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The Southeastern Conference (SEC) Partners with Merita® bread as Official Bread of the SEC

Nov 17, 2010

ATLANTA, Ga., (Nov. 17, 2010) - The Southeastern Conference (SEC) announced that Merita®, the iconic bread brand baked in the South for the South, has signed on as the official bread of the SEC and all SEC Championship events. The contract, which was negotiated through SEC Sports Marketing, an IMG College property, will run through June 2013.

"The Merita brand - just like the SEC - has been part of Southern culture for generations," said Ann Oades, Director of Marketing for Merita bread. "Merita is thrilled to be the official bread of the SEC as we celebrate nearly 110 years as a Southeastern family favorite and look forward meeting our families' needs for the next 100 years."

By entering into this sponsorship with the SEC, Merita will receive official corporate sponsor status including category exclusive use of conference logos, marketing rights, SEC television and web presence, event signage, and merchandise. Additionally, the company will have a category exclusive presence at the Dr Pepper SEC FanFare during the Conference's annual football championship weekend and men's basketball tournament. These two events, held in conjunction with the respective SEC Championships, draw more than 60,000 SEC fans each year.

"We are excited to have Merita join our corporate sponsor family," said Mike Slive, Commissioner, Southeastern Conference. "We appreciate Merita's commitment to higher education and collegiate athletics and look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship."

As one of the most popular bread brands available in the Southeast, Merita's partnership with the SEC is ideal given the Conference's expansive reach in the region.

With a total fan base of more than 172 million fans, 77 million of which are female fans who influence buying decisions, the college sports market is a an ideal platform for brands like Merita. The college market's affluent fan base, with more than 29 million college fans earning more than $100 thousand, and 17 million fans between the ages of 18 - 24, provides a key consumer audience.

Merita will be able to tap into a share of the college market through this new sponsorship with the SEC.

"We are proud to sign a sponsorship agreement with a brand like Merita," said Lawton Logan, SVP, Collegiate Properties, IMG College. "We are confident in Merita's ability to deliver a positive experience to fans of the SEC through promotions and on-site activation at Championship events."

Merita joins other national brands including SONIC, UPS, Gatorade, and Nissan as corporate sponsors of the SEC.

About IMG College
IMG College is the leader in capturing consumer devotion to college sports through partnership opportunities in licensing, marketing, events and hospitality, multimedia rights, stadium and arena development, sales, and consulting across local, regional, and national platforms. IMG College partners with the nation's top collegiate brands, including the NCAA and its 88 championships, NCAA Football, leading conferences, and some of the most prestigious universities in the country. IMG College is a division of IMG Worldwide, the world's premier sports, media, and entertainment company. For more information, please visit www.imgworld.com.

About the Southeastern Conference (SEC)
The Southeastern Conference was formed in 1933 and consists of 12 member institutions: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. The league currently sanctions championship play in nine men's sports and 11 women's sports. Its headquarters has been located in Birmingham, Ala., since 1948. For more on the conference, visit www.secsports.com.

About Merita Breads
"Baked in the South for the South", Merita is one of the most popular bread brands in the Southeast. For nearly 110 years, Merita has brought family and friends together and now has more nutritious choices than ever before. The brand recently introduced two new Merita varieties - Merita® Smartwhite® and Merita® Made With Whole Grain White - which provide even more nutritious options from a brand consumers know and trust.