Most everyone with an interest has heard about West Virginia University's new, 12-year multimedia rights deal with North Carolina-based IMG College for the school's sports programs, a deal guaranteed to deliver WVU at least $86.5 million through 2025.
But what we haven't heard -- due in part to the ongoing legal battle between John Raese's West Virginia Radio Corp. and WVU -- is anyone from the university publicly detailing how its new IMG contract compares to its past performance handling the school's media rights in-house.
Under the new deal, IMG will pay WVU a guaranteed minimum royalty of $4.1 million during the first year. (That goes up to $7.1 million if you include the $3 million "signing bonus" payment IMG will pay by June 2014.)
The annual guaranteed royalty goes up to $6.2 million the following year and will continue to rise each year to nearly $8.3 million by 2025.
Those payments also don't include revenue WVU could receive through a revenue-sharing partnership with IMG. Under the contract, once IMG's annual WVU-related revenue crosses a certain threshold (starting at $6 million the first year), WVU gets to keep a 30 percent portion of that additional revenue.
As if that wasn't complicated enough, trying to compare the future to the past is far more convoluted.
Complicating comparisons is WVU's decision to retain some existing contracts with key sponsors and advertisers -- e.g. Nike, United Bank, WVU Hospitals, Bank of America, Chesapeake Energy and Coca-Cola -- all of which represent a significant amount of money pouring into the university.
But if you cull through WVU financial reports and make a few educated projections, one can come up with a comparison that, while not exact, could be somewhere in the ballpark.