The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

July 12, 2013

WVU, IMG reach Tier 3 rights deal

MORGANTOWN — Despite a battle as intense and venomous as any in the Backyard Brawl, West Virginia University finally put together a deal for its Tier 3 rights with IMG College that will bring it approximately $86 million over the next 12 years.

The deal originally had been bid to IMG College for $110 million but was challenged in court by asphalt and media baron John Raese, forcing a review by the state’s attorney general Patrick Morrisey.

Raese’s West Virginia Radio Corp., which had a longtime arrangement with the university to run its statewide radio network including pre- and post-game shows, filed a lawsuit June 19 alleging director of athletics Oliver Luck, WVU Board of Governors chairman Drew Payne and West Virginia Media Holdings Chairman Bray Cary had colluded to rig the bidding.

The suit named 10 defendants in all, including WVU President Jim Clements, and while Morrisey did not agree that collusion had occurred, he ordered the bidding process be redone.

Clements appointed a new committee, without Luck, who with Cary had become the central figures in the controversy after Luck shared confidential bid information with Payne, who sat on the board of West Virgina Media Holdings, which had partnered with IMG.

The Raese suit remains active despite the announcement of a new deal, and the school expects it will have to defend it as Raese is not likely to drop it.

Luck hailed the new agreement with IMG College, the largest media broker in the nation, as a triumph for the school.

“It was time for WVU Athletics to grow our multimedia and sponsorship sales, especially with our recent move to the Big 12 Conference,” Luck said in a release. “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.”

On the surface the latest deal seemed to be disappointing, for the original contract gave WVU $110 million over 12 rather than the $86 million that comes in this package.

Luck, however, says that is deceiving.

“Beyond the guaranteed money, we kept a couple of things that I would call lucrative items,” Luck revealed. “We keep the (advertising sponsorship) deal with United Bank and with WVU Health Care. That money comes straight to us.”

Luck estimates that while $86 million over 12 years averages out to just over $7 million a year — WVU was grossing about $6 million a year in Tier 3 revenues before this contract, the additional rights they kept this time that were included in the first deal give the Mountaineers about a $9 to $9.5 million gross per year.

That puts it up near the top of most schools in dealing off its rights.

Luck admits that the delay caused by Raese’s challenge did cut back on some revenue this year as it pushed the completion of the deal into mid-July.

“To be fair we may have sacrificed a million or two because of the timing this year,” he said.

Luck believes that his school benefitted by being late in selling its Tier 3 rights, the Mountaineers being among the last major schools in the nation and the final one in the Big 12.

“I think we benefitted from being the last because we saw what others did,” Luck said.

This will change many things in the marketing of the Mountaineers as it now will be handled by IMG College rather than in-house.

“I think IMG will bring some new ideas to us and that’s important because no one wants to get stale and do the same old things over and over,” Luck said.

The radio network, which has been one of the Mountaineers strongest assets, now changes hands, and no one knows what to expect.

“It’s IMG’s responsibility,” Luck said. “We will work with them. I’m sure they’ll sit down with (Raese’s) Radio Corp. I told them, even though they are suing us, they still have good radio stations across the state. I’m sure one of the first things they’ll do is sit down with them.”

Luck said he expects to take the high road in this and work with them when necessary.

There has been questions about the future of Tony Caridi, who took over from Jack Fleming as the Voice of the Mountaineers.

“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.

WVU will have approval rights over who is named to the play-by-play job in football and basketball.

No decisions have been reached on pre- or post-game shows or on Hoppy Kercheval, Fred Persinger, Kyle Wiggs, Greg Hunter and Jeff Jenkins on football or Jay Jacobs on basketball.

WVU joins several other Big 12 schools which have partnerships with IMG College, including Baylor, Kansas, TCU and Texas. IMG currently represents more than 90 universities nationwide as well as the NCAA and its 88 championships.

Under the contract, IMG will identify a dedicated team to be based in Morgantown.

IMG College describes itself as “the nation’s leading collegiate multimedia, marketing and licensing/brand management company, representing more than 200 of the nation’s top collegiate properties, including the NCAA and its 89 championships, NCAA football, leading conferences and many of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country.

“Headquartered in Winston Salem, N.C., IMG College connects brands with the largest and most demographically attractive fan base in sports through partnership opportunities in multimedia rights, sponsorship sales, licensing, marketing, ticketing, seating, fundraising, premium events and hospitality, stadium and arena development, and consulting.

“IMG College produces nearly 31,000 hours of radio programming on the largest sports network in the country, manages nearly 5,000 hours of local television programming, is the leading publisher of college sports publications and is the largest manager of university athletic websites.”

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Luck open to WVU fans’ suggestions

    West Virginia’s fans have spoken, perhaps not verbally but nonetheless have had their voices heard, over the past few years as attendance has fallen at the Mountaineers’ football and basketball games.

    April 22, 2014

  • WVU athletic department to form Fan Experience Committee

    The West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is forming a fan experience committee to discuss the needs of Mountaineer fans with the hopes of enhancing the fan experience at its events.

    April 22, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Popovich, now 73, wishes he were playing baseball today

    If you’re a long-time baseball fan, you may recall Morgantown’s Paul Popovich.

    April 22, 2014

  • Mountaineers ready for slate of rivalry games

    Looking to put together a late-season run to get into the NCAA championships, West Virginia faces a pair of midweek rivalry games in a crucial five-game week coming off winning two of three games at Oklahoma.

    April 22, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Summer, Alabama will be used to get WVU’s mind right

    The ink had barely dried on the final reports out of West Virginia’s spring practice when thoughts turned forward toward the lazy, hazy days of late summer, days that will bring us into football season with a game that can either change the entire image of WVU football or sour it even further.

    April 21, 2014

  • Arrest warrant out for WVU recruit

    West Virginia University’s newest men’s basketball recruit, Tarik Phillip, has an order out for his arrest in North Carolina, according to a story in The Dominion-Post, which said three Gaston County Magistrate office spokespersons confirmed.

    April 20, 2014

  • WVU baseball powers past Oklahoma, 9-5

    The WVU baseball team tied a season high with 18 hits to defeat Oklahoma, 9-5, on Saturday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The win gives the Mountaineers their second Big 12 series win of the season and improves the overall record to 19-16 and 4-7 in conference play. Oklahoma drops to 25-16 overall and 5-7 in Big 12 play.

    April 20, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma

    Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos