By Gary J.Nix
- HBCU Go has secured brand deals reportedly worth millions of dollars from Meta, Verizon and Capital One among other brands
- Collectively, HBCUs generate $14.8B in economic impact a year
We are beginning to see brands make more extensive investments in HBCU sports. Likely initiated by their ability to enter NIL (name, image, and likeness) deals with individual assets, the general sports partnership and sponsorship landscape has already manifested in new programs such as the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic HBCU Basketball Tournament. Now, we are about to experience a significant development on the media side, thanks to incoming advertising deals and HBCU Go and the fact that collectively, HBCUs generate $14.8 billion in economic impact a year.
Why This Matters: The reported HBCU Go deals prove that Byron Allen’s call to action for advertisers to support Black-owned media, as well as his distinction between Black-owned media and media whose audience is majority Black is working. Additionally, these deals are an example of how economic inclusion can be achieved. A few of HBCU Go’s newly minted partners include deals with a wide variety of brands, from Walmart (WMT -0.49%) and Capital One to Meta (META -3.23%) and Verizon (VZ -1.96%).
As businesses begin to accept the need to recognize how culture affects their bottom line, they are considering new ways to extend their reach. In addition, innovation and access afforded by technology continues to create further competition for major brands. Thus, big brands’ most recent celebration of HBCUs through sports, fashion, and beauty partnerships makes sense.
Situational Awareness: Major brands’ capital infusion into Black-owned media outlets is only the first step. What these companies need to realize again is to learn how to communicate and connect with this audience who they have not done the best job of serving. According to Nielsen, Black viewers are twice as likely to buy from brands that advertise in content that gets representation right. Therefore, it won’t only be about who you advertise to, but how you advertise. And that’s just a good rule of thumb.
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