Nissan Increases Involvement With College Sports

Nissan North America is increasing its involvement with sports, signing on as the official corporate partner of the NCAA. 

The automaker is now in its 14th year of sponsorship of the Heisman Memorial Trophy Award and the Heisman Trophy Trust, says Allyson Witherspoon, vice president, marketing communications and media, Nissan North America, Inc. Now, Nissan will also be the official corporate partner of NCAA Men’s Basketball and the Final Four thanks to a two-year deal. 

“This is kind of the next feather in our cap when it comes to college sports,” Witherspoon tells Marketing Daily. “We're covering all of the biggest sports moments, in the fall as well as the spring.”

The deal was presented to Nissan dealers at a national meeting in Chicago tonight along with the new Heisman House TV spots, the first of which breaks tonight on ESPN. The NCAA partnership officially begins Sept. 1 -- the first day of the NCAA’s academic calendar.



The new Nissan College Program will include partnerships with 33 of the most high-profile college athletics departments from eight key regions: Southeast, Central, Midwest, Atlantic, Northwest, Northeast, Mountain and West.

The relationship with the schools will extend beyond the basketball and football seasons and could involve other sports, Witherspoon says. Besides football and basketball, there are 22 other NCAA sports.

“There's a lot of opportunity for us depending on what the season is,” Witherspoon says. “So I think again we'll you know our focus will really be around football and basketball, but our relationship with those schools allows us to expand into other sports as well.”

As an official corporate partner of NCAA Men’s Basketball, Nissan will have a robust presence on linear television and streaming in the form of commercial inventory, in-game features and vignettes throughout the season. CBS Sports and Turner Sports jointly manage and collaborate on the NCAA’s Corporate Champion and Partner program.

Throughout the NCAA  basketball tournament, digital will be a key space for Nissan to connect to consumers as they follow NCAA March Madness across all platforms and devices. On the ground, Nissan will have a robust on-site activation presence at the 2020 Men’s Final Four in Atlanta.

Now in its ninth year, this season’s Nissan Heisman House campaign features nine Heisman Trophy winners in a series of TV spots airing on ESPN beginning tonight and running throughout the college football season. The season’s opening spot, “Road to the Heismans,” will air during tonight’s UCLA vs. Cincinnati game and features the song “Boys Are Back In Town,” originally recorded by Thin Lizzy.

All 2019 Nissan Heisman House campaign spots were directed by Anthony and Joseph Russo, the Emmy Award-winning directors known most for their work on Marvel films and the comedy series "Arrested Development."

“The Heisman House campaign continues to be a tremendous opportunity for Nissan to creatively feature our robust vehicle lineup and innovative technology in front of the massive college football audience,” said Witherspoon.

This year's campaign includes five 45-second spots and five 15-second spots featuring the Nissan Rogue, Altima, Armada, Maxima and GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition. Nissan Intelligent Mobility also remains a major focus.

Nissan will again provide college football fans the opportunity to vote for their favorite Heisman Trophy candidates. Nissan’s fan vote -- the voice of the public -- is cast along with other Heisman voters from sports journalists and previous Heisman winners. Fans can vote through Twitter or at via their mobile devices. 

As in previous years, the Nissan Heisman House Tour, featuring a simulated Heisman House, will travel to different college campuses throughout the U.S. The Tour provides fans an opportunity to enjoy the Heisman House living room, take photos with the Trophy, and meet Heisman Trophy winners as well as ESPN on-air talent. 

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