Jim Host Named NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award Recipient

June 11, 2014

Jim Host Named NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award Recipient

Sports marketing pioneer will be recognized at the 57th NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City.

IRVING, Texas – The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today that sports marketing pioneer Jim Host has been named the recipient of the 2014 NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award.

“Jim Host created a lasting legacy as a sports marketing innovator, and his creative genius will continue for many years as the bedrock of multimedia rights in college athletics,” said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. “From humble beginnings, Jim built Host Communications, essentially launching the practice of marketing in college athletics. His efforts have resulted in millions of dollars for colleges and universities nationwide, and those numbers only continue to grow. It is a great privilege to recognize him and his contributions to the collegiate landscape.”

Jim Host

“Congratulations to Jim for this well-deserved honor. Jim was the pioneer of collegiate sports marketing.  His innovations have made a huge impact on everyone associated with college athletics – fans, student-athletes, schools, sponsors and the NCAA.  The effect of his accomplishments are strong today and his legacy will be felt for years to come. We’re proud of Jim as a UK alumnus and Wildcat student-athlete.”

– AD Mitch Barnhart

First presented in 1974, the NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award provides national recognition to those whose efforts to support the NFF and its goals have been local in nature or who have made significant contributions to the game of football either to the manner in which it is played and coached or to the manner in which it is enjoyed by spectators. Host becomes the 38th recipient of the award.

Born in Ashland, Ky., Host received a baseball scholarship to the University of Kentucky, where he generated his passion for college athletics. After running for lieutenant governor in 1971 and with only $107 to his name, he opened Jim Host & Associates, a one-man operation above a barbershop in Lexington, Ky.

Host eventually picked up the exclusive rights for UK radio in the 1970s, and he grew the network into one of the largest in the country with 117 stations carrying games across most of the eastern United States. He changed the company’s name to Host Communications, and he began printing programs for Kentucky football and basketball games, selling advertising across both the programs and the radio broadcasts.

Host began a long-standing business relationship with the NCAA in 1975, handling all its radio, publishing and corporate sports marketing for more than 25 years. He is personally credited with implementing the first collegiate corporate sponsorship program with the NCAA in 1983, and was instrumental in the founding of NCAA Football USA, Inc. in 1998, which served as the collective promotional and marketing arm of college football.

In 1989, Host established the multimedia rights model at the University of Kentucky that currently generates millions annually for universities across the country. He initiated his “full-meal deal,” which bundled local TV, radio, publishing, sponsorship, signage and endorsements into one rights package, and the practice soon spread to more than 20 schools across the country. The innovation allowed Host Communications’ annual revenue to exceed more than $140 million.

After dominating the sports marketing landscape for decades, Host retired in 2003. In 2007, IMG bought Host Communications, combining it with the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) and rebranding it as part of IMG College. ISP Sports subsequently joined IMG College, and the company currently serves more than 200 universities, conferences, bowls and collegiate associations as the nation’s leading collegiate sports marketing company.

Since his retirement from the company, Host served as Secretary of Commerce for the Commonwealth of Kentucky for two years, and he has served as chairman of various organizations, including the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement, iHigh.com and the Louisville Arena Authority.

He currently serves as chairman of Volar Video, which delivers customized video solutions across television, computer and mobile platforms. Volar produced the live webcasts of both the NFF 56th Annual Awards Dinner and the NFF’s announcement of the 2014 College Football Hall of Fame Class.

Host will be honored at the 57th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 9 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. He will accept his award alongside the recipients of the other NFF Major Awards, including including Frank Beckmann (the recipient of the Chris Schenkel Award for excellence in broadcasting), Duke Athletics Director Kevin White (the recipient of the John L. Toner Award for excellence in athletics administration) and the yet-to-be-announced recipients of the NFF Gold Medal and the NFF Distinguished American Award.

In addition to the presentation of the NFF Major Awards, the 57th NFF Annual Awards Dinner will provide the stage for the induction of the 2014 College Football Hall of Fame Class; the presentation of the 2014 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments; and the bestowing of the 25th NFF William V. Campbell Trophy to the nation’s top scholar-athlete.

This year’s College Football Hall of Fame Class includes: Dre Bly (North Carolina), Tony Boselli (Southern California), Dave Butz (Purdue), Shane Conlan (Penn State), Joe Hamilton (Georgia Tech), John Huard (Maine) Darrin Nelson (Stanford), Willie Roaf (Louisiana Tech), John Sciarra (UCLA), Sterling Sharpe (South Carolina), Leonard Smith (McNeese State), Derrick Thomas (Alabama), LaDainian Tomlinson (TCU), Wesley Walls (Mississippi) and coaches Mike Bellotti (Chico State [Calif.], Oregon) and Jerry Moore (North Texas, Texas Tech and Appalachian State). The 2014 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments, will be announced Oct. 30, and the winner of the Campbell Trophy will be announced live at the event on Dec. 9.

For ticket information regarding the 57th NFF Annual Awards Dinner, please contact NFF Director of External Relations Will Rudd at 972.556.1000 or wrudd@footballfoundation.com.

Recipients of the NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award include:

2014 – Jim Host
2013 – Dennie Poppe
2012 – No honoree
2011 – Verne Lundquist, Brent Musburger
2010 – Dr. Joseph Kearney
2009 – Dan Jenkins
2008 – Bill Battle
2007 – The Collegiate Bowl Games
2006 – ESPN's College GameDay
2005 – Prentice Gautt
2004 – Rick Dickson, Pat Harmon
2003 – Rudy J. Riska
2002 – Dal Shealy
2001 – Thomas C. Hansen
2000 – Tom Nugent
1999 – Chuck Neinas
1998 – Marino H. Casem
1997 – Jack Lengyel
1996 – Robert M. "Scotty" Whitelaw
1995 – Fred Jacoby
1994 – Mike Cleary
1993 – John E. "Buddy" Leake
1992 – Eddie Robinson
1991 – Don B. Canham
1990 – Bill Nicholas
1989 – Bob Woodruff
1988 – Lindsey Nelson
1987 – Chris Schenkel
1986 – Rex Farrior
1985 – A.F. "Bud" Dudley
1984 – No honoree
1983 – Gov. William Winter
1982 – Earnest E. Seiler
1981 – Edward "Moose" Krause
1980 – Field Scovell
1979 – No honoree
1978 – Jack Farcasin
1977 – No honoree
1976 – No honoree
1975 – Joseph J. Tomlin
1974 – Lathrop King Leishman