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Learfield Sports’ (bow)ties with businesses to bring University, community together

If you ask leaders of university athletics marketing firm Learfield Sports about how well they are promoting The University of Toledo Rockets’ brand, they offer a series of metrics: increased merchandise sales, higher attendance figures, skyrocketing bow tie sales… Wait, what?

“The University of Toledo Rockets are an important community rallying point and it’s the job of Learfield Sports to help UT build and share the momentum UT’s student-athletes create,” said Mary-Bec Gwyn, general manager for Learfield’s Rocket Sports Properties. “For the past three years, Learfield has been a proud partner with UT and businesses across northwest Ohio to host Tie One On, an annual event featuring bow ties to raise money in support of cancer care, awareness and outreach.”

Taking place each year at a UT men’s basketball game, everyone from UT coaches and opposing team coaches to members of the media to UT students, fans and UT’s president wear bow ties or bow tie necklaces.

“Everyone is happier in a bow tie,” according to Larry Burns, UT vice president for external affairs and a bow tie aficionado. “We’ve created an event that brings the community together with their University, and we’re raising money for a great cause. And Learfield Sports is a key part of making this event a success.”

Indeed, many of the businesses Learfield works with to help promote the Rocket Nation brand also are stepping up to support and promote the Fourth Annual Tie One On event during the UT Rockets’ Feb. 5 game against archrival Bowling Green State University. And before the game, UT will work to set the Guinness World Record for most bow ties tied simultaneously.

Kroger, Yark Automotive and distributor Treu House of Munch are promoting Tie One On at grocery stores, Toledo dealerships and more than 200 local bars and restaurants, respectively. Those in need of heating or cooling services will be met by a bow tie-wearing serviceman thanks to One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning, and Harold Jaffe Jewelers donated the Tie One On 2014 necklaces for female participants.

“Just like the UT Rockets, these businesses all play important roles in our community, and it’s really rewarding to see so many pull together to raise money for a good cause and to celebrate Toledo and its people,” Gwyn said.

is UT's Director of University Communications. Contact her at 419.530.2410 or
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