MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Buffalo Wild Wings, a brand that has become synonymous with sports, announced today that it has entered into a partnership with the NCAA. The agreement designates Buffalo Wild Wings as the “Official Hangout of March Madness” and includes marketing, media and activation rights related to all 89 NCAA championships through 2016.
“We look forward to building on their commitment to sports marketing and the opportunity to develop NCAA-themed creative and marketing activations across all 89 NCAA Championships to drive increased restaurant traffic and sales.”
The announcement comes on the heels of the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, the company’s first major sports sponsorship, which was held Dec. 29 in Tempe, Ariz. The NCAA relationship is another key affiliation for Buffalo Wild Wings as it continues to integrate with sports that are popular with its core customer base.
“Sports are part of Buffalo Wild Wings’ DNA,” said Kathy Benning, Buffalo Wild Wings executive vice president of global brand and business development. “As we continually strive to enhance the game-day experience for sports fans in our restaurants, we are looking for ways to align with top sports properties and deepen our engagement with our Guests. Buffalo Wild Wings and the NCAA share a deep heritage in college athletics, and this is an authentic way for us to connect with college sports fans in markets across the country.”
“Buffalo Wild Wings is a prominent national brand with mass appeal that resonates with our NCAA fan base,” said Mark Lewis, NCAA executive vice president for championships and alliances. “We are eager to welcome them to the NCAA family so they can activate around the NCAA championship. When you visit a Buffalo Wild Wings, you can’t help but feel the positive energy in the restaurants, especially when college sports fans are viewing the many NCAA sporting events there. We look forward to that same energy and enthusiasm to continue to support NCAA student-athletes and their accomplishments.”
The sponsorship, sold through CBS Sports and Turner Sports, includes media rights that will increase Buffalo Wild Wings game-day broadcast presence over the next four years. The marketing rights provide opportunities to create consumer promotions and interact with fans at key NCAA events such as NCAA March Madness®, including the NCAA Men’s Final Four® and National Championship, historically top drivers to Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants. Specific program details will be announced as they roll out to Buffalo Wild Wings Guests.
“College sports fans are some of the most passionate fans out there,” Benning said. “The NCAA partnership will open new doors for us to fuel that passion and introduce new fans to the Buffalo Wild Wings experience.”
“As a brand devoted to connecting with customers through sports affinity, Buffalo Wild Wings is a natural addition to the portfolio of NCAA Corporate Partners,” said Will Funk, senior vice president of NCAA Partnerships and Branded Programming within Turner Sports. “We look forward to building on their commitment to sports marketing and the opportunity to develop NCAA-themed creative and marketing activations across all 89 NCAA Championships to drive increased restaurant traffic and sales.”
“Buffalo Wild Wings is one of the largest and most popular casual dining restaurant and sports viewing destinations in the country,” said Chris Simko, senior vice president, CBS Sports Sales and Marketing. “They promote an atmosphere of fun and fellowship for college sports fans in communities in virtually all 50 states, uniquely qualifying their restaurants to serve as the ‘Official Hangout of March Madness’.”
About the NCAA
The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit www.ncaa.org and www.ncaa.com for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes. The NCAA is proud to have the following elite companies as official Corporate Champions—AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola—and the following elite companies as official Corporate Partners—Allstate, Buffalo Wild Wings, Buick, Enterprise, Infiniti, LG, Lowe’s, Nabisco, Northwestern Mutual, Reese’s (Hershey’s), Unilever and UPS.
About Buffalo Wild Wings
Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc., founded in 1982 and headquartered in Minneapolis, is a growing owner, operator and franchisor of Buffalo Wild Wings® restaurants featuring a variety of boldly flavored, made-to-order menu items including its namesake Buffalo, New York-style chicken wings. The Buffalo Wild Wings menu specializes in 20 mouth-watering signature sauces and seasonings with flavor sensations ranging from Sweet BBQ™ to Blazin’®. Guests enjoy a welcoming neighborhood atmosphere that includes an extensive multi-media system for watching their favorite sporting events. Buffalo Wild Wings is the recipient of hundreds of "Best Wings" and "Best Sports Bar" awards from across the country. There are currently nearly 900 Buffalo Wild Wings locations across 49 states in the United States, as well as in Canada.
NCAA, Final Four and March Madness are trademarks of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.