Why do we have a centralized sponsorship development program and sponsorship policy?

Please see our rationale & procedures page


What are the differences between sponsorships, gifts and advertising?

Sponsorship marketing – a business agreement and marketing strategy in which there is a mutual exchange of value (e.g. tactical efforts in exchange for cash or barter). To sponsor something is to leverage a property, event, activity, person/people or organization with the goal of meeting the sponsor’s marketing objectives and goals. A sponsor is the individual or group that makes that marketing investment.


Gift or donation – a contribution received by an institution for either unrestricted or restricted use in the furtherance of the institution for which the institution has made no commitment of resources or services other than, possibly, committing to use the gifts the donor specifies. The contribution is a nonreciprocal transfer in that there is no implicit or explicit statement of exchange, purchase of services, or provision of exclusive information. If the donor receives benefits in return for the contribution, the amount of the gift recorded and reported is reduced by the fair market value of all benefits given. The institution has no obligation to report to the donor how the gift is used or invested, but institutions are not prevented from providing such reports as part of donor stewardship.


Advertising – “Includes messages containing qualitative or comparative language, price information, or other indications of savings or value; endorsements; and inducements to purchase, sell or use the products or services” [IRS publication 598 (01/2015), Tax on Unrelated Business Income of Exempt Organizations]. OCM’s exclusive sponsorship broker works with non-university entities on sponsorship agreements where there is no arrangement or expectation sponsor will receive substantial return benefit other than the use or acknowledgement of the name and logo (or product lines) of the sponsor’s trade or business; and works to ensure sponsorships do not incorporate “call to action” advertising in marketing elements associated with sponsorship.


I’m interested in getting a sponsor for my program or event. What should I do?

Please contact Kim Butterweck, kimberly.butterweck@louisville.edu or 852-5310.


What should I do if a company contacts me and is interested in having a presence on campus (e.g. tabling at events, food sampling, having name or logo included on materials)?

Please either refer the interested company contact directly to John Penny at Learfield Communications/Louisville Sports Properties (jpenny@louisvillesportsproperties.com, 852-0858) or provide the company’s contact information to John for follow-up.


Why should I go through OCM to broker sponsorships for my department or unit? Why can’t I work directly with potential sponsors?

Leadership approved the centralized sponsorship development program and its related policy to: create added value for the institution; avoid legal conflicts or agreements that devalue the institution; and protect the university from misrepresentation of its name and harm to its reputation. Units entering into independent sponsorship agreements without prior approval from OCM and/or Purchasing will be in non-compliance with university policy and may violate existing, university-wide contracts or sponsorship agreements.



What are marketable assets?

Any communication channel that reaches UofL’s students, faculty, staff, alumni and/or visitors may be considered a marketable asset.  This includes, but is not limited to: presence/tabling or networking opportunities at university events; inclusion of a company’s logo or information on printed or electronic communications, including websites; advertisements in university materials or guidebooks; physical or digital signage; and social media channels.


How can I make sure our sponsorship broker is aware of my marketable assets?

Please John Penny at Learfield Communications/Louisville Sports Properties, jpenny@louisvillesportsproperties.com, 852-0858


Who contacts potential sponsors?

Learfield Communications is the exclusive sponsorship broker for the University of Louisville.


How will this be enforced?

The sponsorship policy is monitored by OCM in cooperation with the Department of Purchasing.  Any exceptions to this policy must have prior approval from OCM.  Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.   OCM reserves the right to approve or deny any and all sponsorship contracts, whether written or verbal.


Whom should I contact about having the university sponsor or fund my event or program?

Please contact the Office of Communications and Marketing’s director of brand marketing.


My event is in two weeks, and we need money for it. What am I supposed to do? A sponsorship deal could take weeks.

Sponsorship partnerships can take time to put together. If there are events or activities you believe would be of value to a corporate partner please contact OCM or Learfield Communications. Sponsorship should not be viewed as a way to “pay for things.” Do not plan or make purchases with the hope that sponsorship will be the expected revenue. The market is only interested in assets that drive measurable value for their businesses. If you are seeking a philanthropic gift, contact University Advancement.


When will my department receive revenue from a sponsorship?

All revenues realized through sponsorship are received at the end of the fiscal year and disbursed in July. Departments that engage or are engaged in sponsorship will receive funds via internal transfer to the department’s Z account.


What is the process for Request for Proposals (RFPs)?

Please visit Purchasing’s Bids/RFP page for more information.


Does the sponsorship policy apply to registered student organizations (RSOs)?

RSOs are prohibited from entering into sponsorships that would allow on-campus presence to competing organizations in direct conflict with the university’s exclusive partnerships. Although RSOs are subject to the student code of conduct and are able to receive some benefits at the university, these organizations are independent of the university, do not receive tax-exempt status and are not otherwise directly bound by the provisions of the university’s sponsorship policy. However, RSO initiatives and events that would allow a competing company presence on university property could put the university at risk for breach of contract.  
Please contact Student Involvement for more information about student organizations. For information on the university’s current exclusive contracts, please contact the Communications and Marketing and/or Procurement offices.


How was Learfield Communications selected as the university’s exclusive sponsorship broker?

A request for proposal was distributed and posted by the Department of Purchasing. Based on the necessary requirements and recommendations made by university officials, Learfield was chosen.


At HSC, we are not allowed to receive payment or sponsorship from medical companies or organizations under a policy by either VPHA or HSC policy about vendors (Vendor Policy question). Which policy trumps another?

This policy supports the entire university and will work in tandem with all current compliance policies. Anyone responsible for compliance of any type is responsible for notifying the Office of Communications and Marketing of any prohibitions relative to sponsorship.

Communications & Marketing

University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky 40292

Kim Butterweck

Director of Communication Initiatives

(502) 852-5310


General Manager

Learfield Communications/Louisville Sports Properties

(502) 852-0858