GTE will use new affiliation with the NCAA as platform for national and regional marketing and promotion

IRVING, Texas - Under a new agreement with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), GTE has become an NCAA Corporate Partner and the "Official Telecommunications Consultant" to the NCAA. The agreement includes events such as the Final Four national college basketball championship and 80 other championship events throughout the year. GTE has also formed separate marketing alliances with the Pac 10, Big 10 and Big 12 athletic conferences.

The NCAA sponsorship agreement, including renewal options, would run for at least three years. Other details of the contract were not disclosed.

"This new affiliation with the NCAA fits perfectly into GTE's marketing and corporate sponsorship objectives," said Lew Wilks, president-business markets for GTE Telephone Operations. "Support of education has been the keystone of GTE's community programs for many years. The GTE Foundation annually contributes some $12 million to education, about one-fourth of that in the form of grants matching contributions that GTE employees make to individual schools and universities," Wilks said.

In addition, The GTE Academic All-America program, now in its 12th year, recognizes athletes who have distinguished themselves in the classroom as well as on the playing field.

"The marketing potential of this new agreement with the NCAA is enormous," Wilks said. "The ability to tap into the excitement and outstanding fan loyalty for collegiate sports presents a powerful platform from which GTE can launch marketing campaigns at both the national and regional level. The broad range of NCAA activities throughout the year in both men's and women's athletics offers unique promotional flexibility. And many of GTE's markets are in locations where devotion to college athletic programs is particularly intense."

In addition to the men's and women's Final Four championships, GTE will form alliances with specific football conferences, have strong representation at high-profile NCAA events in football and numerous other sports categories, and also will provide substantial support at the "grass roots" level of individual colleges and universities.

"Our organization is delighted to welcome GTE as its newest Corporate Partner," said NCAA Executive Director Cedric Dempsey. "We selected GTE because of the company's interest in supporting intercollegiate athletics at all levels. Unique among local telephone companies, GTE has operations from the east coast to Hawaii. The extent of GTE's service area means that we have many opportunities to build relationships and obtain telecommunications support at the local level throughout each season, as well as for national championship events."

The NCAA is a membership organization of colleges and universities that participate in intercollegiate athletics. The primary purpose of the association is to maintain intercollegiate athletics as an integral part of the educational program and the athlete as an integral part of the student body. Activities in the NCAA membership include formulating rules of play for NCAA sports, conducting national championships, adopting and enforcing standards of eligibility and studying all phases of intercollegiate athletics.

NCAA championships are carried by the CBS Television Network (basketball), as well as ESPN and the PRIME Network. The NCAA Radio Network has over 480 affiliates and reaches the top 100 markets. The Bowl Alliance championship game is broadcast by either ABC or CBS Television.

With revenues of $20 billion in 1995, GTE is one of the largest publicly held telecommunications companies in the world. GTE is also the largest U.S.- based local telephone company and a leading cellular-service provider -- with wireline and wireless operations that form a market area covering about one-third of the country's population.