SportsBusiness Journal – September 5, 2016 – By Michael Smith –
IMG College and JMI Sports have combined on their first deal by signing the University of Georgia to a 10-year multimedia rights contract.
The Bulldogs previously had an agreement with IMG College, the collegiate marketing division of WME-IMG.
That deal was set to expire in June 2017, but the 10-year extension with both IMG College and JMI will take the relationship out to 2026.
Financial terms of the deal are not being announced yet, the school said. Under Georgia’s previous deal, the athletic department was making an average of $11 million a year, based on the guarantee. That was among the most lucrative in the nation when it was signed nine years ago, and sources say the new deal will keep the Bulldogs near the top of the pack.
Alabama’s deal with Learfield averages about $16 million a year, but that contract includes more rights, including concessions, than most traditional multimedia agreements. UCLA recently signed with IMG College for $14 million to $15 million annually. Texas and Notre Dame make more as part of unique TV arrangements.
Greg McGarity, Georgia’s athletic director, called the multimedia rights “revenue stream vital to our overall program.”
IMG College and JMI Sports entered into their joint venture last December. It initially was billed as a new approach to campuswide marketing. But IMG College has twice brought in JMI Sports to bid on properties where IMG College already had the multimedia rights. The first was Auburn, which decided not to renew earlier this year and chose a deal with Fox Sports instead.
Georgia marked the second bid for the joint venture and this time they held nothing back. IMG College’s top two leaders, Jason Lublin and Tim Pernetti, both were involved, as were JMI’s top two, Erik Judson and Tom Stultz.
“They made it very clear just how important Georgia was to them,” said Alan Thomas, the Bulldogs’ associate athletic director for marketing.
McGarity assigned Thomas to run point on the talks for Georgia, with athletic Chief Financial Officer Andy Platt and Deputy Athletic Director Carla Williams also involved.
The new deal, which will include a capital investment by IMG and JMI for digital signage and video boards at Georgia venues, was completed without taking it to the marketplace, Thomas said.
“Having the best of both IMG College and JMI was a real positive for us,” Thomas said.