On August 23, it was announced that Cricket Wireless would become the official sponsor of the Southwestern Athletic Conference for football and basketball. According to SWAC’s official website, Cricket Wireless will become the exclusive wireless sponsor for the conference through the 2019-2020 football and basketball season.
Cricket Wireless prides itself on being a cell phone provider that gives it customers reliable 4G LTE service to over 99 percent of Americans. The wireless plans are easy to understand and does not require a contract, giving customers, flexibility and simplicity with their wireless plan. The cell phone company is currently headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and serves over 10 million customers nationwide.
As reported by the companies official website, Cricket Wireless opened its doors for business on March 17, 1999, in Chattanooga Tennessee. The company started with humble beginnings, initially only having one cell phone and one plan for its customers. However, since its genesis the company has gradually expanded to one of the most recognizable cell phone carriers in the United States.
When asked about the benefits of having Cricket Wireless as an official partner of the conference, senior history major Justin Jackson stated that, “The partnership is a great opportunity for the SWAC as it creates opportunities for future partnerships and helps provide a larger market for HBCUs in sports.”
The new partnership is the first time that the conference has partnered with a major cell phone company. According to the SWAC’s official website, conference commissioner Dr. Charles McClelland, stated his “ I’m excited about the new partnership [with Cricket Wireless]. Cricket is no stranger to the SWAC office, having been an integral part of the HBCU culture and landscape over the years with their valued support of many of our member institutions.”
Through this partnership Cricket wireless will be allowed to conduct activations and giveaways at athletic affiliated events throughout the conference. They will also be allowed to give away tickets to SWAC events at their retail locations.
When asked about the opportunities the new partnership could present, sophomore criminal justice major Cody Russell stated, “I feel like the partnership with Cricket Wireless is good for the SWAC because it’s another way for HBCUs to have a sponsor as well as get more positive attention”.
Looking towards the future, some students believe the partnership with the SWAC can yield not only positive aspects in the athletic field, but eventually benefits to academics and culture at historically black institutions.
“The sponsorship with Cricket is a great thing. I would just hope that some money will be put back into the SWAC. I also feel with Cricket representing HBCUs now, that they show what we have in our culture and what they can foster. As well maybe give grants to HBCUs that could possibly go towards technology, and engineering programs,” said sophomore history major James Nettles.
The partnership between SWAC schools and Cricket Wireless, will be beneficial to all parties involved and hopefully lead to other partnerships in the future.