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UW-Milwaukee athletics signed a partnership with Front Row Marketing Services to help develop sponsorships. (PHOTO: David Bernacchi)

UW-Milwaukee athletic partnership may raise school's profile


Front Row Marketing Services has made a name for itself by working with college athletic departments and professional sports franchises to land TV and other media broadcasting deals, as well as ways to maintain branding and make money.

The Comcast subsidiary is now working with the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee on developing sponsorship deals.

"We are extremely excited to begin our partnership with Front Row," Amanda Braun, UWM director of athletics, said in a release.

"As we look to grow our program and create an even better experience for our student-athletes, it is vital we focus on increasing our external revenues. Front Row's relationships and expertise will put us in an excellent position to be successful and assist us in enhancing our student-athletes' and coaches' efforts on the field, in the classroom, and in the community."

The release that went out Wednesday also said the partnership will allow Milwaukee Athletics to secure commercial rights revenue, and drive the brand-enhancing sponsorships that will elevate the on-and off-field experiences for students, alumni and Panthers fans around the globe.

"The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee sets the standard for success in the Horizon League," Eric Smallwood, senior vice president for Front Row, said in the statement.

"The success of the Milwaukee Panthers student-athletes on and off the field demonstrates a commitment to excellence that will resonate strongly with marketers' brand objectives. It is a distinct privilege to be representing the Milwaukee Panthers and to be working with Amanda Braun. We believe in the success Braun cultivated at Northeastern University, member of the Colonial Athletic Association, and are very confident that Braun will further grow the history of success at UWM."

This partnership with UW-Milwaukee has every opportunity to lift the public profile of the athletic program, as previous efforts through the years have been frankly hit and miss. As Braun works to steer the department to become a greater, more visual part of our community, having a firm with the background and expertise of Front Row should help greatly.

Other collegiate programs Front Row works with include Temple University, the University of North Dakota, Saint Cloud State University, Drexel University, James Madison University, Colonial Athletic Association and Valley of the Sun Bowl Foundation.

In the professional ranks, Front Row partners with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles and the Houston Texans; MLB's Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals; NHL's Philadelphia Flyers; and the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic, Brooklyn Nets and Detroit Pistons.

Beyond this, there is a possible advantage in Comcast's proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable. If the stock buyout is approved, and the cable outlet's practice of creating its own local sports programming holds true, making the Panthers as part of the deal makes sense.

This partnership may not go that far at this point, but down the road, broadcasting UW-Milwaukee athletic events on Comcast would be a win-win for Front Row and the university's athletic department.

NEW SHOW: "Opening Bell with Maria Bartiromo" premieres on Monday at 8 a.m. on the Fox Business Network. The program will feature the latest news on world market openings and stock moves, as well as the key business headlines of the day.

According to a release, Bartiromo will interview some of the major financial leaders as she breaks down topics that "viewers need to know both before and after the opening bell rings."

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