Southwest Airlines enters five-year sponsorship contract with Texas Exes, UT Athletics

Hannah Jane DeCiutiis

As a result of the new partnership between Texas Sports, UT’s alumni association Texas Exes and Southwest Airlines, the gold lines and red heart that make up the Southwest Airlines logo will have a reserved space on the UT campus for the next five years, most notably at UT football games.

The Dallas-based airline released a statement Monday saying it will sponsor all 20 official UT sports teams and the Texas Exes in a five-year contract beginning fall 2012. The airline, whose CEO Gary Kelly is a UT alumnus, will have a presence at home football games and promotional events throughout the year. It will also be the primary sponsor of the first home football game every year.

Texas Exes spokesman Tim Taliaferro said it has not yet been determined how the money from the sponsorship will be spent.

“I don’t know that we’ve determined what it will go to exactly,” Taliaferro said. “The money isn’t earmarked for any specific need. Texas Exes is delighted to be partnering with the UT athletics program’s and Southwest Airlines’ deal, and we feel it is going to be valuable to our members.”

Taliaferro said the partnership between UT Athletics and Texas Exes is due in part to the efforts of Texas Exes CEO and executive director Leslie Cedar.

“One of Leslie’s real priorities is to improve partnerships on campus, and she has worked at building relationships with other parts of campus like athletics,” Taliaferro said. “I think somewhere in that discussion it became clear that we should all be working together to identify possible sponsors.”