NCAA Looking for an Agency

Organization Wants to Boost Perception and Advocacy of College Athletics

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College sports fans, take note: the NCAA is looking for an agency to help improve its branding and communications, according to a document obtained by Ad Age .

The assignment is small beans in terms of revenue but could serve as a fun, creative opportunity for a passion brand. The National Collegiate Athletic Association is looking to hire a full-service agency for $1.25 million annually over two years to primarily "increase awareness of and advocacy for the positive values of intercollegiate athletics."

The incumbent agency is WPP-owned Y&R, which has opted not to participate in the review. "We are proud of our longstanding relationship with the NCAA and all of the great work we have done for the brand," said Carter Murray, president-CEO of Y&R New York and North America. "We are excited about our 10 new business wins across North America and have decided to focus on our new and existing clients. We respectfully declined to re-pitch."

A request-for-proposal document was circulated last month. Under consideration will be the NCAA's current, and lengthy, tagline: "There are more than 400,000 NCAA student-athletes, and most of us will be going pro in something other than sports."

The agency will be responsible for extending the PSA campaign -- which traditionally has run on TV with Turner Broadcasting, CBS Sports and ESPN at no cost to the NCAA -- into other media, including digital and social. The association may choose more than one agency, according to the RFP.

"We're significantly changing the scope of our required services -- shifting from TV-only to seeking a more multiplatform approach," said an NCAA spokeswoman in a statement. "Per our purchasing policy, that drove us to go to market with a new RFP."

The RFP document states: "Market research and media analytics show that misperceptions persist and opportunities exist to inform public opinion, increase confidence in the association, and boost awareness and advocacy for the positive values of intercollegiate athletics."

The March Madness tournament is not included, as the scope of the RFP does not include championships.

Proposals are due in early May and final decisions are expected in late June.

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