UK signs lucrative multi-media rights deal

UK signs lucrative multi-media rights deal

The University of Kentucky has reached one of the most lucrative deals in college athletics history, granting its multi-media marketing rights to JMI Sports for $210 million over the next 15 years.

The deal was announced Monday in a joint press conference with UK Athletics Dirctor Mitch Barnhart and JMI Sports officials. It will begin when the school's current agreement with IMG expires in April 2015. That package paid UK $80.5 million over the last 10 years.

The new deal includes:

• Radio rights to UK's football, men's and women's basketball and baseball games;
• Stadium and arena corporate signage and game programs for all home UK events, other than those hosted at Rupp Arena;
• Naming rights to university athletics facilities and premium areas;
• Sponsorship on UKathletics.com;
• Game sponsorships and game promotions;
• Coaches' endorsements;
• Pre- and postgame television shows and specials and postseason highlight DVDs;
• Video features on video boards, other than at Rupp Arena;
• Opportunities to develop UK Athletics Corporate Partnership Program; and
• The potential, at the university's discretion, to market campus multimedia rights, creating the potential for an integrated approach to multimedia rights and marketing – something few universities are doing.

"This partnership reflects the fact that the University of Kentucky is a national brand with the largest and most loyal fan base in all of intercollegiate athletics," UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. "The size of this partnership – and our partnership with an emerging force in college sports in JMI Sports – will enable us to maintain and grow as one of the country's few financially self-sustaining programs, allowing us to continue to provide incredible educational opportunities to more than 450 young men and women as well as continue to partner with the university in unique and distinctive ways."

UK will receive a $29.4 million signing bonus during the first two years of the agreement, funds which will be used to assist capital building projects such as a new baseball facility, an improved indoor tennis facility and the ongoing football facility improvements.

Kentucky will be JMI Sports' first client for which it will serve as its multi-media rights holder, but it has extensive experience in college and professional sports. The company was founded in 2006 by developer and philanthropist John Moores and Chief Executive Officer Erik Judson. Moores is the former owner and chairman of the San Diego Padres, and Judson has experience managing major sports development projects, including the Padres' Petco Park and the University of Oregon's Matthew Knight Arena. Tom Stultz, president of JMI Sports and a native of Greenup, Ky., formerly served as senior vice president and managing director of IMG College's multi-media rights business.

JMI Sports' college clients include the Southeastern Conference, Alabama, North Carolina, Oregon, Auburn, Colorado, Duke and Syracuse, among others. To put UK's new deal in perspective, Alabama signed a deal in April reportedly worth between $15-16 million annually over 10 years, giving the school the third-largest multi-media rights deals in the nation behind Texas and Notre Dame.

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