Many Kentuckians and fans of intercollegiate athletics are familiar with the name Jim Host. As founder and CEO of Host Communications, he was the pioneer in college sports marketing. Host's prevailing innovation in collegiate sports was the concept of bundled licensing, which encouraged corporate partners to become official sponsors of athletic programs across media formats. Host and his team developed the NCAA Radio Network and introduced what became known as the NCAA's Corporate Partner Program, which employed companies such as Gillette, Valvoline, Coca-Cola, and Pizza Hut to promote university athletic programs and the NCAA at large. Host was involved with the construction of Rupp Arena, the Kentucky Horse Park, and the KFC Yum! Center. But few know his full story.
Changing the Game is the first complete account of the entrepreneur's professional life, detailing his achievements in sports radio, management, and broadcasting; his time in minor league baseball, real estate, and the insurance business; and his foray into Kentucky politics, including his appointments under governors Louie B. Nunn and Ernie Fletcher. This memoir provides a behind-the-scenes look at the growth of big-time athletics and offers solutions for current challenges facing college sports.
"Jim Host was a major contributor to the success of the NCAA, especially the growth of the basketball tournament into the phenomenon known as March Madness. This book traces Host's incredible story, which includes creating the NCAA Radio Network, publishing the tournament programs, and implementing the NCAA Corporate Partner Program. His trailblazing efforts forever changed the landscape of college sports marketing." -- Tom Jernstedt, executive vice president of the NCAA
"Jim Host is an American icon whose work ethic, honesty, and leadership brought him unparalleled success. It's hard to imagine any former student athlete who has given back more to the intercollegiate enterprise than Host. This is a must-read for anyone with career aspirations in sports business." -- Bob Vecchione, chief executive officer of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics
"The terms pioneer or paradigm changer could describe Jim Host, but they fall short because he literally created the business of college sports. He developed a national media presence for college athletics, and I use the spelling 'March Madne$$' because his entrepreneurship brought previously unimaginable revenue to college sports. Changing the Game is an excellent testament to his incredible life's work." -- Bill Sutton, founder emeritus of the Vinik Sport Business Program at the University of South Florida
"When Sports Business Journal launched the Champions program to honor pioneers and leaders in the industry, Jim Host was an obvious choice to be in the inaugural class. No business had more to do with the creation and evolution of collegiate sports marketing than Jim's company, Host Communications. He was the father of an industry that helped propel the growth of college sports. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how college sports marketing developed and where the industry is headed in the future." -- Michael Smith, leading college athletics staff writer at Sports Business Journal