PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Simmons Bank today announced unprecedented support for female student-athletes through a multi-university initiative whereby she will be the Principal Sponsor of Women’s Track and Field at Arkansas State University, Oklahoma State University, SMU, TCU, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Central Arkansas, University of Memphis, University of Missouri, and Vanderbilt University.
At the heart of sponsorship is a goal of expanding beyond traditional sponsorship elements to focus on personalized programming and enhanced career opportunities for student-athletes. Simmons Bank works with each university to create distinct programs ranging from financial education program and leadership training to mentorship, internship programs and women in business development initiatives. Deemed to be the first corporate sponsorship of its kind in multiple schools and encompassing all teams in the women’s athletics program at each university, the initiative was created through a relationship between Simmons Bank and LEARFIELD, the multimedia rights holder on university athletics.(1).
“The ability to partner with leading universities in our footprint to provide financial support while developing programs to further enhance the qualities that student-athletes acquire through competition is an incredible honor for our organization,” said said George A. Makris, Jr., president and CEO of Simmons Bank.
“Sport teaches intangible leadership skills that cannot necessarily be taught in the classroom while developing characteristics that include a strong work ethic, the value of teamwork and the determination to bring projects to fruition – characteristics that translate easily from the sports world to the business world where we all play from the same tees, ”added Makris. “We applaud the talent and sportsmanship of these young women and believe that our partnership with their universities will position them for even greater success in the future.”
Based on a global study of male and female C-Suite executives conducted by EY and espnW between 2013 and 2016, there is an undeniable correlation between athletic and business success. The results of the study show:
- 94% of female executives have training in sport and more than half have participated in university levels
- 80% of Fortune 500 women executives had practiced competitive sports
- 74% of all executives believe that playing sports can help accelerate a woman’s career
- 61% of female executives who responded believed that sport contributed positively to their professional success and advancement
According to LEARFIELD CMO Jennifer Davis, the announcement offers powerful college sports co-branding opportunities with wide reach.
“This level of sponsorship, specific to women’s athletics at several schools, is a real game-changer,” said Davis. “Many sponsors came together to support some women’s sports teams, but Simmons Bank intended to include all women’s sports in these ten universities to send a dominant message about the impact and value of student-athletes. . There is huge potential for brands to partner with women’s sport in a number of ways that enhance these programs and we are excited to partner with Simmons Bank and eight of these schools to showcase talent, dedication and achievement. of these student-athletes. . “
The Multi-University Signature Program is an extension of an already strong sports sponsorship platform that Simmons Bank has built over the past few years. Earlier this year, the bank announced that it was in negotiations to acquire the naming rights to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, with the stadium being renamed Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium. In Nashville, Simmons Bank is the title sponsor of the PGA TOUR’s Korn Ferry Tour event – the Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation. The bank also has brand ambassadorial relationships with professional golfers, including 2021 Masters sensation and 2021 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year winner Will Zalatoris. In St. Louis, Simmons Bank is proud to sponsor the St. Louis Blues, a member of the National Hockey League, as well as the official Bank of the Ascension Charity Classic, a new PGA Champions Tour event. In Fort Worth, the bank is the official banking partner and naming rights holder for the Simmons Bank Plaza and Simmons Bank Pavilion at Dickies Arena, as well as a major sponsor of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. In Arkansas, the bank is the main sponsor of Simmons Bank Arena in Little Rock, and Simmons Bank Field and Simmons Bank Pavilion at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. In October, the bank announced that it was in negotiations to acquire the naming rights to the War Memorial Stadium land and, when completed, the land would be renamed Simmons Bank Field. In partnership with the Tennessee Golf Association and the Arkansas State Golf Association, the bank is the main sponsor of the Simmons Bank Cup, a Ryder Cup-style tournament featuring amateur champions from both states.
“People are passionate about sport and partnerships like this give us the opportunity to connect with our customers on a more personal level while supporting the communities we serve,” said Elizabeth Machen, Executive Vice President Marketing and Communications at Simmons Bank. “Sport is also associated with values that align perfectly with the cornerstones of Bank Simmons’ culture: better together, integrity, passion, high performance and continued growth. We believe that sponsorship at this level allows Simmons Bank to make a real difference for female students. athletes, with programming that supports young women not only as rising athletes, but also as future business professionals and community leaders. “
The relationship with Simmons Bank has been secured on behalf of each university by the athletics multimedia rights holder and the locally based LEARFIELD team.(1): Red Wolves Sports Properties, Cowboy Sports Properties, Mustang Sports Properties, Horned Frogs Sports Properties, Little Rock Trojan Sports Properties, Tiger Sports Properties, Mizzou Sports Properties and Vanderbilt Sports Properties.
(1) The University of Arkansas Pine Bluff and the University of Central Arkansas are not represented by LEARFIELD. The relationship with Simmons Bank was secured by Simmons Bank and the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff and the University of Central Arkansas, respectively.
About Simmons Bank
Simmons Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of Simmons First National Corporation (NASDAQ: SFNC), a financial holding company based in the Mid-South. Simmons Bank operates more than 200 branches in Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Founded in 1903, Simmons Bank offers comprehensive financial solutions with a customer-centric approach. Simmons Bank was nominated for Forbes magazine’s list of “Best Banks in the World” for the second year in a row and ranked among the top 30 banks in Forbes’ list of ‘America’s Best Banks’ for 2021. Additional information about Simmons Bank can be found on our website at simmonsbank.com, following @Simmons_Bank on Twitter or by visiting our press room.
LEARFIELD is a leading company in media and technology services in the field of intercollegiate athletics. The company unleashes the value of varsity sport for brands and fans through an omnichannel platform with innovative content and commerce solutions. LEARFIELD services include management of multimedia licenses and sponsorships; publishing, audio, digital and social media; Data analysis; ticketing, ticketing and professional concessions expertise; Branding; campus-wide business and sponsorship development; and site technology systems. Since 2008, he has been the title sponsor of the famous LEARFIELD Directors’ Cup, supporting sports departments in all divisions.