You gotta wonder what Frank Broyles would say.
Even people in the cheap(er) seats in Razorback Stadium will be able to buy beer and wine at football games in Fayetteville this year. And now comes news that the fiercely protected Razorback logo is going to be used to sell scratch-off lottery tickets.
The $5 scratch-off ticket (much favored by low-income gamblers) will plug Razorback football, basketball or baseball and include a variety of prizes, including three $100,000 winning tickets (odds of winning? 1 in 600,000).
From the news release from the Arkansas Lottery:
“This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, and partnering with the Arkansas Razorbacks to raise scholarship funds is the perfect way for us to celebrate,” said Bishop Woosley, director of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. “There’s no brand more important to the state of Arkansas than the Razorbacks, and we believe this will help raise more funding for scholarships all over the state.
… “We are excited that thanks to our relationship with the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, students from around the state will have access to valuable educational opportunities,” said Hunter Yurachek, vice chancellor and director of athletics at the University of Arkansas. “As Arkansans we rally behind the Razorbacks. Now, we can use that same passion to make a meaningful investment in the lives of Arkansas students.”
Time for my periodic reminder that the Arkansas Lottery, when last I was able to research, favored white students from higher-income families. New test score standards to qualify for the lottery made the awards fall even more disproportionately among those already best-situated to attend college. First-year awards also were reduced, a particularly critical time for poorer students just starting college. The sponsor of these changes, Sen. Jimmy Hickey, said recently that the system is working fine and needs no adjustment.
I’ve asked the lottery for the specific agreement by which the Razorback trademark is being used. The university is famous for going after people who poach on the names, images and even specific colors employed by Hog teams. I’ve asked if this is a gratis arrangement or if the UA will share in gambling proceeds.
UPDATE: Bishop Woosley, the lottery director, sent me from the road a document encompassing the Razorback ticket agreement. It appears to say there’s a $141,000 payment for the licensing fee. See page 2 of this document.
The UA athletic department said the agreement is between the lottery and Learfield-IMG College, which holds rights to market UA athletics in all media. I was directed to IMG for further details.
But wait: IMG says the $141,000 payment is only between the lottery and the vendor who produces the ticket. So I’m still searching for a firm answer to: 1) What entity granted use of Razorback logo in lottery ticket sales; 2) how much was paid for that right?
UPDATE II: I now have this further response from Learfield IMG (it won’t answer the key question):
We do, Learfield IMG College is the multimedia rightsholder for the Razorbacks. Arkansas Sports Properties is our local team dedicated to working alongside Athletics. Our team does everything in alignment with Athletics, that’s how we work at all of our school relationships, and they were aware of this sponsorship. In terms of the financials, we don’t by corporate policy share those as they relate to any agreements we do on behalf of the school. Hope this helps address some of what you are asking.
So I take this to mean UA was on board with using Razorbacks to sell scratch-off lottery tickets but the price of that deal with another state agency is none of the public’s business.
UPDATE III: Further comment from Bishop Woosley of the lottery:
SGI is our instant ticket vendor and our contract requires that they contract with entities or individuals who have the ability to obtain certain game licenses such as Wonka, Harley Davidson, Monopoly or Razorback etc., for us to print and distribute.
Our agreement is with SGI and the license fee is $141,000. We paid the 1st half $70,500 and we will pay the remaining half $70,500 next month. SGI contracted with Tom George Inc and paid him the $141,000 to obtain the right to the license on our behalf.