SBD/Issue 204/Sports Media

UF's Deal With Sun Sports Could End Possibility Of SEC Channel

UF Inks Multi-Year Media
Rights Deal With Sun Sports
The Univ. of Florida (UF) and Fox-owned RSN Sun Sports have "signed a media rights deal that is not only one of the most lucrative in the country, but also could end the likelihood of an SEC channel being created any time soon," according to Ourand & Smith of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The deal will pay the UF's marketing arm, the University Athletic Association, "roughly $10[M] a year for the next 10 years." The agreement gives Sun Sports a "bundle of multimedia rights that includes everything from local TV, broadband and radio to on-site signage and corporate partnerships." To help manage UF's property, Sun Sports has "brought in IMG College, created when IMG acquired Collegiate Licensing Co. and Host Communications." The overall value of the deal is "believed to be just less than the 13-year, $112.5[M] agreement that IMG College recently guaranteed" the Univ. of Nebraska for its rights. Industry analysts indicated that the agreement could be a "sign that an SEC channel -- modeled after the Big Ten Network -- is not in the offing." Ourand & Smith note while the deal "would not preclude the SEC from creating a channel, its timing, just weeks before the conference picks its new TV partners, suggests that such a channel is unlikely." Meanwhile, CBS is likely to retain the network rights to SEC programming and ESPN "will retain the cable portion, with ESPNU and ESPN360 also getting rights that were previously reserved for syndication partners" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/14 issue).

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