Virgin Radio, which was bought by the Scottish Media Group last
week, has secured a 52-week sponsorship deal with the US-owned internet
service Sports.com, reflecting the growing use of radio to promote web
Virgin Radio is one of four national stations to have recently secured
sponsor-ship with Sports.com, which is majority-owned by
Sports.com will sponsor 52 weeks of sports programming that will be
carried as banner ads on Virgin Radio’s website and on the station’s
sports bulletins, including all Euro 2000 coverage.
The sports website will also carry out sponsorship activities on Chris
Evans’ Rock and Roll Football show.
The deal was sealed by Carol McCormack, head of agency sales at Virgin,
and Bobby Markawitz, senior marketing manager at Sports.com.
Although Sports.com had chosen Virgin for Euro 2000, the company is also
signing sponsorship deals with Capital Gold, which carried Sports.com’s
sponsorship last year, Talk Sport and Century Radio.
Markawitz commented: ’We hope to continue with our sponsorship on as
many radio stations as possible. We see the future in terms of using
radio to support online efforts, as an increasing number of people are
listening to the radio on the internet.’
Separately, Virgin Radio launched a pounds 2 million through-the-line
press, TV, poster and cinema ad campaign last week, using 4i and Motive.
The campaign will advertise the station’s commitment to music,
introducing its daily classic tracks in a move to distance the station
from Chris Evans as its main personality.
The sale of Ginger Media Group to the Scottish Media Group for pounds 75
million means that Virgin Radio will now operate as part of the Scottish
Media Group, which owns Scottish Television, the Glasgow Herald and
Pearl & Dean.
Speculation suggests that there are plans to integrate Virgin Radio and
Ginger Television into SMG’s existing media operations to create a
strong national advertising presence.
David Campbell, chief executive of Ginger Media Group, will continue to
hold responsibility for the management of the media division and he will
report to Andrew Flanagan, chief executive of SMG.
McCormack said: ’Morale is good and, for now, sales operations will be
business as usual.’ She also confirmed that the sale would bring
potential opportunities for cross-media selling across radio, online,
press and TV.