It was far from a smooth process.
The financial aspects of West Virginia University’s partnership with IMG College for WVU’s Tier 3 media rights in athletics, though, are impressive. The deal, announced Thursday, will bring WVU approximately $86 million over the next 12 years.
The agreement, which includes revenue-sharing opportunities over the length of the partnership, includes management of local game broadcasts and coaches’ shows for radio and television, publications such as media guides and schedules, digital platforms including social media and websites, corporate sponsorships, at-event promotions and game day hospitality, stadium and venue signage including scoreboards and ribbon boards, and advertising in university-owned and leased athletic facilities.
IMG will partner with West Virginia Media Holdings to develop the TV programming, WVU said.
WVU retains some existing sponsorships with corporate entities such as athletic apparel and footwear, health care, financial services and pouring rights.
“It was time for WVU athletics to grow our multimedia and sponsorship sales, especially with our recent move to the Big 12 Conference,” said director of athletics Oliver Luck. “With the resources, services and proven track record that IMG College brings, WVU now has the opportunity to expand its revenue base by engaging new national sponsors while building our athletic and university brand. I’m extremely pleased with this move.”
Luck stressed the guaranteed money is only part of the story.
“Beyond the guaranteed money, we kept a couple of things that I would call lucrative items,” Luck said. “We keep the (advertising sponsorship) deal with United Bank and with WVU Health Care. That money comes straight to us.”
WVU was grossing about $6 million a year in Tier 3 revenues before this contract, Luck now expects about $9 to $9.5 million gross per year.
WVU’s broadcast rights were handled by the university-operated Mountaineer Sports Network, which worked closely with West Virginia Radio Corp., owned by Morgantown businessman John Raese.
The deal had been bid to IMG College for $110 million earlier in the year but was challenged by Raese, forcing a review by the state’s attorney general, Patrick Morrisey.
Morrissey reviewed allegations of misconduct and concluded that WVU Board of Governors members Drew Payne and David Alvarez shouldn’t have participated in reviewing the original proposals.
The attorney general’s office found “significant errors and sloppiness” in how the first deal was bid but “no evidence of intentional wrongdoing.”
Morrisey’s investigation concluded that Luck improperly provided confidential details of the proposed contract with IMG to Payne, whose subsequent comments about the financial terms of the deal were also improper. WVU suspended talks with IMG after reports that both Payne and Alvarez had ties to West Virginia Media.
To rebid the contract, WVU created a new evaluation committee, and appointed a new procurement liaison and an external legal adviser from the attorney general’s office.
West Virginia Radio Corp.’s lawsuit over the media-rights contract is continuing.
While the legal process plays out, the important part for the fans is that IMG builds on the quality of broadcasts they have received over decades.
Many followed WVU through “Voice of the Mountaineers” Jack Fleming, who left the booth for health reasons after the season-opening win at Pitt in 1996. Since then, Tony Caridi has handled the play-by-play.
Pre- and post-game shows and other programming have greatly expanded over the years.
IMG, by contract, will identify a dedicated team to be based in Morgantown.
Caridi — who has never referred to himself as “Voice of the Mountaineers” out of respect for Fleming, who died in January 2001 — hopes to continue as the WVU play-by-play man.
“Oliver and I have spoken about the future. Oliver expressed an interest in my continuing doing the games, and I expressed an interest in doing that. The details have not yet been finalized,” Caridi said.
With less that two months until football is in full swing, there’s plenty of work to do in a short time.
The money is there. Quality must follow.
It was far from a smooth process.
‘Pothole blitz’ badly needed service coming in West Virginia
Hopefully, the heavy snow and extremely cold weather of January, February and early March are in the past.
Remnants of the harsh winter, though, remain. They’re faced each day by the state’s drivers.
Potholes have West Virginia’s roads in their worst condition in years, and the damaging freeze-thaw cycle is not over.
‘The issues are complicated’ with e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes have been around for about seven years.
But you’d be shocked at how long the idea for the the tobacco-less product has been around.
“A primitive, battery-operated ‘smokeless non-tobacco cigarette’ was patented as early as 1963 and described in Popular Mechanics in 1965,” Megan McArdle wrote for Business Week last monty.
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
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