The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

August 24, 2013

IMG says WVRC has no right to stop contract

Court hearing set for Monday in Mon County

MORGANTOWN — IMG College and its subcontractor say West Virginia Radio Corp. has no legal standing to try to stop them from finalizing a new contract for coverage of some West Virginia University sports events.

Media outlets reported Friday that North Carolina-based IMG and West Virginia Media Holdings responded to the radio network’s lawsuit ahead of a hearing Monday before Judge Thomas Evans in Monongalia County Circuit Court.

They say the radio network didn’t bid during the second round, so it has no right to intervene now.

West Virginia Radio also wants the contract rebid for a third time and has asked the court to disbar both IMG and West Virginia Media from that process.   

WVU had to rebid the work after the attorney general found significant errors and sloppiness in how the first deal was crafted. IMG won the second round last month. The new contract guarantees WVU at least $86.5 million in revenue over 12 years.

West Virginia Radio argues that WVU tailored its second request for proposals so carefully that only IMG and West Virginia Media could meet the requirements. WVU has declined to discuss the litigation.

WVU’s broadcasts were handled for decades by university-operated Mountaineer Sports Network, which worked closely with West Virginia Radio.

While the radio network is trying to salvage future business, IMG argues it would be hurt by any attempt to stop the contract because it’s invested more than $1 million to be ready for the upcoming football season.

Senior vice president Joe Potter also says that since IMG entered into its contract with WVU last month, it has signed 70 new sponsorship and advertising agreements totaling $2.5 million for the coming season.

Potter said those agreements would be invalidated by an injunction.

The Mountaineers open at home Aug. 31 against William & Mary.

West Virginia Media President Bray Cary says an injunction would also hurt the public, potentially affecting everything from publications to parking.

“The public should not be the victim of the deeply flawed and vengeful lawsuit,” the company says. “WV Media surely needs not educate this court as to the significance of access to WVU football games to the people of the Mountain State.”

IMG also says it tried to work with West Virginia Radio, but the company stopped responding and talks broke down in late July.

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