Comprehensive agreement across all LEARFIELD business units delivers unmatched fan data and innovative brand opportunities
DALLAS, Texas – At an exciting time of conference transition and momentum at SMU, the university’s athletic department and LEARFIELD, the leading media and technology company powering college athletics, have agreed to an extension to their long-standing partnership to provide enterprise-wide fan and brand engagement solutions spanning the entirety of LEARFIELD’s suite of services.
The comprehensive, long-term renewal includes extensions across LEARFIELD’s industry-leading businesses – its flagship multimedia rights division, licensed merchandise agency CLC, digital ticket and marketing platform provider Paciolian, ticketing and seat-backs seller LEARFIELD Amplify and digital solutions leader SIDEARM Sports.
The renewal follows a record-setting year for SMU Athletics, including a 27% jump in football season ticket sales, a 24% increase in royalties generated from the sale of licensed merchandise and a second consecutive year of record sponsorship sales – all areas assisted by LEARFIELD businesses, as detailed in an August 1 release.
“LEARFIELD has been a true partner and advisor to our athletic department for more than a decade, helping us reach new heights across nearly every aspect of our athletic services, and a continuation of that relationship sets us up for success as we move into the next era of SMU athletics,” said SMU Director of Athletics Rick Hart. “We are proud to continue working with LEARFIELD for many years to come and look forward to innovative collaboration that enhances the Mustang community experience.”
This continued collaboration will ensure that SMU remains at the forefront of the collegiate sports landscape through access to innovative, data-based solutions that include the facilitation of sponsorships that provide opportunities for student-athlete NIL integration, digital marketing strategies, original content development and enhanced fan engagement platforms – all powered by robust fan profiles within LEARFIELD’s proprietary Fanbase system.
“Rick is a well-respected leader in college sports who, with his team, is adeptly steering SMU Athletics through an era of significant change that presents incredible opportunities for growth and advancement,” said Andrew Wheeler, LEARFIELD executive vice president. “We take pride in our enduring relationship and look forward to supporting the Mustangs as they transition to a new conference and helping them create even deeper fan and sponsor connections through our comprehensive portfolio of data-centric solutions.”
LEARFIELD’s Dallas-based Mustang Sports Properties, the multimedia rights team that has served SMU Athletics since 2013, will continue to work alongside Athletics Director Rick Hart and his team to implement solutions that integrate athletic marketing opportunities and relationships with local, regional and national brands to connect with the devoted Mustangs fan base.
ABOUT SMU ATHLETICS
It’s a new era of Athletics at SMU. In the classroom and on the field, SMU is driving excellence and growth to be among the best athletics programs in the country. We are bringing the highest level of collegiate competition to Dallas, which was recently named the No. 1 city for sports business by the Sports Business Journal, and building on our recent success, with all 17 programs reaching the postseason and 15 programs winning conference championships since 2013. SMU is the only NCAA FBS program in Dallas, and has claimed nine overall national championships, almost 200 team conference championships, over 100 individual national championships, more than 150 NCAA top-10 finishes, nearly 2,000 All-American honors and over 150 Olympic appearances. Since 2013, SMU has invested over $250 million to develop and enhance championship-caliber facilities. A founding member of the American Athletic Conference, SMU will join the Atlantic Coast Conference on July 1, 2024.
LEARFIELD is a diversified and influential media and technology company powering college athletics. Through its digital and physical platforms, LEARFIELD owns and leverages a deep data set and relationships in the industry to drive revenue, growth, brand awareness, and fan engagement for brands, sports, and entertainment properties. With ties to over 1,200 collegiate institutions and over 15,000 local and national brand partners, LEARFIELD’s presence in college sports and live events delivers influence and maximizes reach to target audiences. With solutions for a 365-day, 24/7 fan experience, LEARFIELD enables schools and brands to connect with fans through licensed merchandise, game ticketing, donor identification for athletic programs, exclusive custom content, innovative marketing initiatives, NIL solutions, and advanced digital platforms. Since 2008, it has served as title sponsor for the acclaimed LEARFIELD Directors’ Cup, supporting athletic departments across all divisions.