09. February 2009 · Comments Off on $25.5 Million & the Free T-Shirt · Categories: Archive 2009

ccphoto via The Situationist blog 

I stumbled upon an interesting read today in the Detroit News on the exclusive deal Bank of America has with Michigan and Michigan State to market credit cards to students, fans and alumni. The article was prompted by the announcement that MSU, whose contact is up in June, will stop providing student info to the bank for the purposes of solicitation.

State’s deal is worth $8.4 million covering a seven year period when it expires later this year. Michigan’s deal is a bit more robust: an 11-year deal worth a guaranteed $25.5 million through 2014. I say guaranteed because there’s a lead fee ($5 for students, $6 for alums) and U-M gets .5% of retail purchases. If these plums are sweeter than that guaranteed figure it goes into Michigan’s coffers.

A few other details of the contacts were revealed:

  • Michigan provides the bank contact info for students, alumni, faculty, staff, season ticket holders and donors.
  • The deal allows BoA to solicit you by mail, phone, “direct promotion” and “the Internet”.
  • The bank also gets eight football and basketball season tickets, along with six autographed basketballs and footballs signed by the coaches.

You probably noticed the disparity in the Spartan ($1.2M/year) deal versus the Michigan ($2.3M/year) contract. Yes, the U-M deal is almost twice the size suggesting a Michigan degree is worth around twice that of one from East Lansing…but bear in mind the MSU deal doesn’t require the signed balls or the tickets.

Part of me wants to rail out at Michigan for selling our collective soul here, but I can’t. As a great man once told me, it’s not the money, it’s the amount. That’s a big check. I’ll spare you the ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’ argument.

True story: I ran up a Discover Card in college and paid it off thanks to a ridiculously hot run on the craps tables in Atlantic City. We can all learn something from that lesson. So the next time a girl outside the Big House offers a free t-shirt for your credit info, ask yourself if it’s worth the 600 mile trip to Atlantic City.

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