Northwestern University-Legends deal


Northwestern University partners with Legends Image: Legends

The Northwestern University Athletics (US) and Legends, a global premium experiences company, recently announced a multiyear partnership that will enhance the fan experience at Wildcats’ sporting events and maximize Northwestern Athletics revenue generation through a streamlined, data-driven sales approach.

‘Legends’ stated that as part of the overarching agreement, Legends will manage premium seating, ticket sales, marketing, and business intelligence for football, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, and other ticketed Northwestern varsity sports.

The Northwestern Department of Athletics and Recreation (NUDAR) is committed to providing a world-class experience – in the classroom, in the community and in competition – to more than 525 student-athletes across 19 varsity programs. Northwestern is a founding member of the Big Ten Conference and has won recent championships in women’s basketball, diving, fencing, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis and wrestling, as well as four consecutive football bowl games. The Wildcats student-athletes annually rank among the nation’s leaders by every academic metric, including the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA’s) Graduation Success Rate and Academic Progress Rate measures. Additionally, NUDAR supports the wellness of the entire university community through recreation, group fitness classes and competitive sports on both the Evanston and Chicago campuses.

The Northwestern Wildcats football team represents the Northwestern University as an NCAA Division I college football team and member of the Big Ten Conference based near Chicago in Evanston, Illinois, US. Founded in 1876, Northwestern began playing football in 1882.

The 47,130-capacity Ryan Field is a stadium in Central United States, located in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb North of Chicago. Near the campus of Northwestern University, it is primarily used for American football, and is the home field of the Northwestern Wildcats of the Big Ten Conference.

Founded in 2008, Legends is a premium experiences company with six divisions operating worldwide – Global Planning, Global Sales, Global Partnerships, Hospitality, Global Merchandise, and Global Technology Solutions – offering clients and partners a 360-degree data and analytics-fueled service solution platform to elevate their brand and execute their vision.

Currently, New York (US)-based Legends works with marquee clients across business verticals including professional sports, collegiate, attractions, entertainment, and conventions and leisure. Legends are the industry leader in designing, planning and realizing exceptional experiences in sports and entertainment.

Enthused Dr. Derrick Gragg, Northwestern’s Combe Family Vice- President for Athletics and Recreation, “We are excited to launch this comprehensive partnership with an unparalleled industry leader as we expand our sales and marketing infrastructure. Our external team led by the Senior Associate Athletic Director, Tyler Jones, along with Legends’ expertise will immediately position Northwestern Athletics to deliver an enhanced experience to our fans and allow us to generate critical additional resources to support the holistic development of Wildcats student-athletes.”

‘Legends’ further stated that Legends will also support Northwestern Athletics in its approach to optimizing revenue generation and curating experiences for all fans as part of the University’s efforts to reimagine and rebuild Ryan Field, inclusive of premium product development and pricing, corporate hospitality, premium seating, and ticket sales.

Northwestern Athletics initially engaged Legends in 2021 through its research arm Convention, Sports and Leisure (CSL) to conduct a comprehensive study on improving the overall fan experience, which included a survey and series of focus groups to solicit direct feedback from ticket holders, alumni and other fans. Additionally, Legends Project Development and CSL are supporting the ongoing, exploratory project planning for the new Ryan Field initiative.

Put in Deputy Director of Athletics Jesse Marks, “Legends has proven to be an invaluable partner since our collaboration began in 2021, and we are excited to introduce the Legends Way to the Wildcats community. Their robust sales, data analytics and proven facility development expertise will greatly enhance Northwestern Athletics’ reach within the University, Evanston and greater Chicagoland communities, providing an innovative experience and a first-class level of service throughout the sales and development process.”

Maintained Michael Behan, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Collegiate Partnerships, Legends, “The college athletics landscape is rapidly evolving, and Northwestern University has fully embraced what it takes to be on the leading edge of the sports fan experience today – and into the future. We are excited to partner with such a renowned University and athletics program and to leverage our expertise and development strategy to help invigorate and enhance the experience for the Wildcats’ community and supporters.”

The latest collaboration bolsters Legends’ position as the leader in advising university athletic departments on identifying opportunities to enhance fan experiences and optimize revenue streams on new and renovated facility projects, having partnered on University of Notre Dame, University of Oklahoma, University of Southern California, Villanova University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Utah, and San Diego State University, amongst others.

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