U of U Sports

Utah athletics finalizing 10-year multimedia rights deal with Learfield

First Published      Last Updated Mar 11 2017 03:21 pm

Another revenue stream is opening up for Utah athletics starting this summer.

The Utes have announced they’re entering a 10-year partnership on multimedia rights with Learfield, which will manage Utah’s corporate sponsorships and advertising.

The contract details are still being finalized, so no financial information is yet available. But The Tribune has learned the deal is expected to be a huge boost in revenue in multimedia rights, potentially tripling Utah’s previous deal with Outfront Media.

Utah is expecting roughly $3 million in revenue from its multimedia deal for the current fiscal year. Learfield, which works with Oregon State, Stanford, Colorado and Cal in the Pac-12, signed the Golden Bears last year for a 10-year, $100 million dollar deal. Utah’s may not be that much, but it should be "highly competitive" with that agreement.

Utah’s last multimedia rights deal was negotiated in 2007, when the department was still affiliated with the Mountain West. There were some tweaks to the deal when the Utes moved to the Pac-12, but in good faith — there was no contractual obligation for Outfront Media to do so. This is the first deal fully negotiated as a Pac-12 member, and the value of the deal should reflect that.

"Our membership in the Pac-12 Conference has made us a more valuable commodity and allowed for a very competitive bidding process," athletic director Chris Hill said. "We are excited to embark on a partnership with Learfield, which is the industry leader in multimedia partnerships."

The Utes took three bids to replace their old deal, which expires at the end of June. As of midweek last week, the Utes had elected to go with Learfield and had started hammering out details. Utah and Learfield hope to iron out the contract within the next month.

Utah’s release said Learfield will begin staffing and commercial partnership decisions "immediately."

It’s Utah’s sixth year in the Pac-12, but it is only starting to truly enjoy the financial benefit of being a Power 5 member. The Utes have enjoyed a full share of conference revenue for the last three years. They also negotiated a new deal with Under Armour last fall to the tune of $65 million.

Utah reported $79.4 million in total revenue to the NCAA last year. But even that figure still trails most schools in the Pac-12.

Twitter: @kylegoon