USF committed to a marketing deal over the weekend that will make the St. Petersburg Times the official sponsor of the USF athletics department.
Paul Tash, president of the Times, said the deal was completed Friday and makes the publication the official newspaper of USF athletics.
Tom Veit, associate athletic director of marketing at USF, said The Tampa Tribune was the previous sponsor, but when its period expired, the Times made an offer USF athletics accepted.
“The Times is paying approximately $700,000 in cash over five years,” Veit said. “A portion of the money will go to the Sun Dome and a portion will go to the athletic department, but it hasn’t been broken up yet.”
Veit added that the sponsorship is exclusively a marketing deal and will not affect the news at the university or the sports coverage.
“When we were negotiating a deal, the news side (of the Times) didn’t even know about it because it’s very important to keep it separate,” Veit said. “It’s a marketing deal, just like Dodge, TECO and Coca-Cola deals.”
Tash said the sponsorship offers the Times the benefit of advertising with USF.
“The cash portion of about $130,000 a year provides the Times with lots of signs at the athletic facilities and the ability to distribute copies of the paper at athletic events,” Tash said.
Tash also said the Times wanted to sponsor USF to attract more readers.
“USF is at an important and exciting time and this gives the Times a prominent place at USF,” Tash said.