West Virginia University’s Mountaineer Sports Network is in the final year — heck, the final weeks — of a three-year contract with the West Virginia Radio Corp. that grants the radio group “exclusive local radio broadcasting rights” for football and men’s basketball games.
Given the reach of WVU’s radio audience for games in those two sports, I would argue that’s a more valuable commodity than a football game for Root Sports or any of those Tier 3 properties for a provider. Radio is, and has been, big business here. Why, how many people do you know who turn down the volume on their television during a game and listen instead to the radio?
It’s not just valuable here, though. It’s valuable across the college multimedia rights industry. There are six- and seven-figure deals, depending on the brand the university has, for the radio rights.
You know about licensing. It’s the reason you can’t put a Flying WV on a mud flap without certain permissions granting you rights to use the logo.
Anyhow, one national sponsorship consultant told me WVU should be making somewhere in the neighborhood of $300,000 to $400,000 annually on rights fees for radio broadcasts.
Take a wild guess what West Virginia Radio Corp. pays MSN for the radio rights.
This is true and ‘this is very rare.’
“It’s definitely a huge missed revenue opportunity that could account for anywhere between 10 to 20 percent of the total sponsorship revenue for a school, depending on the popularity of the radio network,” said Dan Kozlak, manager of analytics at Navigate Research.
It goes on and explains a, shall we say, convenient relationship for West Virginia Radio Corp. I need not tell you that the Tier 3 process, the entire pending partnership between WVU and IMG College, has been in the news of late. And I don’t think I need to go into much detail here about why his matters for that, except to say a better deal is out there.
I would still encourage you to maintain an open mind about all of this and to not hastily dismiss all words and allegations simply because this agreement exists and, true, may be lost. I find it impossible to blame West Virginia Radio Corp. for being a part of this contract.
This may answer some questions, but it may ask a whole bunch, too.