Jan. 21, 2009
ATLANTA — Georgia Tech Athletics and International Sports Properties (ISP) have agreed to a new 10-year multi-media rights partnership worth nearly $50 million to the Yellow Jackets over the term of the deal. The new contract, which has been ratified by the Institute’s athletic board, begins immediately and changes the dynamics of the relationship between the two parties, athletics director Dan Radakovich announced Wednesday.
The GTAA’s guaranteed royalty from ISP begins with $3.895 million in the 2008-09 fiscal year and increases each year through 2017-18, when the guarantee reaches a yearly high of $5.695 million. In summary, the 10-year deal with ISP will pay Georgia Tech athletics at least $48.95 million over the next decade.
Georgia Tech’s athletic department was in the ninth year of a 10-year agreement with ISP which began in 2000. ISP, which now represents 63 schools and conferences, is the leading multi-media rights holder in collegiate athletics. The Winston-Salem (N.C.)-based company had sought to extend its current contract with Georgia Tech beginning in early 2008. The two parties instead were able to construct a new 10-year agreement which calls for a revenue-sharing plan as opposed to a flat guarantee that existed in the previous contract. Under the new terms, Tech is still guaranteed annual payments but now can exceed those guaranteed amounts through the revenue share.
“The key component was our ability to share revenue with ISP from the very first dollar,” said athletics director Dan Radakovich. “As we moved forward it was imperative that we create a true partnership rather than another vendor-client arrangement. I commend Ben Sutton (Chairman and CEO of ISP) and his team for understanding where Georgia Tech wanted to be in the marketplace and for working with us on a contract that fits our needs.”
“Georgia Tech has been a flagship university partner with ISP since 1999, and we are extremely pleased to extend our relationship.” Sutton said. “We thoroughly enjoy working with Dan Radakovich and his staff and are most appreciative of the confidence they have shown in our team with this new agreement. We are delighted to have the opportunity to build on a decade of work in our partnership, expanding revenue opportunities and broadening exposure for Yellow Jacket athletics.”
One off-shoot of the new agreement is the creation of a newly-named sales unit, which will be housed at Bobby Dodd Stadium and will be called Georgia Tech Sports Properties. Owen Shull remains in place as general manager of GTSP and will oversee a dedicated Georgia Tech sales force housed on the Flats.
Georgia Tech Sports Properties will be responsible for advertising sales of Georgia Tech’s radio inventory, television, web site, on premise advertising and game-day promotions.
The new partnership has already launched with a bang as Georgia Tech and GTSP were successful in completing a long-coveted deal to get Yellow Jacket sports on a powerful commercial FM radio signal in the Atlanta market. This new deal will serve to augment the AM broadcasts, which will continue on the school’s flagship station, 790 The Zone. Beginning with the 2009 football season, all Georgia Tech football and men’s basketball games, as well as coaches’ shows, will be carried live on WYAY-FM (True Oldies 106.7).
“This is a great day for Georgia Tech athletics as we formally announce our partnership with WYAY as the FM home of the Yellow Jackets,” said Shull. “Paul O’Malley (regional president for Citadel Communications) and his staff at WYAY are excited to be involved with Tech athletics, and I know our fans will be pleased with the extended coverage provided by this new signal. WYAY unquestionably provides us greater coverage in Atlanta on a quality FM station. This will be a great benefit to Georgia Tech, our fans and sponsors.”
“This quest for a commercial FM radio partner has been a top priority since we arrived at Georgia Tech,” said Radakovich. “We are elated that through the hard work and persistence of ISP and members of our staff, this has become a reality. We owe station manager Paul O’Malley and the staff at WYAY a debt of gratitude for seeing the value and prestige of carrying Georgia Tech sports to the Atlanta marketplace just as 790 The Zone has for several years. We are equally happy that our AM relationship will continue.”
About the extension of the 790 The Zone agreement, Shull says:
“We have enjoyed a great relationship with 790 The Zone as the AM flagship of the Yellow Jackets since 2001, and are very pleased that we will continue our partnership. 790 The Zone is the leader in sports radio in Atlanta and is a great fit for Tech athletics. Andrew Saltzman, Steak Shapiro, and Neal Maziar of Big League Broadcasting are great partners and truly care about Georgia Tech.”
In addition to the great radio news for Georgia Tech, two other recent major partnerships have been recently solidified. Georgia Tech will continue to serve the products sold by its next-door neighbor, Coca-Cola. Tech, Coke and Coca-Cola Enterprises just completed a new agreement stretching over 13 years, benefiting Georgia Tech Athletics to the tune of $5.94 million. The agreement also includes an additional component paid directly to the Institute.
Today’s announcements come on the heels of a previously announced, 10-year, $22.6 million deal with Atlanta-based Russell Athletic.
“One thing we have heard loud and clear from our corporate partners is that they want a closer relationship directly with Georgia Tech athletics,” said Wayne Hogan, Tech’s associate athletics director for public relations. “In addition to the new business model now in place, we have created a closer-knit sales and partnership family. Georgia Tech Sports Properties will have direct access to our athletic staff and coaches, and we all realize we are working toward a common goal across the board.”