University of Kentucky strikes lucrative deal with JMI Sports

The UK Athletics division of the University of Kentucky has awarded the JMI Sports agency its athletics and campus multimedia marketing rights in a 15-year deal worth $210m (€154.4m).

Kentucky will be JMI Sports’ first client for which it will serve as its multimedia rights holder, with UK Athletics stating the agreement marks one of the most valuable partnerships of its kind in college athletics history.

Under the terms of the deal, UK will receive a guaranteed rights fee in each of the 15 years of the contract, starting at $9.1m in 2015-16 and increasing to $16m in 2029-30. The agreement also includes a $29.4m signing bonus to be paid over the first two years of the contract.

The deal includes stadium and arena corporate signage and game programs for all home UK events, other than those hosted at Rupp Arena; naming rights to university athletics facilities and premium areas; sponsorship on UKathletics.com; game sponsorships and game promotions; as well as opportunities to develop UK Athletics Corporate Partnership Program.

The contract also includes the potential, at the university’s discretion, to market campus multimedia rights, creating the potential for an integrated approach to multimedia rights and marketing – something few universities are doing.

“This partnership reflects the fact that the University of Kentucky is a national brand with the largest and most loyal fan base in all of intercollegiate athletics,” UK Athletics director Mitch Barnhart said. “The size of this partnership – and our partnership with an emerging force in college sports in JMI Sports – will enable us to maintain and grow as one of the country’s few financially self-sustaining programs.”