The firm that helped advise West Virginia University's Athletic Department on how to best contract out its multimedia rights issued an interesting press release last month - one that highlighted the new trend of keeping those rights in-house.
Rockbridge Sports Group, which helped WVU in the process of awarding its rights to IMG College last year, announced last month it intended to hire new general managers in Alabama, Colorado, Michigan and Texas to help support its "new model in collegiate and high school multimedia rights management."
"The landscape in sports multimedia rights management is beginning to undergo a fundamental shift," the company's press release began.
"The predominant model in the industry - where institutions fully outsource their rights in exchange for lump sum payments - is coming under question with regards to long-term viability," it said.
"A market opportunity is emerging to serve institutions that are moving to reclaim control over their brands and recast the long-term relationships they maintain with their media and corporate partners."
Wait - what? Anyone reading those last three paragraphs out of context would have assumed they were written by someone like West Virginia Radio Corp. owner John Raese, not the company that helped WVU sell off its rights.
Right now, Rockbridge has signed partnerships with Western Athletic Conference, Troy and Houston Baptist universities. (Not exactly cash cows of NCAA sports.)
WVU was one of three Bowl Championship Series conference schools - including Ole Miss and Rutgers - to bid out their rights last year. All three awarded their rights to IMG.
"These partnerships are significant when you consider how rare it is for multimedia rights to be open in the BCS," Ben Sutton, president of IMG College said last July. "You could say these schools are 'The last of the Mohicans' in available BCS-level partners."