With a quarterbacks being investigated for his memorabilia take and TV executives discussing weekly contests as “inventory,” it’s safe to say college football is one of the biggest sports businesses around. Tying together fans’ love of the sport with their allegiance to an alma mater is working wonders for dominant players like ESPN (NYSE:DIS) and Nike (NYSE:NKE). What’s surprising is how much the biggest players are influencing the sport.
Anheuser Busch Inbev’s (NYSE:BUD) Bud Light beer is the perfect example. Not only is the flagship light beer the drink of choice of so many fans (courtesy of an overwhelming promotions department), Budweiser has decided advertising is not enough. The company has launched “Bud Light Football Arizona,” a website that will serve as the hub for the state’s pro and college football fans, and is presenting “Inside College Football” on CBS (NYSE:CBS) Sports on prime time through the fall.
Nike has an even bigger stake in the world of college football. From multi-million dollar deals for uniform creation to mammoth apparel contracts with universities, Portland Business Journal considered the efforts of Big Swoosh as empire-building on campuses everywhere. Of course, none of these companies has been able to influence the game quite like the Worldwide Leader in Sports.