Smithville and IU Athletics: Reflecting on 50 years of sponsorship

Fall in Bloomington holds special meaning for IU fans with football games on weekends and basketball season on the horizon. As a strong supporter of IU Athletics, Smithville is proud to be part of cheering on our hometown team.  With teamwork providing the foundation for both our success and that of the IU athletic program, it is no surprise that the partnership has grown stronger over the years.

IU’s bicentennial provides an opportunity to reflect on our shared history.  While IU remains one of the state’s oldest institutions of higher learning, Smithville (founded in 1922) will soon celebrate 100 years and is recognized today as the state’s largest, privately held telecommunications company.

Though the partnership doesn’t go back quite that far, Smithville has supported IU Athletics for more than 50 years. In addition, Smithville owner and CEO, Darby McCarty, has held season tickets for football and men’s basketball for more than 40 years. Avid fans of the home team, the McCarty family has made support for IU Athletics a top priority.

That lasting relationship was strengthened in 2009 when the company signed on as the telecommunications partner of IU Athletics. A first-of-its-kind agreement, this prestigious collaboration has had a profound, positive impact for sports across the board and has led to strong visibility of our brand. This has proved to be a premier way to showcase our business and has helped grow our customer base, while also giving back to the university.

Over the years, Smithville’s contributions have helped fund student athletes’ scholarships and critical facility projects like the communication infrastructure of Cook Hall, the state-of-the-art headquarters for Indiana men’s and women’s basketball. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing Smithville makes an enormous, lasting difference in the lives of students who compete for IU Athletics.

IU’s approach has connected us with fans, students, and alumni in an engaging and meaningful way all while enjoying the sports for which we deeply care. The durable relationship that we have developed with the IU community is one built on mutual appreciation. Whenever we are at events, staff makes sure that our presence is felt. It gives us a sense of great pride when we attend an event and hear the announcer acknowledge that “today’s game is brought to you by Smithville” or to see our name in a game day program or on the scoreboard.

For Smithville, and especially Darby McCarty, the IU Women’s Basketball Team holds a special place in our hearts. When that group of women took home the 2018 Women’s NIT Championship, we couldn’t have been prouder. Hanging that banner with the Smithville logo displayed prominently around Assembly Hall made it even better.

With Hoosier Hysteria on the horizon, we are excited about the potential that this year may bring for IU Athletics. At events like this, or football’s Cream & Crimson Game, which we also sponsor, we are reminded of our own focus on the goals and exciting challenges ahead for Smithville in the next year. In all of these endeavors, teamwork remains a foundation for building success. Together, our teams are making a difference. As a part of the IU family, Smithville is honored to invest in the future of Hoosier athletes and to help shape IU Athletics as both parties emerge as winners.

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