CSTV's First Sweepstakes Flexes Coke Ties


CSTV: College Sports Television is taking its first stab at a national consumer promotion, launching a sweepstakes that will also include the initial marketing manifestation of its sponsorship and equity deal with The Coca-Cola Co.

The brand-building initiative begins on Dec. 1 via the "CSTV Ultimate College Sports Fantasy Sweepstakes," which will be touted by on-air and online support. One sweepstakes grand-prize winner, selected at random, will receive a trip for two to the college sporting event of his or her choice, while 10 additional winners will get CSTV prize packs.

"This branding promotion underlines that College Sports Television gives total access to fans, not just at the events that we cover, but relative to all college sports," said CSTV president and CEO Brian Bedol.

Bedol said the promotion would also help CSTV build a database. "Part of our mission is to use our relationship with fans to help our distribution and promotional partners," he said.

With respect to Coke, Bedol said the soft-drink giant is "helping us extend the reach of the sweepstakes" by "underwriting some of our media and promotional costs."

He noted that Coke's name would be affixed to the promotion, both on-air and in all online components.

Last April, Coke signed a $15 million deal with CSTV, including a $10 million equity stake in the network.

Fans can enter the sweepstakes by visiting the network's Web site (www.CSTV.com) through Jan. 5 and filling out an entry form, which also provides information on how to contact cable operators about the channel's availability.

Bedol said the sweepstakes is being supported by on-air promotion, as well as on affiliates' cross-channel avails. In addition, 50,000 CSTV Ultimate College Sports Fantasy Sweepstakes "tickets" will be distributed at major college sports events, including games televised by CSTV.

The promotion is also benefiting from exposure on the college-football sections of such sites as ESPN.com, SportsIllustrated.com, AOL Sports, CBS SportsLine, MSNBC and the Official College Sports Network (OCSN.com), the Web site of the Official College Sports Network.

Two weeks ago, CSTV announced its intention to purchase OCSN from Student Advantage Inc., a deal Bedol said is expected to close in two months.

In addition to operating CollegeSports.com OCSN builds, hosts, maintains and markets official Web sites for more than 145 college athletic departments, conferences and related associations. The company is also the nation's largest seller of college-licensed merchandise on the Internet.

Bedol said CSTV also plans to open up OCSN's connections to college fans and alumni to its affiliates' broadband platforms. "About 70% of OCSN's users have broadband," said Bedol.