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Luck: Mountaineers to bid out media rights

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia University's request for proposals to manage the athletic department's Tier 3 rights allows for control of virtually all of the sponsorship and media assets.

WVU, which posted the RFP Monday, still maintains the ability to pick exactly what it wants to assign, if it chooses to assign anything.

Last month, WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck told the Charleston Daily Mail a big goal in soliciting offers was to see what was out there and what revenue opportunities were available for the self-sustained athletic department.

Luck declined to comment on the RFP until the process is finished. WVU and Michigan State are the only schools from Bowl Championship Series conferences that control their own media rights.

Nevertheless, the RFP "does not obligate West Virginia University or its Board of Governors to award a contract or complete the proposed project and each reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel this RFP," the document says.

Additionally, WVU "reserves the right to include all or a portion of the components" in the final contract, even though most schools choose to award everything to one party.

WVU is requesting bids to the rights in eight categories:

  • Marketing (use of official marks and endorsements, retail activation programs and coaches' endorsements)
  • Signage (permanent and LED, visible on television, within stadiums, arenas and their concourse areas and on video boards)
  • Event marketing (game day sponsorships, promotions, product distribution, sport entitlements and out-of-market events)
  • Tickets, hospitality and "unique experiences" (season and single-game tickets and parking, premium seating in club and suite levels, pre-game hospitality tents and behind-the-scenes access)
  • Video content excluded from existing deals with the Big 12 and third parties (live and tape-delay events, highlight and coaches' shows and affiliate rights)
  • Audio content (live and archived events, pregame and postgame shows and coaches' shows and affiliate rights)
  • Print (game day publications, promotional materials)
  • Digital (website advertising, streaming, subscription services)

Parties making offers must submit preliminary questions by June 20 for a conference call two days later. A party's pre-qualification statements are due July 2. WVU will notify qualified parties by July 17.

The deadline for the RFP is Aug. 31 with WVU aiming to finish its evaluations by Sept. 28. Presentations begin Oct. 1 and are expected to last two weeks.

The selection process will end Oct. 19 and WVU hopes to execute the contract Dec. 7 and enter into the beginning of the term of the contract July 1, 2013.

The length of the contract will depend on the specific offer and be among the criteria WVU uses to make its selection.

The school will also consider the strategy and operational plan, the staffing plan, the financial offer and the "adequacy of financial resources" to support the presentation and commitments.

The proposals will be filtered by an evaluation committee, which will pick the offer "determined to be the most advantageous to the University."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.


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