AUS conference new sponsor deal - love this idea!

Can AUS cans reach new fans?

By GLENN MacDONALD Sports Reporter
Wed. Jan 30 - 6:28 AM

Beginning in February, Alexander Keith’s will offer a selection of AUS collector cans. (Eric Wynne / Staff)

Phil Currie hopes those who like Atlantic University Sport’s new partnership with Alexander Keith’s will like it a lot.

Currie, the AUS executive director, announced at a news conference on Tuesday evening that the university sporting group has aligned with the iconic beer distributor in promoting and marketing the AUS.

Beginning in February, special 8-pack cases of Keith’s cans will include a selection of AUS collector cans that celebrate and promote Atlantic University Sport and its championships. Two million collector cans will be distributed across Atlantic Canada over two phases in 2008.

The overall value of this initiative is estimated at $300,000.

“It’s a historic announcement for Atlantic University Sport,” a beaming Currie said to a throng of media, athletic directors and former athletes gathered at the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame.

“We’re not a big U.S. Division 1 (conference) where there’s heavy duty television revenues and big dollars at the gate. We really have to be creative in how we market Atlantic University Sport. This is a very significant investment when you look at our budgets and our inability to really spend that kind of money in marketing the AUS.”

The first phase will feature custom cans that highlight men’s and women’s volleyball, hockey and basketball, including winners of each AUS championship over the last 10 years and the date of the upcoming 2008 championships. They will be available this week.

The second set of collector cans highlighting AUS fall sports, like football, soccer and rugby, will be sold from September to November.

Currie said Keith’s, which has supported Atlantic university events like the Uteck Bowl and the Final 6 and Final 8 basketball tournaments for nearly three decades, first approached the AUS about this 10 months ago.

“I didn’t really think we would get to the point where they would actually change their cans,” Currie said.

“I don’t know if two years ago we were ready for this. But now, as far as the conference is concerned, we have our members on stream more so than we ever had. And it opens doors to other opportunities with other organizations.”

Currie also shrugged off any criticism of the university organization being associated with a beer company.

“We could easily be married to a pop company or water company but what beer brings is a whole new market of people who may not look to Atlantic University Sport,” Currie said. "But when you go to a university event there’s always a cold beverage involved. Why hide behind that. Let’s use that and leverage the power of that kind of brand.

"Our fan is the 25-54 demographic. They’re alumnus. But we want to get to the marginal sports fan, the person who might stay home and watch sports on TV, who might see a viable option like ours.

“I think it’s a very positive thing.”

And judging by those who were in attendance Tuesday, it seems the partnership has the support of the schools.

Leo MacPherson, director of athletics at St. Francis Xavier University and the AUS marketing representative, called it “a win-win partnership.”

“This reflects a new attitude in the AUS,” MacPherson said. “It’s really outside-the-box thinking.”

( gmacdonald@herald.ca)


I can’t wait to ‘collect’ these cans this fall. Alexander keiths bought a permanent customer… atleast until november!

what do you guys think of this kind of advertizing?