The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents will consider allowing the school to sign licensing and sponsorship deals with alcoholic beverage manufacturers, which could introduce a new revenue source for Gophers athletics.
The board is set to discuss the matter at a meeting scheduled for next Friday. Current university policy prohibits alcohol-related advertising or sponsorships in its venues and publications, and school trademarks cannot be used in connection with alcoholic beverages.
University President Joan Gabel is recommending the policy be amended, allowing the school to work with marketing partner Learfield IMG College to pursue alcohol sponsorships and licensing agreements.
An analysis by Learfield estimates those deals could yield revenue of more than $300,000 per year for Gophers athletics. The proposal would permit other University of Minnesota campuses to keep revenue produced in their markets.
According to materials prepared for the Regents, only three Big Ten schools — the U, Wisconsin and Penn State—prohibit sponsorship or licensing agreements with alcoholic beverage companies. More than 130 of Learfield’s 200 college and university clients allow such deals.
If the ban is lifted, the U would likely seek deals with a large national company and smaller Minnesota firms, which could eventually include campus brewpubs or student-run breweries. The goal is to have a national deal in place for the 2021 college football season, followed by sponsorships and licensing agreements with local companies.
Licensing agreements would allow U trademarks, such as the block M or Goldy Gopher, to be used by companies. Sponsorships would permit alcohol manufacturers to advertise in campus venues and publications.