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UO athletics scores millions

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Monday, September 01, 2008

EUGENE The University of Oregon has signed a 10-year agreement with Oregon Sports Network and IMG Communications, the global sports marketing powerhouse that owns thousands of sports and entertainment events, partners with a dozen large universities, and manages the careers of some of the richest athletes in the world.

The deal is worth more than $67 million in guaranteed annual payments, facility improvements and naming rights for the university’s new baseball field. In return OSN and IMG will get marketing rights to just about anything that walks, throws and shoots like a Duck, promoting Oregon sports through print, online, video and radio ads, corporate sponsorships and product endorsements.

“We knew Oregon athletics were worth a lot more than we were getting, so we went fishing,” says Joe Giansante, the senior athletic director who negotiated the deal for UO. “This deal with IMG gives anyone who might have been living in the past a clearer understanding of how valuable the Oregon athletic brand is.”

The agreement puts the Ducks in the same bracket as some of the nation’s top athletic departments that have partnered with IMG, including the Texas Longhorns and the Michigan Wolverines.

Giansante says IMG’s willingness to work with OSN was a big factor. Most universities sell their multimedia rights to major networks such as ESPN or Fox Sports, but Oregon is different because of its long-standing exclusive relationship with OSN. “IMG was comfortable with the idea that we wanted to maintain our relationship with OSN, and that gave them an edge over their competitors. IMG is an incredible company with global reach, but they also have a level of flexibility and creativity that the other companies didn’t bring to the table.”

Giansante says the deal will help the university’s athletics to operate within its own budget, without UO general funds, well into the future.


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