Athletics department enters into 10-year contract with IMG College; expected to see revenue in second year

The Central Michigan University Athletics Department will now have access to the same marketing techniques currently used by 70 of 75 Bowl Championship Series schools in America.

Marketing, broadcasting and brand development for the athletics department will now be handled by IMG College, a division within the International Marketing Group. A brand utilized by universities across the nation, IMG provides training, billing and customer service support for all clients.

At Wednesday’s Finance and Facilities Committee meeting in the President's Conference Room, Director of Athletics Dave Heeke said the service will build revenue for the athletics department. The revenue will be split, with 45 percent going directly to CMU athletics and 55 percent going to IMG.

“In the first year, we expect revenue to decrease. By year two, we’re showing a $30,000 to $40,000 increase,” Heeke said. “In the span of the life of the agreement, a little over $10 million in revenue will be made by athletics.”

Heeke said the partnership, a 10-year contract expected to be signed in the next few days, will cost almost nothing for CMU.

“In the current economic condition, it was vital that we help build revenue,” Heeke said. “This partnership will maximize exposure and solidify corporate sponsorship position at virtually no cost to CMU. This is a revenue-share plan that will provide staffing as well as sales expertise.”

Current employees are not in danger of losing their jobs, he said. Athletics currently employs three full-time marketing employees, and IMG typically brings in a manager and account executive to head up its operation.

“We are able to reorganize internally," Heeke said. "We’re not downsizing in any way. The current marketing team will just be reassigned."

IMG will assume annual expenses for web maintenance and hosting fees, currently priced at $10,000, plus printing of programs for both men’s and women’s basketball, which cost $20,000 and $10,000, respectively.

After three years, if IMG doesn’t meet a 15-percent growth margin, CMU has an opportunity to get out of the contract. CMU will check in with IMG every three years and can opt out of the contract at any time.

“This brings CMU marketing to a new level,” said University President George Ross at Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting.


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