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Villanova Athletics Enters Partnership With National Sports Marketing Companies

Jan. 5, 2001

Villanova, Pa - Villanova University's sports marketing efforts will expand to a national level following today's announcement that the Department of Athletics has entered into a partnership with International Sports Properties (ISP Sports) and Learfield Communications, Inc., two of the country's leaders in the collegiate sports marketing industry.

"It gives me great pleasure to announce the formation of Villanova Sports Properties, which will enhance both our overall athletic program and the services and opportunities we can provide to our corporate partners," said Villanova Director of Athletics Vince Nicastro. "The efforts of both ISP Sports and Learfield Communications as highly regarded and knowledgeable joint venture partners in Villanova Sports Properties will undoubtedly assist our department in attaining even greater heights."

Villanova Sports Properties will be under the direction of Chris Heck, a Villanova alum who has extensive experience in the sports marketing field. Heck has worked previously with Comcast-Spectacor and the Philadelphia Eagles. His most recent position was as Director of Corporate Sponsorship with the NBA's Miami Heat.

Heck and his staff will be responsible for the overall management of Villanova Athletics' corporate partnership effort, which will include the rights to produce, sell and distribute the Wildcat radio network and television shows, print advertising in various athletic department publications, and all signage advertising in university athletic facilities. Plans have already begun for the 2001-2002 athletic year with the first major implementation of VSP services set for the start of the 2001 football season.

ISP Sports and Learfield currently represent some of the premier athletic programs in America, including current Big East members Virginia Tech and Syracuse as well as institutions affiliated with the ACC, Big Ten, Big XII, Conference USA, Pac 10 and SEC. ISP Sports and Learfield are also joint venture partners as the multi-media rightsholder for the University of Alabama, University of Missouri and Syracuse University.

"We are delighted to be associated with a university of such high academic and athletic quality," said ISP president Ben Sutton. "Without question, Villanova University presents the opportunity to market the premier collegiate program in the Philadelphia region and one with national recognition as well."

Learfield president Clyde Lear was equally enthusiastic with the new partnership. "Our company is extremely excited with this partnership," Lear stated. "The tradition of Villanova Athletics is outstanding, and the future is equally as bright. We are elated to now be a part of that future."

Learfield, which was founded in 1972, is headquartered in Jefferson City, Missouri, but has offices in a dozen other states. The company's sports division owns the multi-media rights to 13 leading universities. These rights packages vary in scope, but primarily include radio and television, stadium signage and other corporate marketing on behalf of the athletic departments. Schools represented by Learfield are Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Indiana, Purdue, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina, Maryland, Oregon State and Washington State.

ISP Sports was founded by Sutton in 1992 and has grown along with the sports marketing industry. During the past two years alone, ISP has been designated the multi-media rightsholder for Georgia Tech, Southern Mississippi and Vanderbilt, increasing to eight its exclusive list of university clients. Others are Cincinnati, Marshall, Ohio, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

As part of its versatile array of services, ISP produces and markets sports marketing opportunities including radio play-by-play, television play-by-play, radio call-in shows, coaches' television shows, daily radio/TV reports, official internet sites, stadium and arena signage and video board advertising, game programs, official newspapers, corporate hospitality and luxury box suites.