Zaxby’s today announced it is “The Official Chicken of College Sports” and has collective intellectual property rights at 25 Division I colleges through a two-year deal with their football and basketball teams. The initiative gives Zaxby’s, a Southeast favorite for chicken fingers and wings, the opportunity to gain valuable exposure among the 173 million Americans who identify themselves as college sports fans and represents the brand’s largest sports sponsorship to date.
“Being The Official Chicken of College Sports is a monumental partnership that allows us to support the colleges and towns that have continued to support us,” said Zach McLeroy, CEO and cofounder of Zaxby’s. “We opened our very first Zaxby’s in a college town and today, we have nearly 600 locations. I can’t think of a better association to have than one that keeps us true to our roots and links us with fine college sports teams across our footprint.”
The new college sports sponsorship, brokered by IMG College, the nation’s leading collegiate marketing agency, includes schools across every state where Zaxby’s is located, representing six major athletic conferences in the South, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest:
University of Alabama
University of Arkansas
University of Florida
University of Georgia
University of Kentucky
Louisiana State University
University of Mississippi
University of South Carolina
University of Tennessee
Atlantic Coast Conference:
Florida State University
Georgia Institute of Technology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Virginia
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Big 12 Conference:
Big Ten Conference:
Indiana University of Bloomington
Sun Belt Conference:
Arkansas State University
Western Kentucky University
University of Houston
University of Southern Mississippi
Additionally, Zaxby’s has a separate agreement with Clemson University to provide brand presence at all football and basketball games.
As part of the new sponsorship, the restaurant developed a special collective logo featuring the 25 partnering colleges designed to identify Zaxby’s as “The Official Chicken of College Sports.” Zaxby’s will be integrated into football and basketball games at each of the participating schools with broadcast radio spots and special in-venue videoboard programming features such as the “Zaxby’s Sack Cam” and “Zaxby’s Dunk Cam,” as well as online ad placement on each school’s athletic website.
“We are proud of Zaxby’s recognizing the power of college sports to drive its business with these premier schools,” said Jeff Huffman, vice president regional sales/Southeast, IMG College. “This sponsorship represents a significant commitment to college sports, and the participating schools are eager to partner with Zaxby’s in helping build its brand.”
An alternative to fast food, Zaxby’s offers its guests prepared-at-order Chicken Fingerz, Traditional or Boneless Wings, sandwiches, Zalads and Zappetizers, along with a variety of nine sauces ranging from Wimpy and Tongue Torch to Nuclear and Insane. Childhood friends Zach McLeroy and Tony Townley hatched the Athens, Ga.-based chain in 1990 to provide a fun, relaxing atmosphere that would keep guests coming back for more. The company ranked number seven in the 2012 Top 10 Excellent Large Fast-Food Chains With 500 Or More U.S. Units Quick-Track study published by Sandelman & Associates. The chain also ranked number five in the nation for total sales and number one in the chicken segment in the 2012 Top 150 Fast-Casual Chain Restaurant Report published by Technomic. In honor of the thousands of children the restaurant chain serves every year, Zaxby’s is a proud supporter of Make-A-Wish. The company operates more than 570 locations in 13 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.