Changing the Game: My Career in Collegiate Sports Marketing

Changing the Game: My Career in Collegiate Sports Marketing


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Many Kentuckians and fans of intercollegiate athletics are familiar with the name Jim Host. As founder and CEO of Host Communications, he was the pioneer in college sports marketing. Host's prevailing innovation in collegiate sports was the concept of bundled licensing, which encouraged corporate partners to become official sponsors of athletic programs across media formats. Host and his team developed the NCAA Radio Network and introduced what became known as the NCAA's Corporate Partner Program, which employed companies such as Gillette, Valvoline, Coca-Cola, and Pizza Hut to promote university athletic programs and the NCAA at large. Host was involved with the construction of Rupp Arena, the Kentucky Horse Park, and the KFC Yum! Center. But few know his full story.

Changing the Game is the first complete account of the entrepreneur's professional life, detailing his achievements in sports radio, management, and broadcasting; his time in minor league baseball, real estate, and the insurance business; and his foray into Kentucky politics, including his appointments under governors Louie B. Nunn and Ernie Fletcher. This memoir provides a behind-the-scenes look at the growth of big-time athletics and offers solutions for current challenges facing college sports.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813179551
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 03/10/2020
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 313,442
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jim Host is founder of Host Communications, Inc., a nationally renowned college sports marketing and association management company. He grew up in Kentucky and played baseball at the University of Kentucky before joining the Chicago White Sox farm system. Host served as the first executive director of Rupp Arena, founding chairman of the Kentucky Horse Park Commission, chairman of Louisville Arena Authority, and secretary of commerce for Kentucky. He received the Kentuckian of the Year Award from the Chandler Foundation, the Champion of Diversity Award from the Louisville Urban League, the Kentucky Broadcasters Distinguished Kentuckian Award, and honorary doctorates from the University of Kentucky, the University of Pikeville, and Kentucky State University.

Eric A. Moyen is associate professor and department head of Educational Leadership at Mississippi State University. He is the author of Frank McVey and the University of Kentucky: A Progressive President and the Modernization of a Southern University.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

1 Growing Roots 1

2 Chasing Dreams 14

3 In Search of a New Dream 25

4 Exploring Life in Politics 36

5 Running for Office and Running a Business 57

6 Business in the Bluegrass and Beyond 74

7 Working in an Ever-Changing Environment 95

8 The NCAA and Corporate Sponsorships 113

9 Back to Kentucky and Bundled Rights 126

10 The Solid South: Expanding in the SEC 140

11 Surviving an Era of Crisis 155

12 My Last Great Pitch for the NCAA 169

13 A Time of Transition 185

14 The KFC Yum! Center 201

Epilogue: Examining the Past and Looking to the Future 219

Notes 233

Index 239

Photos follow page 112

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Jim Host was a major contributor to the success of the NCAA, especially the growth of the basketball tournament into the phenomenon known as March Madness. This book traces Host's incredible story, which includes creating the NCAA Radio Network, publishing the tournament programs, and implementing the NCAA Corporate Partner Program. His trailblazing efforts forever changed the landscape of college sports marketing." — Tom Jernstedt, executive vice president of the NCAA

"Jim Host is an American icon whose work ethic, honesty, and leadership brought him unparalleled success. It's hard to imagine any former student athlete who has given back more to the intercollegiate enterprise than Host. This is a must-read for anyone with career aspirations in sports business." — Bob Vecchione, chief executive officer of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics

"The terms pioneer or paradigm changer could describe Jim Host, but they fall short because he literally created the business of college sports. He developed a national media presence for college athletics, and I use the spelling 'March Madne$$' because his entrepreneurship brought previously unimaginable revenue to college sports. Changing the Game is an excellent testament to his incredible life's work." — Bill Sutton, founder emeritus of the Vinik Sport Business Program at the University of South Florida

"When Sports Business Journal launched the Champions program to honor pioneers and leaders in the industry, Jim Host was an obvious choice to be in the inaugural class. No business had more to do with the creation and evolution of collegiate sports marketing than Jim's company, Host Communications. He was the father of an industry that helped propel the growth of college sports. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how college sports marketing developed and where the industry is headed in the future." — Michael Smith, leading college athletics staff writer at Sports Business Journal

"Jim Host is the David Stern of college athletics." — Bill Walton, ESPN sportscaster and former NBA All-Star player

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