OPC contracts with marketing firm

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, May 12, 2016

Memphis Grizzlies studio host Gary Darby soon will be marketing the Oxford Park Commission, selling sponsorships and naming rights to just about anything OPC does.

Whether it’s sponsoring a T-ball team or a new activity center, Darby will be working with local businesses in Oxford to sell sponsorships, naming rights, banners and whatever else they can put a name on. And it won’t cost OPC a dime. The OPC board of directors approved the contract with Darby Wednesday during its regular meeting. Darby will be working as a freelancer and will be paid on commission only.

“He’ll earn 20 percent of whatever he sells,” said Seth Gaines, OPC director. “There’s incentives built in where the more he sells, the more he earns.”

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Gaines said OPC will sell sponsorships of all of its teams and programs, including Leisure Lifestyles, which has been working recently to raise enough money for the program to pay for itself so members don’t have to pay to participate in the activities.

“We have such a great product,” Gaines said of OPC. “We want to raise more name recognition and the businesses here can help get our word out. It’s a way to get more money into the program so we can provide more activities to our citizens without having to raise the costs of our programs.”

Gaines said this was something he’s wanted to do for a while but has been waiting for the “right person.”

“Gary is knowledgeable about Oxford and people know him here,” he said.

Darby has worked with the University of Mississippi for many years in different capacities, including being the voice for the Rebels women’s basketball team.

He’s been the color analyst for Ole Miss men’s basketball teams and has worked with the Rebel baseball team. He served as the pregame and halftime host for Rebel football games in previous years.

Before moving to Southaven, he also helped coach activities at OPC, according to Gaines.