SBJ/June 19 - 25, 2000/Other News

ESPN Regional lands another university with UNLV deal

The University of Nevada-Las Vegas signed a five-year multimedia rights deal with ESPN Regional Television.

Under terms of the deal, ESPN Regional retains UNLV's marketing rights in areas including television, radio, print and the Internet. The company will staff three full-time employees in Las Vegas to manage the account.

Before extending its marketing rights to ESPN Regional, UNLV outsourced its basketball and football rights to the Thomas & Mack Center and kept its Olympic sports marketing in-house.

Thomas & Mack Center officials, however, decided that they would get out of the marketing business this year, so the athletic department took the next logical step and outsourced its rights to ESPN Regional, said Jerry Koloskie, senior associate athletic director at UNLV.

"We're trying to take our revenue sports and our other sports to another level and this deal will help achieve that," he said. "The ESPN name alone will open windows of opportunities that we would not have been able to get by marketing in-house or through Thomas & Mack," he said.

ESPN Regional is the largest syndicator of college sports programming. The company annually produces 500 college basketball games and more than 70 college football games. The company started a university properties division to market college programs in 1996.

The UNLV deal puts ESPN Regional on target with its five-year strategic plan to add at least one college property a year, said Chuck Gerber, executive vice president at ESPN Regional. Earlier this year the company signed a similar deal with the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Its other university marketing properties include Texas Christian University and the universities of Kansas, Oregon and South Florida.

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