Iowa Lottery to kick off tailgate-themed promotion
The Iowa Lottery is spending $248,000 to reach college football fans this fall under an advertising partnership with the sports marketing arms of Iowa's three public universities, according to contracts released Friday.
The Lottery is rolling out a promotion called the Great State Tailgate involving a sports-themed $2 instant scratch ticket that goes on sale Monday. Players with losing tickets can go online to enter a drawing for a state-of-the-art tailgate trailer the Lottery will show off outside 11 games in Iowa City, Ames and Cedar Falls during the football season, along with other five cash prizes of $1,000 that will be given away in December.
While Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa have had longstanding sponsorship agreements with the Lottery, the promotion marks the first time since 2007 the University of Iowa has joined forces with the agency.
The two parted ways that year after an Iowa faculty panel said the school should not partner with gambling interests. A controversy over the relationship arose after a lottery commercial began airing that used a parody of the Iowa Fight Song and footage from Carver-Hawkeye Arena, which drew an admonishment from the NCAA.
The Lottery released copies of its contracts with the sports marketing arms of each university, which are run by subsidiaries of Learfield Sports. They are worth $105,000 for Iowa State, $103,000 for Iowa and $40,000 at UNI.
In exchange for the cash, the Lottery will get radio ads and live interviews during games on the schools' radio networks, ads on their athletic departments' Web sites and social media pages and space for marketing and display outside stadiums during 11 games. Ads will run on scoreboards during ISU and UNI games, and the Lottery will be able to use their logos on promotional materials.
Iowa's contract has tighter restrictions on its use of logos, allowing the Lottery to use them on the tailgate trailer but requiring permission in advance for other uses. Unlike the 2007 promotion and the new UNI deal, Iowa will not allow television advertising this time.
The towable trailer, valued at $22,000, will come equipped with a 42-inch television, home theatre system, gas grill, cooler, a portable generator and more. The winner will be able to customize the artwork on the outside of it.
Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta announced Iowa's decision to renew ties with the Lottery at a meeting of the Presidential Committee on Athletics on Thursday. He said the Lottery had pitched ideas for partnerships with Iowa every year since 2007 but none of them felt comfortable until now, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported.
''I think the biggest thing is that they came with a proposal that included all three state universities, and I thought that was an attractive thing that the whole state might be able to get behind,'' Barta said, according to the newspaper.
Calls to Barta's office rang unanswered Friday, and he did not immediately return an email message from The Associated Press.
Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer said Friday she expects the promotion will be popular. She said the Lottery wants to be ''fair and uniform'' in its treatment of Iowa's public universities and always gives each the same opportunity to join promotions. Neubauer also dismissed concerns about the universities' using their clout to promote gambling, saying the Lottery's ads go beyond that.
''The Lottery has chosen to harness the power of its marketing dollars to support other great causes in our state from tourism to veterans to education,'' she said. ''Fall football is one of the best tourism attractions we have, and it's a great opportunity for people to get out and about and see all the fun things there are to do here in Iowa.''