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

ISP/Learfield steps in to get Clemson TV, radio rights

ISP Sports and Learfield Communications have agreed to take over radio and television rights for Clemson athletics.

ISP and Learfield, which will operate under the name Clemson Tiger Sports Properties, are assuming rights held by Birmingham, Ala.-based Collegiate Sports Partners, whose relationship with the university ended because of a missed payment of $775,000 last month.

The rights agreement will run through June 2005 and guarantees Clemson a minimum annual rights payment of $1.025 million, about $500,000 less than what Collegiate Sports offered in its contract.

As part of the deal, the two companies will receive marketing and distribution rights to radio broadcasts as well as rights to produce, market and distribute coaches' shows for football and men's basketball.

As for the $775,000 that was not paid under the Collegiate Sports contract, Clemson AD Bobby Robinson said that Collegiate Sports officials have told him "that they have every intent" on paying the past-due fee. Collegiate Sports spokesman Herb Vincent said that the company does plan to pay Clemson back but that a timeline on when the payment would be made has not been determined. The missing amount is not expected to hurt Clemson's athletic department budget, Robinson said.

 FOES GET FRIENDLY: Stanford and Cal, in a move that seems to go against all tenets in the concept of rivalry, are planning to jointly market season tickets for their coming football seasons.

The two athletic departments plan to launch print and radio ads this week promoting the season for both programs.

"I'm sure people are going to say, 'You're die-hard rivals, what are you doing?'" said Bob Carrescue, associate athletic director at Stanford. "But we're getting twice the frequency without the extra cost."

The radio spot is narrated by a talking Stanford Tree that promotes Stanford's football schedule and reads a promotional message for Cal's season for Oski the Cal bear, who can't talk and is instead writing the message on a chalkboard.

As Carrescue and Cal officials see it, season-ticket sales for their programs are in competition not so much with each other but with pro sports in the area.

"Our market is in so much competition with pro sports, we have to toot our own horns, combine the message that college football is great and get that message out to as many people and families as we can," Carrescue said.

  ALLTEL FOR FREE: Alltel, as part of its sponsorship agreement with Elon College athletics, has agreed to give away 3,000 commemorative prepaid phone cards at the Phoenix's first home football game in its new stadium this fall.

The phone cards will include 10 long-distance minutes and feature an image of Rhodes Stadium, the new stadium.

The cards will be given away in an Alltel goodie bag that will include an Alltel-branded beverage cooler, an official from Alltel said. Alltel has been a sponsor of the North Carolina college since 1995.

Jennifer Lee can be reached at jlee@amcity.com.

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