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Published March 8, 2010
In the middle of IMG College’s explosive growth the last few years, Lawton Logan was an integral member of a team that added and now manages close to $700 million in multimedia rights. It’s right where Logan hoped to be when he graduated from the University of Richmond.
“Sports and entertainment were areas that really interested me early,” said Logan, a senior vice president with IMG College in its Lexington, Ky., office. “I was always attracted to the business side of sports and it’s something that still drives me today. When I entered the business 15 years ago, the college space was wide open. It was like the next frontier.”
Logan began with a small marketing agency in Atlanta that worked on Braves promotions. He subsequently moved to Cox, which had the radio rights for the University of Georgia, and gained his first exposure to the college business.
For 10 years, Logan worked with the Bulldogs’ network, at the same time studying for his MBA at Georgia State. Then, in 2004, Logan decided to take a chance. New management had come in to run Host Communications, a multimedia rights holder that at one time had been a giant in college marketing and media but had fallen on hard times.
Logan was drawn to Host by new CEO Tom Stultz and went right to work on securing the hometown team, the University of Kentucky. The negotiations resulted in a 10-year, $80 million bundled rights package that sent shockwaves across the collegiate landscape.
As Host attempted to gather momentum, with Logan at the forefront of seeking new business, IMG acquired the company in 2007. High-dollar deals followed with premium properties like Florida and Ohio State.
With so many long-term deals, many stretching out 10 years or more, Logan’s focus has transitioned a bit, from new business to helping manage the current properties more efficiently.
“With these very significant contracts, the expenses are fixed,” Logan said of the rights fees IMG College pays the schools. “Growth has to come from top-line revenue. We’re always looking for new properties, but there aren’t really that many schools left out there without a long-term deal. So we’re really focused on the growth of our existing properties and execution now.”