This marks the first-ever, conference-wide women's sports television sponsorship in the history of intercollegiate athletics. Worldspan, a leading provider of technology for travel agents, suppliers, and Internet travel companies, is in its second year as a member of the SEC Corporate Partner Program, which has been sold, administered and marketed by Host Communications, Inc. (HOST) since 1989.
This television "first" is a significant extension to Worldspan's existing relationship with the League, as the Atlanta-based company continues to raise its profile among businesses, universities, and communities across the southeastern United States.
"Worldspan is proud to take a national leadership position in the support of Women's Athletics in the SEC," said Paul J. Blackney, Worldspan's president and CEO. "Worldspan has strong beliefs on diversity issues, and this sponsorship aligns perfectly with our supportive position for women not only on the athletic field, but also in the world of technology and commerce. It is an honor to be affiliated with these fine student-athletes. We know they will use the leadership skills and dedication honed in SEC competition when they move forward to leadership positions in our communities."
The Worldspan identity will be featured on all women's events televised as part of the SEC-TV package distributed by FOX Sports Net South, Sunshine Network and FOX Sports Net Southwest. The programming schedule includes both regular-season and conference championship events in soccer, volleyball, basketball, gymnastics, softball, golf, tennis, track and field and swimming and diving. Worldspan also will present a regular women's athletics feature on SEC-TV Weekly, seen Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. ET. Worldspan's on-air presence will begin with the November 1 edition of SEC-TV Weekly.
The SEC, which sponsors 11 women's sports, captured national championships in swimming and golf last season and posted three additional national runner-up finishes in gymnastics, indoor track and tennis. Since 1990, the league has won 35 NCAA women's team titles, with 185 individual national champions and 1,543 All-Americas.
"The Southeastern Conference and its member institutions salute and thank Worldspan for its vision and leadership in supporting women's athletics," Commissioner Roy Kramer said. "This historical commitment is unprecedented and further enhances our women's television package."
"Worldspan has made significant strides in the area of sports sponsorship since first entering the arena in spring of 2000. They've only just begun to understand the value and benefits of this type of partnership, particularly with the SEC, which has such a tremendous following," said HOST President and COO Marc Kidd. "It was rewarding to work with Worldspan on this additional venture to help them achieve the right value and vehicle to match the company's goals and objectives."
About WorldspanWorldspan provides global electronic distribution of travel information, Internet products and connectivity, and electronic commerce capabilities for travel agencies, travel service providers and corporations worldwide.
The company's three lines of business are travel supplier services, e-commerce, and global distribution systems for the worldwide travel industry. The Worldspan reservations system provides nearly 21,000 travel agencies and other users worldwide with travel data and booking capabilities for hundreds of the world's leading travel supplier services.
Worldspan is the market leader in e-commerce for the travel industry, processing more than 50 percent of all online travel agency bookings. The company maintains world headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Worldspan is owned by affiliates of Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE: DAL), Northwest Airlines (Nasdaq: NWAC) and TWA Airlines LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines, Inc. Additional information is available at www.worldspan.com.
About the SECThe Southeastern Conference was formed in 1933 and consists of 12 member institutions: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. The league currently sanctions championship play in nine men's sports and 11 women's sports. Its headquarters has been located in Birmingham, Ala., since 1948.
About HOSTHOST is the centerpiece subsidiary of Bull Run Corporation (Nasdaq: BULL). Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2002, HOST is a multi-faceted corporation, with more than 20 U.S. offices and an international division in Paris, France.
HOST provides comprehensive sales, marketing, multimedia, special event and convention/hospitality services to domestic and international grassroots sports and lifestyle events, NCAA Division I universities and conferences and national/global associations. HOST's well-known, 26-year marketing relationship with the NCAA now extends through 2013 via an 11-year agreement with CBS Sports.