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.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
It’s happening again.
It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.
County honors men who gave all in helping their community
The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.
State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less
The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
Let’s not do that again.
Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past
Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.
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- Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives