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.
Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated
Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.
Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives
A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region
Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.
COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community
There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.
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