Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) passes during the regular season home game against the Baltimore Ravens at Allegiant Stadium, September 13, 2021, in Henderson, Nev. The Las Vegas Raiders won 33-27. Image via Las Vegas Raiders
Written by Edward Smith
A venture from the Central Valley’s favorite football-playing brothers hopes to connect the worlds of business and sports.
CMP Enterprises, Inc. is the brainchild of Derek and David Carr, who are very active in the company on their offseason — playing for Derek and announcing for David. The Nevada-based company serves as marketing consultant, media producer and advertising matchmaker.
News of CMP’s first deal made local headlines when Fresno State announced it had sold the naming rights for Bulldog Stadium to Valley Children’s Hospital in a 10-year agreement worth $10 million.
In 2018, before CMP was formally organized, the Carr brothers used their relationship with both organizations to begin negotiating a deal between the hospital and the college, according to H Koal, one of the four founding partners of CMP Enterprises.
Derek Carr has long been a spokesman for Valley Children’s Healthcare. Surgeons there saved his son Dallas’ life when he was born with complications. Since then, Derek has done numerous commercials and promotions for the health care system.
“Derek and I recognize the value and importance of Valley Children’s Healthcare and Fresno State University. Both represent the best of the Central Valley. This partnership will create many wonderful opportunities for all Central Valley residents,” David said.
Additionally, both he and older brother David played for Fresno State. So, the duo initiated the conversation between the college and the hospital, resulting in the sponsorship, Koal said.
“As David and I looked at numerous possibilities, it was so very clear to us that a relationship between Fresno State University and Valley Children’s made sense and in fact, it was clearly the perfect fit,” Derek said.
After two years of negotiations, it began to look like the deal was going to go through. And realizing how passionate they were about athletics, business and education, the brothers decided to form CMP, Inc. along with Koal and Business Manager Carla Cossy.
The business has three divisions — marketing consultation for businesses looking to get into the sports world, documentary production and helping colleges find alternative sources of revenue from the business world.
Derek focuses solely on football during the season, leaving CMP largely to Koal and Cossy as David also works as an announcer for the National Football League.
A documentary following “an issue in the sports world” is currently in production, said Koal, though they can’t disclose the specific topic. Movie production was something new to the four of them, but now that they’re eight months into it, they’ve learned a lot. The project has taken filming crews to locations including Chicago, Miami and New York. The hope is to air — possibly via streaming services — by 2022’s football season.
They are already in discussion with another nationally recognized college to secure naming rights to a stadium, said Koal, though they cannot disclose who that client is. But the focus for the Carr brothers is on colleges that could use their help. They want to focus on universities that don’t have the brand recognition of Alabama State University or Ohio State.
Even though the work to sell naming rights to Bulldog Stadium began in 2018, the timing could not have been better, considering the hit athletic budgets took during the pandemic.
Because of limited games and severely impacted ticket sales, the absence of in-person footballs games in 2020 cost Fresno State upwards of $10 million in lost revenue, according to Jason Cappadoro, associate athletic director for business operations. The university was able to keep student athlete services such as tutoring, health and nutrition access by cutting back positions such as ticket takers and some internship positions — costs associated with in-person operations. But the department’s two biggest expenses — salaries and scholarships — remained the same, Cappadoro said.
A $3 million loan helped to bridge the budget gap for the college as well as some broadcasting revenue. Scholarships weren’t impacted.
Cappadoro said alternative revenue sources such as naming rights are important, especially in times like these. Money from the naming rights won’t be in the budget until 2022, but it frees up money. And Fresno State wasn’t alone in facing budget shortfalls.
“That search for continuing revenue and finding new revenue is ever-going,” said Cappadoro.
Cossy, CMP partner, said marketing during the pandemic has its challenges because of how Covid-19 has affected every facet of business.
“The hard part is dealing with the uncertainty, where what activities can be activated and what’s allowable and what’s not,” Cossy said.
Cossy and Koal work with some Minor League Baseball teams that had to cancel games due to Covid infections. Sponsors might not get the branding exposure they paid for, raising cause for concern for marketers trying to facilitate deals. While most people have been understanding about the impact of the pandemic, Cossy said, marketers have used tools to maintain that same exposure through social media.
“It goes beyond a fan merely getting exposed to that branding in person,” Cossy said.
Koal says the Carr brothers want to bring their understanding of the sports world to the business world, whether it is businesses connecting with student athletes or businesses connecting to professional athletes or even institutions.
“They have a passion for athletics,” said Koal. “It’s something that appealed to them on a personal and a business level.”