CBS Sports sporting program tie-in wing

NEW YORK — CBS Sports has formed a new unit to tap expanding advertiser interest in program tie-ins.

CBS Sports Properties will be headed by Keith Ritter, newly hired as senior VP of marketing for the Eye web’s sports division after 20 years at ABC Sports, most recently as VP of marketing.

The unit will create sponsorship packages for advertisers to extend simple broadcast buys on CBS events into multimedia, promotions and other areas, CBS sales president Joe Abruzzese said. “It’s designed to add more value rather than just selling media,” he added. The new division also will create owned programming concepts for which title sponsorships can be sold, and will offer merchandising programs for selected events.

Ritter, who reports to CBS Sports prexy Sean McManus, did much the same job at ABC, where he oversaw marketing efforts behind the Triple Crown horse racing events, college football championships and the U.S. Figure Skating Assn. NBC has its own 6-year-old Sports Ventures unit that has created similar partnerships with event sponsors, as do major leagues including the NFL and NBA.

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