This past Sunday Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski entered the rarefied air of college basketball with his 1,000th career win as the Blue Devils downed St. John’s at Madison Square Garden. While so many moments are left to last second planning in sport, this one had a bit of a runway, made even longer by the fact that Duke had two somewhat unexpected ACC losses earlier in the month, a fact which actually boosted the awareness of Coach K’s 1,000th, moving it to national broadcast television and a sellout crowd at “The World’s Most Famous Arena.” It also presented a great window for brands, both national and local to carefully plot out the celebration, one of which was Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, a longtime Duke supporter who got a somewhat unexpected and well planned bounce from their partnership through IMG College.
BCBS was the lead sponsor on several sponsorship tie ins created by Blue Devils IMG Sports Marketing tying to Duke Coach K’s historic 1000th win.
The organization was prominent in a Coach 1K commemorative digital magazine and was set to be presenting sponsor of a special edition of Inside Basketball with Duke’s Coach K that celebrates the historic milestone, a first in NCAA D1 basketball.
BCBS was also presenting sponsor of the post-game radio show for the 1000th win game and was the sponsor of the “count-up” to 1,000 on the GoDuke.com website.
Here is the commemorative digital magazine, including video and IMG Audio, in honor of Coach K’s 1,000th Win, produced by the IMG team at Duke: www.CoachKmagazine.com
Late last summer, Patrick Streko General Manager, Blue Devil IMG Sports Marketing, began working closely with Duke Athletics to develop a number of different opportunities for partners to participate in the 1,000-win celebration. “We collectively decided to develop the 1K Digital Magazine, a special edition of our weekly television show, Inside Basketball with Duke’s Coach K, a count-up ticker on GoDuke.com and a special post game show on our Blue Devil IMG Radio Broadcast following the historic win,” Streko said.
Streko’s team approached a number of current partners with the opportunities, and BCBS of North Carolina was immediately interested in celebrating Coach K across all mediums. BCBS routinely participates in Duke’s special digital magazine celebrating Football Bowl appearances and our Post Season Basketball guides.
“This vision by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina led to their lead position in all of our 1K programming and elements. They are a great partner to work with and are always collaborating with us on new ideas and opportunities to grow our brands together,” Streko said.
BCBS has been a partner with Blue Devil IMG Sports Marketing for the past six years (since IMG purchased the rights from Johnny Moore Productions.) Additional history – they had been a partner going back 30+ years with Duke Athletics and JMP, but had about a 10 year hiatus before coming back on board when IMG purchased the rights at Duke.
The result was a unique activation with millions of eyeballs, all tied to a special moment in a special place. Timing, as we know, is key in sports, and BCBS hit on all cylinders as the Blue Devils and Coach K crossed a special milestone in hoops history.