Notre Dame athletics will partner with two firms–Legends and JMI Sports–to oversee its sales, marketing, hospitality, media rights and branding services on a local and national level.
The announcement made by University Vice President and James E. Rohr Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick is the culmination of an extensive review and evaluation process that began 18 months ago.
“As we embarked upon this task of finding the best strategic fit for Notre Dame, we made it clear that we were seeking partners who understood the unique opportunities offered by the Notre Dame brand,” Swarbrick said.
“Both Legends and JMI Sports not only demonstrated superior appreciations of our culture and our mission, but also their willingness to creatively pursue features that are 100 percent Notre Dame-centric. Each company has unique and specific strengths to offer, so we asked them to combine those strengths to create something transformational for Notre Dame.
“We believe this partnership recognizes the value of the Notre Dame brand and offers enough creativity and innovation to return significant revenue opportunities for all parties to the agreement. We expect that resulting new initiatives will provide corporate sponsors and Notre Dame fans new, engaging and entertaining ways to connect with our University and its athletic program.”
The University, through this 12-year agreement, will seek to create and implement unique programs and partnerships with an elite group of companies and brands — delivering unprecedented levels of engagement, first-class hospitality experiences and recognition, while also preserving traditions Notre Dame holds dear.
JMI Sports brings extensive multimedia expertise to the partnership with current representation of premier collegiate brands. “Notre Dame approached its analysis with the clear objective of creating an outcome that will maximize the opportunities for its unique brand,” said JMI Sports CEO Erik Judson. “In developing our solution to meet those very high expectations, we believe the combined value proposition offered by a JMI Sports/Legends partnership will exceed those expectations. This partnership will provide extraordinary financial upside while at the same time allowing Notre Dameto maintain control of the most influential and revered brand in college sports.”
Already a partner with Notre Dame since 2013, Legends was an integral part of executing the Campus Crossroads Project, developing capital gift and annual donation pricing models, packaging and marketing strategy, while also executing sales campaigns for new premium seating inventory.
“Our commitment includes building a team of highly qualified sports and sponsorship professionals who have a strong affection and understanding of Notre Dame, its history and its iconic reputation,” said Shervin Mirhashemi, President and CEO of Legends. “In partnership with JMI Sports, we look forward to tapping into the experience and relationships we have built with some of the largest and most well-known brands in sports, media and entertainment to help expand the incredible opportunities available through this partnership.”
Recognizing the uniqueness of their agreement with Notre Dame, Legends and JMI Sports will dedicate stand-alone national, regional and local sales and marketing staff resources to the partnership while tapping into the highly experienced branding, hospitality and experiential marketing teams at both companies.
“The future of college athletics requires vision and innovation — and that’s what we’ve found in this partnership with Legends and JMI Sports,” said Swarbrick. “Their approach to serving an elite group of universities falls right in line with our expectations of a partner.”
The new partnership will include Notre Dame’s national football radio rights, which previously had been a stand-alone agreement for many years with the Mutual Broadcasting System, Westwood One and most recently with ISP and then IMG College.
Notre Dame previously had been handling most of its athletic corporate sponsorships and marketing rights through Notre Dame Sports Properties, created in 2003.