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The Southeastern Conference (SEC) Signs First Data as Corporate Sponsor

Jul 11, 2012

ATLANTA, Ga., (July 11, 2012) – The Southeastern Conference (SEC) today announced an agreement with First Data, a global leader in electronic commerce and payment processing, as the official payment processing provider of the SEC and all SEC Championship events. The contract, which was negotiated through SEC Sports Marketing, an IMG College property, is effective now through June 2015. 

By entering into this sponsorship with the SEC, First Data 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’ve chosen to partner with a conference which has a demonstrated history of excellence and innovation,” said First Data Chief Marketing Officer Larry Drury. “By aligning with the SEC, we will continue to go above and beyond with opportunities to engage our customers, our employees and the cities where we operate.” 

“We are pleased to sign a sponsorship agreement with a company like First Data whose passion for customer security and innovative payment solutions correlates with the SEC’s commitment to the mission of supporting academics and athletics,” said Mike Slive, Commissioner, Southeastern Conference. “We are confident that this partnership between the SEC and First Data will have a positive impact on our fans and anticipate a long and mutually beneficial relationship.” 

With a total fan base of more than 173 million fans, 78 million of which are female fans who influence buying decisions, the college sports market is a an ideal platform for companies like First Data. The college market’s affluent fan base, with more than 29 million college fans earning more than $100,000 annually and 17 million fans between the ages of 18 – 24, provides a key consumer audience. First Data will be able to tap into a share of the college market through this new sponsorship with the SEC. 

“We’re very excited to have First Data join the SEC sponsor family,” said Ben May, General Manager of SEC IMG Sports Marketing. “The SEC and IMG seek to associate with the nation’s top companies and the addition of First Data does just that. We look forward to building mutually beneficial programs together in the years to come.” 

About IMG College 
IMG College is the nation’s leading collegiate multimedia, marketing and licensing/brand management company, representing more than 200 of the nation’s top collegiate properties, including the NCAA and its 89 championships, NCAA Football, leading conferences, and many of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country. Headquartered in Winston Salem, N.C., IMG College employs more than 700 people in nearly 100 offices throughout the U.S., capturing consumer devotion to college sports through partnership opportunities in multimedia rights, licensing, events and hospitality, marketing, stadium and arena development, stadium seating solutions, ticketing, sales, and consulting. IMG College produces nearly 30,000 hours of radio programming on the largest independent sports network in the country, manages nearly 5,000 hours of local television programming, and is the leading publisher of college sports publications and the largest manager of university athletic websites. IMG College is a division of IMG Worldwide, a global sports, fashion and media business. For more information, please visit www.imgcollege.com. 

About the Southeastern Conference (SEC) 
The Southeastern Conference was formed in 1933 and consists of 14 member institutions: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, 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.SECDigitalNetwork.com. 

About First Data
Around the world, every second of every day, First Data makes payment transactions secure, fast and easy for merchants, financial institutions and their customers. First Data leverages its vast product portfolio and expertise to drive customer revenue and profitability. Whether the choice of payment is by debit or credit card, gift card, check or mobile phone, online or at the checkout counter, First Data takes every opportunity to go beyond the transaction.