Wednesday, August 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022
98° F Dallas, TX

How Learfield Helps Others Capitalize on College Sports

The Plano-based firm arranges multimedia deals, sponsorships, and promotions for companies with colleges.
By Glenda Vosburgh |

As president and CEO of one of the nation’s largest sports-marketing companies, Greg Brown regularly gets to do things that many people would include on their bucket lists. Attending national championship games and spending time with high-profile individuals in collegiate sports is all in a day’s work for Brown, who took the helm of Plano-based Learfield in 2009.

Rebranded from Learfield Sports in 2016, the company arranges multimedia deals, sponsorships, and promotions for businesses with colleges, sports conferences, and arenas. That can include everything from stadium sponsorships, concessions, and radio and TV broadcasting rights to program advertising and signage.

Brown joined Learfield right out of college at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., selling sponsorships for the Iowa State Cyclone Radio Network. The company still has offices in Missouri, where all of its radio broadcast work is handled.

Many of the clients, or “properties,” as Learfield calls them, are long-term partners who have worked with Brown for a number of years. They include Iowa State University, whose director of athletics, Jamie Pollard, says Brown’s leadership should not be defined solely by Learfield’s financial success, but “by his commitment to ensuring the company has never wavered from its core values, despite its tremendous growth. That is the No. 1 reason I have maintained my relationship with Learfield for nearly 25 years.”

Under Brown’s leadership, Learfield launched a strategic plan in 2011 focusing on five areas: multimedia rights, acquisitions, national sales efforts, digital expansion, and employee development. Everything the company has done since then, Brown says, has been in support of the plan—including more than a dozen strategic acquisitions. Recent buys include SME, a New York-based agency specializing in building brands, and GoVision, an Argyle, Texas-based company that provides modular LED video technology to many of the country’s major sports, concerts, and racing events.

Owned since 2013 by Providence Equity Partners—a Rhode Island-based private equity firm—Learfield has grown over the last three years from 375 employees to 1,250, and from 50 multimedia rights agreements to 120. The company serves 1,200 individual schools; the eight in Texas include UT Arlington, Southern Methodist University, and Texas A&M. Among its local, regional, and national corporate partners are Allstate, Nissan, and Delta Air Lines.

Although Learfield does not disclose revenue figures, industry sources pegged the company’s 2014 sales at $300 million, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Brown, who travels three days a week for work, says he spends time with his wife and teenage daughter and son at every opportunity. “I’m constantly trying to find ways to create some margin in our lives, so you can be more grounded and thoughtful,” he says. “You can’t do everything, so you have to trust your people to do their jobs and allow them to also create margins.”

Related Articles


Dallas Stars Have Two Players On Forbes ’30 Under 30: Sports’

Both Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn turn up on this new list from Forbes of the (I guess it should be the) young superstars from the world of sport. Dallas' own Jordan Spieth also makes an appearance. The Stars are atop the NHL standings after the first half of the season, so I guess I am going to [grits teeth] maybe have to start paying attention to hockey soon.

Mavs’ Fallback Plan: Zaza Pachulia

After DeAndre Jordan's epic pump fake, the Mavs have acquired veteran center Zaza Pachulia from Milwaukee. He's on an expiring contract, so that doesn't impact their situation going forward, and he is serviceable. One thing: if Hotel Zaza does not figure out some sort of promotion involving him, someone over there should be fired. (Also, apparently the ghost of Deron Williams is looking to stop haunting Brooklyn and move back home-ish. Hey, sure, why not.)

Jim Knox Does It Again

Whether the Rangers are good or bad, you can always depend on reporter Jim Knox to deliver. His interview with two (WINK) enthusiastic Irish fellas taking in their first baseball game definitely qualifies. Thank you Knoxie, thank you Killian and Shane, and thank you Deadspin.