West Virginia Univ. on Thursday signed a 12-year deal worth more than $80M with IMG College. The two sides originally came to terms in January, but in February the process was halted because of complaints about the bidding. Once that was resolved, IMG and WVU went back to the table and finalized a 12-year deal that kicks in immediately for the '13-14 season. The school will have the opportunity to make more money from the deal through a revenue-share agreement if IMG hits certain sales thresholds. IMG will sell WVU’s rights in sponsorship and advertising across TV, radio and digital platforms, as well as in-venue signage and promotions. IMG Audio will manage WVU’s radio network, while the firm will work with West Virginia Media Holdings to develop TV ad inventory on coaches' shows and other programming. WVU AD Oliver Luck said, “WVU now has the opportunity to expand its revenue base by engaging new national sponsors, while building our athletic and university brand.” IMG’s WVU sales team will operate out of Morgantown (Michael Smith, Staff Writer).
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL? In West Virginia, Jared Hunt in a front-page piece notes the deal "follows a bitter seven-month public feud between school officials and West Virginia Radio Corp. owner John Raese over an initial selection process tainted by what state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey called 'significant errors and sloppiness.'" WVU was one of "only a few schools that had continued to manage Tier 3 broadcasting and marketing in-house, mainly through its Mountaineer Sports Network" (Charleston DAILY MAIL, 7/12).
THE VOICE: In West Virginia, Eric Eyre in a front-page piece cites an IMG spokesperson as saying that the company "hasn't made any decisions about whether to hire Mountaineer Sports Network's stable of broadcasters, including popular play-by-play announcer Tony Caridi." IMG also "would not comment on what radio stations in West Virginia will carry WVU football and basketball games this fall." West Virginia Radio "owns and operates more than 30 radio stations across the state, but the Morgantown-based company's ongoing lawsuit against WVU and West Virginia Media could prompt IMG to sign broadcast agreements with other stations" (CHARLESTON GAZETTE, 7/12).