongest Monday night showing in years.

The game was the first national championship broadcast by Fox under a wide-ranging media rights deal that includes the ability to sell bowl sponsorships, in-stadium signage and the right to plug the easily recognizable bowl logos into its broadcasts and its business partners’ advertising campaigns.

“What Fox did from a national advertiser’s perspective was allow us to get our [bowl] relationships without having to go from bowl to bowl to bowl to bowl,” Debbie Myers, VP of media services, entertainment and licensing at Taco Bell, told the “Los Angeles Times.” Last year, Taco Bell signed on as the “official quick-service restaurant” of the BCS.

Fox structured the deal to offer advertisers “one-stop shopping” for the FedEx Orange, Allstate Sugar and Tostitos Fiesta bowls. Big corporate advertisers now can sign on one dotted line to purchase commercial time, arrange for seats on the 50-yard line, put their logos inside BCS stadiums and push their promotions directly into the Fox broadcast, the “Times” reported.

To package the deal, Fox had to have it approved by colleges, athletic conferences and bowl officials. “The synergies are great,” Tom McGovern, director of U.S. sports media services for OMD, a New York-based advertising and media giant, told the “Times.” “There’s nothing else of this magnitude that [clients] can put their names on.”

The BCS deal gives Fox the right to bundle Orange, Fiesta and Sugar bowl logos into advertising and sponsorship deals — a right that’s rare in sports marketing.