Regions Financial (RF) is hoping its partnership with a new college football museum scores big.

The Birmingham, Ala., company will sponsor the College Football Hall of Fame, which is set to open in fall 2014 in downtown Atlanta after moving from South Bend, Ind.

Regions, which has $119 billion of assets, will have the opportunity to sponsor an exhibit, place automated teller machines at the facility and run promotions and sweepstakes, says Paul Hodges, head of Regions sponsorships. It has not disclosed the cost of its sponsorship.

Regions is a veteran player when it comes to gridiron sponsorship. It has supported the Southeastern Conference for 20 years and works with 10 of the 14 SEC colleges. The company has found those relationships to be "attractive from a demographic standpoint," and they have taught Regions how to successfully run and market these partnerships, Hodges says.

"We have a track record of running successful programs around college football, and this was a great extension of that," Hodges says.

Atlanta is a priority market for Regions, and the College Football Hall of Fame will likely draw many visitors - organizers expect roughly half a million per year, Hodges says. It will be located near other Atlanta tourist attractions such as the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola.

Additionally, Regions will develop a financial literacy program with the College Football Hall of Fame for middle school and high school students. Planning has only begun for the initiative but Regions is likely to take a lead role in developing content while the museum will help draw in the target audience, Hodges says.

Regions is frequently approached about potential sponsorships, so to narrow the field the company uses a third-party agency to calculate the return it will get from a deal, Hodges says. The return on investment has to be greater than 1 to 1, taking into consideration only tangible benefits like advertising, he adds. If the partnership also allows for intangible elements like client development, that is seen as a bonus.

"We look for opportunities that add value to the communities we serve," Hodges says. "That may come through a better quality of life by providing an event that people in a particular community could attend, or there may be an economic impact."

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