PBJ Exclusive: The top 25 NCAA marketing deals

The University of Texas will get $12.7 million this year in exchange for the right to sell advertisements and sponsorships at athletic department events. It's one of three schools that will get more than $10 million in exchange for those rights.

The University of Texas will get $12.7 million this year in exchange for the right to sell advertisements and sponsorships at athletic department events, part of a growing trend of universities cashing in on the popularity of collegiate sports.

Over the past eight months, the Business Journal filed public records requests with every school in the top level of college sports for a copy of its multimedia rights deals. The contracts give an outside company — typically Winston-Salem, N.C.-based IMG College or Plano, Texas-based Learfield — the right to sell everything from signs inside arenas to advertisements in the concourses.

View a slideshow of the top 25 list

Under a typical deal, the companies pay the universities an annual fee and keep the cash from any sponsorships and advertisements they sell. Some deals have a revenue threshold above which the schools and companies share revenue.

This week's cover story dives into the explosive growth of the deals. Some thought conference TV deals, which have ballooned and cover the most important live events, would leave individual rights deals withering on the vine.

The opposite has happened.

"It's made these rights more valuable," said Jonathan Jensen, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The university's Center for Research in Intercollegiate Athletics analyzed the roughly 90 deals the Business Journal collected through public records requests. The analysis included ranking schools by the amount they're guaranteed to receive annually.

It's the closest way to get an apples-to-apples comparison of deals. But it's admittedly somewhat flawed.

"It's about the only option you have, but it's not really an apples-to-apples because it depends on the inventory," said Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens.

By "inventory" Mullens is referring to available advertising space. Some conferences hold more rights than others. Some universities also don't provide as many advertising opportunities. Some schools also don't control the advertising rights to key properties. UCLA, for instance, doesn't own the Rose Bowl. The University of Kentucky doesn't own Rupp Arena, where its basketball teams play.

File: History Maker Phil Knight

Matthew Kish covers footwear, apparel, banking, finance and general assignment news.

 

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