The University of Nebraska Board of Regents on Friday approved a 13-year multimedia rights partnership between the Nebraska Athletic Department and IMG College worth $112.5 million ($109 million guaranteed), making it one of the largest contracts of its kind, according to research conducted by the SportsBusiness Journal in 2007.
The University retains rights to several existing corporate partners including University contracts with Pepsi and the Alumni Association affinity card, and Athletic Department agreements with adidas, Gatorade, Wimmer’s, Valentino’s and several other similar trade sponsors. Website management and television and pay-per-view broadcast rights are also retained by the Athletic Department. The total value of retained rights exceeds $2.375 million each year.
When combined with the $30.875 million that the Athletic Department is retaining in sponsorship rights over the 13-year period, the total value for this multimedia package swells to $143.4 million.
Contributing to the overall compensation are annual rights and advance fees, a signing bonus, operating support and more than $1.6 million in electronic signage upgrades for Memorial Stadium. The contract also provides for opportunities for revenue sharing through additional multimedia related sales. The new contract will begin July 2008 and run through 2021 and will include an expansion of rights currently managed by IMG College.
Under the agreement, IMG College’s Husker Sports Network will manage and market all rights associated with radio programming, coaches’ TV and radio shows, program sales, sponsorship inventory and publication printing rights. Local printers currently working with the Athletic Department will continue to be able to bid on all athletic publications under the new terms.
The Husker Sports Network radio affiliates and coverage for its stable of Husker team sports broadcasts (football, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, softball and baseball) will continue or will be increased over the duration of the new contract. All football and men’s basketball games will continue to have full statewide radio broadcast coverage, while women’s basketball and volleyball will have improved coverage with guarantees of broadcasts in Omaha and Lincoln. All current Husker Sports Network on-air talent will remain in place.
One significant element removed from the new IMG College multimedia rights package is alcohol-related advertising for athletic events. The University has removed this element indefinitely in an effort to distance Husker athletics from alcohol advertising.
“We are extremely pleased with the Board’s approval,” said University of Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne. “This contract provides a solid financial base for the athletic department through 2021. In addition to the total revenue of $112.5 million from IMG and the retained sponsorship value of $30.875 million over 13 years, we will also have opportunities to revenue share through multimedia related sales. The average worth of this total package over the 13 years is more than $11 million each year.
“We have enjoyed the media services provided to us by the Husker Sports Radio Network over the past 12 years and this contract provides for even better coverage for our sports, particularly for our women’s basketball and volleyball teams,” Osborne said.
“We are looking forward to a partnership with IMG that will help us reach our full marketing potential. We want all of our current sponsors to know that we will remain very closely involved. We fully intend to maintain the personal connections with each of them that have meant so much to us in the past.”
“We’re honored the University of Nebraska has awarded us this extension and expansion of our partnership,” said Tom Stultz, Senior Vice President and Managing Director for IMG College. “The passion and tradition associated with Nebraska Athletics is unrivaled, and we look forward to developing unique marketing programs to maximize opportunities for Nebraska fans.”
The last multimedia rights extension was granted in 2003 to Pinnacle Sports Productions, which first obtained Nebraska’s radio rights in 1996. Pinnacle Sports was acquired by Host Communications in 2006. The following year, Host was purchased by IMG.
In addition to representing the University of Nebraska, IMG College also represents the following Big 12 institutions: University of Kansas, Oklahoma State University and the University of Texas.
About Nebraska Athletics
The University of Nebraska Athletic Department supports 23 varsity athletic sports, including 10 for men and a Big 12 leading 13 for women. Including the five national championship titles earned by its historic football program, the Nebraska Athletic Department has claimed a total of 23 national titles. Proud to be fully self-supporting, the Nebraska Athletic Department receives no state funding or student fees and is scheduled to contribute more than $2.5 million annually toward academic programs at UNL. The Athletic Department annually has an economic impact of more than $115 million in the Lincoln area alone. The Huskers are proud to lead the nation in academic All-Americans and claim the highest graduation rate in the Big 12 Conference for those student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility at 94 percent.
About IMG College
IMG College is the leader in developing integrated licensing, marketing and multi-media opportunities for the nation’s top collegiate brands across local, regional, and national platforms. IMG College partners include the NCAA® and its 88 championships, NCAA Football, leading conferences, some of the most prestigious universities and licensing for nearly 200 institutions. IMG College is a division of IMG, the world’s premier sports, entertainment and media company. IMG employs more than 3,000 people in 30 countries. For more information visit www.imgworld.com.