SBJ/August 6 - 12, 2001/This Weeks Issue

Infinity signs eight-year deal with Maryland

Infinity Sports Marketing, a subsidiary of Viacom, completed an eight-year, $16 million deal with the University of Maryland to become the multimedia marketing rights holder for Maryland athletics.

The deal, completed late last month, will give Infinity the rights to develop and sell sponsorship packages for the department's sports; produce and market Terrapins radio broadcasts and radio and television coaches shows; sell 12 suites in the soon-to-be-completed Comcast Center; and sell inventory in print publications and on the Terps' Web site.

"We think there is a lot of opportunity [at Maryland] and it's a property that has yet to be fully maximized," said Doug Paschal, general manager for Infinity. The Maryland account fits with Infinity's marketing relationship with University of Virginia athletics, a Maryland ACC rival, Paschal said.

Paschal noted that while Infinity's deal is effective immediately, the company's rights in its first year will be limited because Maryland's contracts with Learfield Communications and Host Communications for radio and printing rights, respectively, don't expire until July 1.

As a result of the limited marketing rights, Infinity will be in a revenue-share agreement with Maryland for fiscal 2002. Beginning in fiscal 2003, however, the company will pay the department annual rights fees. In addition, the deal includes a revenue-share component in which Infinity and Maryland will split revenue beyond a certain level.

In the last fiscal year Maryland had about $1.5 million in corporate marketing revenue, said Rob Mullens, senior associate AD at Maryland. That figure is projected to increase to $2.8 million for fiscal 2003, he said, adding that that figure will include Infinity's rights payment and payments made by Nextel and Pepsi through separate sponsorship arrangements with the department.

Infinity officials plan to hire a staff of five to six employees who will work specifically on the Maryland account.

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