The Nebraska athletic department stands to reap nearly $110 million if NU regents approve a 13-year contract with media and marketing giant IMG at their Friday meeting.
The contract replaces and expands on NU’s current agreement with IMG, which grants exclusive rights to radio broadcasts of athletic events, distribution of coaches’ television shows and rights to sell advertising in football game-day programs.
That agreement runs through July 31, 2011. It was announced by former athletic director Steve Pederson in 2003 for $21.25 million. At that time, the agreement was with Pinnacle Sports Productions, which, after acquisitions, eventually was absorbed by IMG. It’s now known as the Huskers Sports Network.
The new deal, which would run through June 30, 2021, essentially would position IMG as a marketing agent on behalf of the athletic department, streamlining NU’s marketing efforts.
IMG would seek corporate sponsorships for NU, for example, and sell advertising for radio and television broadcasts.
“I believe the goal is simplicity,” said Regent Bob Phares of North Platte, chairman of the board’s Business Affairs Committee. “Just contract with one organization and let them do the marketing.”
The changes should have little effect on the way Husker fans watch and listen to athletic events, Phares said.
The agreement has a guaranteed 13-year revenue of $109.7 million, according to information provided to regents.
Athletic director Tom Osborne on Tuesday said he wouldn’t discuss details of the contract in advance of his and UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman’s presentation to regents Friday morning.
But Osborne said working with IMG has thus far been “a good experience.”
“We have confidence in their abilities to do what they say they’re going to do,” he said.
In addition to Nebraska, IMG provides marketing services for numerous other schools, including Kansas, Texas, Michigan, Oklahoma State and Tennessee, according to its Web site.
One recent announcement on the site advertises a DVD commemorating the Kansas men’s basketball team’s recent run to the national title. The site also links to an online store where shoppers can browse through videos, posters and other merchandise associated with various athletic programs.
IMG “can help brands create platforms to reach millions of passionate, loyal fans,” the company says on its site.
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