Jul 21, 2011 at 12:34 AM
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BP Grant Helps AL Beach Destination Land Southeastern Conference Sponsorship

A beach destination devastated by BP's oil spill is looking to a familiar face, the SEC, to help rebuild its rep. Alabama's Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism has become an official, but non-exclusive corporate sponsor of the Southeastern Conference in a deal that will provide the beach destination with use of conference logos, marketing rights, SEC television and web presence, event signage, and merchandise. AL.com reports that the partnership was funded in part by a $16 million grant from BP intended to boost Alabama tourism after last summer’s oil spill.

Additionally, the company will have an interactive presence at the Dr Pepper SEC FanFare during the Conference’s annual football championship weekend and men’s basketball tournament.

“We are pleased to welcome Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism as a new Conference sponsor,” said Mike Slive, Commissioner of the conference. “We are confident in the tourism bureau’s ability to make a positive impact on our fans and anticipate a long and mutually beneficial relationship.”?

The deal comes despite claims from Orange Beach officials that BP still owes the community at least $2.5 million in past due payments from 2010. Tourism officials hope that the sponsorship will help restore the area as a prominent vacation destination for families across the southeast.

“This Official SEC Corporate Sponsorship is an exciting new avenue for us to begin engaging our core market of potential and repeat guests,” said Herb Malone, President/CEO of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism. “We are extremely grateful and humbled to have our family-oriented beach destination mentioned alongside such a strong and well recognized institution, especially as we continue to make positive steps for our destination.

The agreement, which will run through June 2014, was negotiated by IMG College, the SEC’s multimedia rights partner, in conjunction with Atlanta-based MELT (Marketing Entertainment Lifestyle and Trends), Fishbait Marketing, and Shaul Zislin, a prominent local business leader in Gulf Shores.

“This is a great program for everyone involved and one that will have tremendous impact for a region whose natural beauty has never been in doubt,” said Vince Thompson, president and CEO of MELT. “The opportunity to shoot a groundbreaking ad campaign with SEC football legends and to host the 2012 kickoff weekend, will help bring positive exposure to a truly pristine region.”

“We are grateful for Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism’s decision to join the SEC Sponsorship program in what is a ground-breaking opportunity,” said Ben May, General Manager, IMG-SEC Sports Marketing. “We look forward to working with the bureau to connect SEC fans to the many available recreation options in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area.”

AL.com reports that the sponsor's media inventory will be filled with television spots that were shot at the beach and include former SEC coaches like Pat Dye and Gene Stallings.


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