BETHLEHEM, Pa. – For the first time in school history, Lehigh University will outsource its comprehensive athletic multimedia rights to Learfield Sports as announced today by Murray H. Goodman Dean of Athletics Joe Sterrett. The multi-year agreement with Learfield will coincide with the start of the 2016-17 athletic season, allowing the collegiate marketer to begin assembling its local Lehigh Sports Properties team immediately.
“This is a milestone day for Lehigh Athletics, to be able to leverage the opportunities inherent in the way we conduct intercollegiate athletics with Learfield’s outstanding reputation and proven track record,” said Sterrett. “We’re excited for this opportunity to grow our external relationships in partnership with a national leader that has a defined presence in the Northeast and represents storied institutions nationwide.”
Learfield’s Lehigh Sports Properties will be located on campus to collaborate daily with the athletic administration. Andrew Papaefthemiou will serve as general manager, overseeing all aspects of the Mountain Hawks’ rights including signage, corporate hospitality, digital, television, radio, event sponsorships, on-site activation, and integration and visibility for corporate partners on the official athletics website, LehighSports.com. Papaefthemiou has been with Learfield since 2013, most recently as manager-business development cultivating business relationships and selling corporate partnerships for Learfield partners Seton Hall and the Patriot League. He also is a former assistant basketball coach for five collegiate programs in the Northeast/New England area and was a lecturer/adjunct professor at three of those schools. Papaefthemiou, who played basketball for Keene State College and received his master’s degree from New England College, will transition into the Lehigh GM role on Jan. 4, 2016.
Learfield’s National Sales team complements the efforts of Lehigh Sports Properties and may provide opportunities for inclusion in larger platforms across multiple collegiate properties. Other area schools represented by Learfield include Bucknell, Drexel, Penn, Penn State and Temple. Learfield also handles rights for Army West Point, as well as for the Patriot League. Its digital company, SIDEARM Sports, is the platform provider for the university’s official athletic website, LehighSports.com, and the Mountain Hawks’ brand is overseen by Learfield Licensing Partners.
“The Lehigh name has incredible value, and we’re pleased for the opportunity to work alongside Joe and his team to capitalize on the Mountain Hawks’ rich history and bright future,” said Learfield President and CEO Greg Brown. “Andrew has done great work for us the last few years. He not only knows the region well, but brings value from being inside athletics at several area schools and as a former student-athlete. We’re excited to get going.”
Lehigh University sponsors 25 varsity sports, competing at the NCAA Division I level (Football competes in the Football Championship Subdivision). Lehigh’s varsity teams compete in the Patriot League and the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association. The Lehigh Athletics Department’s mission is to advance learning, to develop leadership, and to foster personal growth through comprehensive athletics programming. To learn more about Lehigh University Athletics, visit www.LehighSports.com.
Learfield Sports is a leader in collegiate sports marketing. In addition to managing multimedia and sponsorship rights for 120 collegiate programs, Learfield titles the prestigious Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup with award co-founders NACDA and USA Today. Representing collegiate institutions, conferences and arenas for their respective rights and sponsorship initiatives, Learfield offers these partners with professional concessions and ticket sales, licensing and trademark consulting, digital platform expertise and venue and technology systems through its owned companies. To learn more about its history, businesses and job opportunities, visit www.learfieldsports.com.