By Molly Dunn
Assistant City Editor
Baylor Athletics introduces the Baylor Bear Energy program with Champion Energy Services and Branded Retail Energy in an effort to help fans in Texas deregulated electric zones contribute to athletic program funding.
“This program is going to allow consumers, businesses and the Waco community to have a very reliable source of energy and at the same time support Baylor athletics and the university through this program,” Baylor Athletics Director Ian McCaw said in a press conference after the program’s June 28 launch.
Baylor Bear Energy will make this contribution in honor of each customer. Elizabeth Chandler, vice president of marketing and communications for Baylor Bear Energy, said the program takes marketing dollars to give back to Baylor Athletics.
“We make a flat dollar contribution for residential customers each month and take 50 percent of our margin from commercial customers to contribute to the university,” Chandler said.
Jason Helms, president and CEO for Branded Retail Energy, said in a June press conference that residents, companies and students can sign up for Baylor Bear Energy.
“In this inaugural year, Baylor Bear Energy has committed $100,000 to the university and its athletic program,” Helms said.
“With the support we anticipate from passionate alumni and fans, we are expecting to provide more than half a million dollars to the university over the course of the next few years.”
Chandler said that 75 percent of Texans have the ability to choose their electricity providers. Those who choose Baylor Bear Energy may select from several electricity plans using 100 percent renewable energy.
Baylor Bear Energy promises customers that they will not increase rates in order to fulfill their contribution promises to Baylor, according to the program’s website.
Contributions given through the program do not rely on the amount of energy used by each customer. In fact, customers are encouraged to conserve energy.
“We encourage all of our customers to be good stewards of electricity,” Chandler said. “Everybody then feels like they are making a contribution.”
Doug McNamee, general manager for the Baylor IMG College, which focuses on sports media and marketing, said the program functions more on a per-account basis than a per-energy usage to determine the amount of money contributed to Baylor athletics.
“It’s a great partnership with athletics,” McNamee said. “We are fortunate that we have it and that it is off to a great start.”
According to Chandler, the support from businesses and residents is about equal and students who pay their rent through Bear Bills will use Baylor Bear Energy as the exclusive energy provider.
Those who use Baylor Bear Energy will also have the opportunity to receive promotional prizes such as tickets to home games, special deals on athletic gear and more.
The program hopes to promote itself through contests and drawings for tickets and other merchandise for those who are not using Baylor Bear Energy as their electricity provider, Chandler said.