SBJ/March 3-9, 2014/Colleges

Temple’s multimedia rights go to Learfield

Learfield Sports has won the multimedia rights to Temple University as part of a 10-year agreement.

The deal, which takes effect in July, will provide Learfield with Temple’s signage, sponsorship, corporate hospitality, event marketing, radio, TV, coaches’ shows and online advertising rights.

The public university in Philadelphia, a new member of the American Athletic Conference, will see a significant increase in rights fees, according to the school’s athletic director, Kevin Clark.

“Learfield is a national company that will help Temple’s exposure and brand,” said Clark, who joined Temple in 2012 after stints in athletic administration at Indiana, St. Louis and the NCAA.

Temple is in the final year of a multimedia rights agreement with Front Row Marketing, a subsidiary of Philadelphia-based Comcast-Spectacor which has had a relationship with Temple since 2005. That deal expires June 30.

Front Row and Learfield were two of the four companies that bid for Temple’s rights. IMG College and CBS Collegiate Sports Properties were the other two.

Roger Gardner, executive vice president at Learfield, negotiated the new deal with Clark. Learfield also owned the rights at Indiana when Clark worked there.

“I’m a market guy and with the Front Row deal expiring, I wanted to see what the market would bear,” Clark said.

Clark wouldn’t specify the financial terms of the deal, but did say it would be worth well into seven figures over the life of the contract.

The additional revenue will be helpful at a time when the school is cutting five sports because of a lack of funding. Temple, which previously fielded 24 varsity teams with an annual budget of $44 million, will terminate baseball, softball, men’s gymnastics, men’s indoor track and field, and men’s outdoor track and field, effective July 1.

Learfield will have a full set of rights for basketball inside Temple’s arena, the Liacouras Center, as well as other athletic venues on campus.

Football is more complicated because the Owls play at Lincoln Financial Field. Clark said negotiations for signage at the home of the Philadelphia Eagles are ongoing and it’s not completely certain what Learfield’s rights will be for football.

“We’ve got to work through those challenges, but the Eagles have been great to work with and we expect there to be some flexibility there,” Clark said.

Learfield also will sell advertising for the school’s website, Owlsports.com, and there could be the potential for additional online advertising on Owls TV, the broadband home for live Temple events and archived video.

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