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Maximizing Revenue through Intellectual Property

Navigating the exploding realm of digital and social media remains one of the most daunting and exciting challenges for university administrators and their media partners. There is no shortage of content opportunities for college athletic departments, particularly for Olympic sports that don't get as much exposure on TV and proportionately benefit more from digital distribution. And with digital subscriber and advertising interest continuing to grow, revenue opportunities are also robust. But sorting out the distribution and rights landscapes remain a thorny issue.

For example, a behind-the-scenes video of a team traveling to its next game – fairly simple content to produce – has quickly proven popular with many schools. But should that material go straight to the university's athletic website? To YouTube? To conference-run cable channels? National media partners? All of the above? And how is the related revenue divided? And how are fans properly directed without getting confused or frustrated?

Maximizing Revenue through Intellectual Property

Joe Ferreira, Learfield Sports
Frank Golding, Google/YouTube
Mark Harlan, UCLA
Jon Heidtke, Fox Sports Southwest
Chris Wagner, Neulion

"Awareness is a big issue, now that there's so much content and so many avenues," said Joe Ferreira, Learfied Sports’ chief content officer. Added Mark Harlan, UCLA senior associate athletic director for external relations, "The biggest challenge we have is having all the resources to support all this content. We're now all hiring videographers and storytellers. We did the same before with writers, generating content, and now we're doing the same with video. And that comes with a cost."

Other key comments from the discussion:College sports, traditionally strong at the regional and local levels, still has untapped potential as a national entity. "People are buying into college football at those local levels," Ferreira said. “We need to look at how we drive that to a national level.”

Frank Golding, YouTube's director of pro, college, and high school sports channels, fears a bubble in exploding TV rights fees. "How do we grow the pie?,” he said. “We can't keep offering these kinds of rights fees without growing the pie."

There is significant opportunity in college sports to develop more whip-around and scoring play-related content. "People want to take the concept of 'Red Zone' and apply it to college," said Chris Wagner, NeuLion executive vice president.
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