Pitt hires New Sports Marketing Company

Pitt has hired a new marketing firm.

The University of Pittsburgh Athletic Department signed a long-term multimedia rights deal with JMI Sports, The new agreement is set to begin on July 1, 2019, with JMI Sports becoming Pitt’s official corporate partnership and multimedia rights partner.

It was quickly pointed out by a reader on this blog that JMI does much more than marketing.

JMI Facility Development

While this is certainly interesting, I think it would be extremely foolhardy for the Pitt fan base to jump to the conclusion that JMI was hired to scope a plan for the development of an on-campus stadium.  There is plenty of low-hanging fruit to pick right now in other areas.

Case in point:

I went to the Georgia Tech – Pitt game two years ago in Atlanta.  Now I get these kinds of emails all the time.  

404 takeover 1

404 takeover 2

404 takeover 3404 takeover 4I don’t know who Nicholas Ciupack is.  Heck, I don’t even know if he’s a real person.  But he seems pretty damn interested in getting me down to a Georgia Tech game, and having me support the program in general.  Mind you I did not attend Georgia Tech and I’ve attended one game in my life.  One game!  The funny thing is, this kind of personal engagement actually has me kind of interested.  Not that I would ever forsake Pitt for GT.

How many “personalized” emails have I gotten from Pitt?  Zero.  No emails asking me to buy tickets.  No emails asking me to otherwise support the program.  Maybe this is because I live in Atlanta and the Pitt Marketing department feels like I won’t travel, but still…  I’m a successful 40 year old alumnus who has bought at least one ticket through the Pitt ticket office in the last year.  I am in their database.  You’d think i’d at least be on their email list.  So yes, it definitely feels like a miss that Pitt isn’t reaching out to me.  Who else are they not reaching out to?

Which brings us back to JMI.

Here is what they are expected to be able to provide to our Athletics Programs:

Through this partnership, Pitt Athletics and JMI Sports seek to maximize the value of Pitt’s varied multimedia assets, – Pitt actually does a pretty good job with the videos, need to keep it going

while developing valuable relationships with sponsors, fans, alumni and students through the delivery of corporate sponsorships and advertising; – ROI $$$ if they can deliver.

radio and television broadcasts; – Can they expand our reach?  Don’t fire Bill and Pat…

coaches shows and endorsements; – Say what you want about Pat Narduzzi, the guy has a marketable personality.

website and social media; – Always good to invest here for the millenials n’at

game programs and publications; – Meh

in-game production and hospitality; – No comment, but happy to hear from someone who has perspective

venue signage and naming rights; – $$$

special events – Interested to see what they come up with

and innovative activations – Not exactly sure what this is, but you know marketers love to use the word innovative.

JMI appears to make their money on tailoring their marketing programs to the specific school and “being innovative”.  Here is a puff piece by the San Diego Business Journal about who they partner with, and their style.  If anything it tells you how they go to market and who they have partnered with.   Three names that jump out at me are The University of Georgia, Notre Dame, and our newest archrival, Clemson.

JMI Clemson

On the basketball side, I’d say UK is some pretty good pedigree.

So the bottom line, is while we may or may not be able to hang with the big boys on the field (yet), we are putting things in place to be able to generate revenue like them.  And that is a positive thing.