Game On, As CUs Around Country Align Selves With College, Pro Sports

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TUCSON, Ariz.-Credit unions are aligning themselves with university athletic programs and professional sports teams across the country.

• The $500-million Hughes FCU has signed University of Arizona Head Basketball Coach Sean Miller as part of its sponsorship of UA Athletics. Miller will act as spokesperson on behalf of HFCU, including appearing in TV ads and other media.

In addition to its sponsorship of UA Athletics, the credit union also partners with the UA Family Finance Day, UA Credit-Wise Cats, UA Take Charge America Institute for Consumer Financial Education and Research, and the United Way of Tucson's Financial Stability Partnership and Financial Education Collaborative of Southern Arizona.

Meanwhile, University of Arizona football coach Mike Stoops is spokesperson for a rival credit union. Vantage West CU has been using Stoops in billboards, print ads and TV spots.

Meanwhile, in Orem, Utah, Utah Community CU will pay $250,000 a year for each of the next 10 years for naming rights to the events center at Utah Valley University. The facility is home to UVU's basketball teams, as well as concerts and other events.

• In Myrtle Beach, S.C.-based Carolina Trust FCU here will provide the official affinity card to the athletic program at Coastal Carolina University. CCU alumni and Chanticleer fans will be able to apply for a Carolina Trust VISA credit card and choose from three university designs, including the traditional university logo or the Chanticleer Athletics logo. The card, which has a 9.90% APR and no annual fee, also pays travel and merchandise rewards points to cardholders, while returning additional funds to the university.

• In Bethpage, N.Y., Bethpage FCU has renewed its sponsorship deal with professional hockey's New York Islanders, under which the $3-billion credit union will present a number of team community initiatives, including the Islanders Kids Club, the Islanders Community Events (I.C.E.) Tour and Islanders at School Program.

The 2010-11 season will mark the fourth consecutive year the Islanders Kids Club is presented by the credit union and the third year in a row that it will partner with the I.C.E. Tour. Bethpage FCU has sponsored the Islanders at School Program since it was launched in 2009.

The Islanders at School Program is a free program designed to aid New York State Standards and Benchmarks for teachers of grades 3 to 6 in Queens, Brooklyn, Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The New York Islanders I.C.E. Tour is an interactive NHL theme park geared toward the younger fan. It visits local schools, charity events and similar functions throughout the year.

The New York Islanders Kids Club is for fans 14 and younger who are eager to receive New York Islanders information, merchandise, team newsletters, discounts on game tickets and access to special events.

• In San Diego, Mission FCU and the NFL's Chargers are teaming up for the "Mission Fed Chargers Financial Fitness Touchdown Challenge" during the new football season.

Throughout the coming season, for every touchdown the San Diego Chargers score Mission Fed will make a donation for financial literacy to Nativity Prep Academy, an all-scholarship college prep middle school, east of downtown San Diego.

Through this partnership, Mission Fed will be conducting a Touchdown Challenge Essay Contest with the students at Nativity Prep. All students at the school are invited to participate in the contest, where they will be asked to explain the importance of physical and financial fitness in their lives.

On Dec. 7, a player from the San Diego Chargers will make a special visit to Nativity Prep to announce the winning students, and discuss the role of physical and financial fitness, teamwork and personal leadership.

The Financial Fitness Touchdown Challenge is one element of the Marketing/Media partnership Mission FCU and the San Diego Chargers are launching this fall.

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