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All Middle School Sports Saved With Donation And Hendrick Sponsorship

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All middle school sports are now a go at CMS this year. Leftover money from last year brought back some sports, but now all sports are saved. The rest of the money came from a $60,000 anonymous donation and a major sponsorship deal. Hendrick Automotive Group is now the official sponsor of CMS athletics. The company owns a string of car dealerships. For $250,000 Hendrick will get its name announced during breaks and at the end of high school games as a title sponsor. The company will also get signs at middle and high school sporting events. "It's a good feel type of publicity," says Judith Kaufman. She's the president of Media Power Advertising, a company based in Charlotte. Kaufman says the sponsorship is a good deal for Hendrick. She points out there will be all the grateful parents and kids who connect the Hendrick name with saving middle school sports, but also the rewards of a media blitz this week. "So the PR that he's going to get through radio announcements, TV announcements, and the newspaper is going to be well beyond the $250,000 that he's spending for the schools," says Kaufman. Sports sponsorships are nothing new at CMS. Take Butler's winning football team. A sponsor of the night goes for about $2,000 says Gary Larson, the president of the school's athletic booster club. "So you can have a Butler touchdown powered by Chick-fil-a," says Larson. But a district-wide sports sponsorship is new and Larson applauds the deal with Hendrick. "If they have naming rights to some of the statistics, then CMC or Bank of America might want to come forward and want to sponsor some of the fields and some of the scoreboards and things like that. If they're able to do that, it's a win-win," says Larson. Those CMS middle and high school students who can afford it will still have to pay some participation fees this year. Several middle school sports were saved this year because the district had extra money left over from last year's fees.