New Source of Big Money in College Sports

April 3, 2009

The headlines this week about Ohio State University's $110 million, 10-year contract for media rights to most of its sports program drew attention to an emergent area of big bucks in high-profile college athletics -- terrain that USA Today explored more fully Thursday in a report pegged to this weekend's biggest of all college sports events, the Final Four. The USA Today article, part of a package of stories about commercialism in collegiate sports, explores the relatively sudden explosion onto the college sports scene of IMG, which is providing the money behind the Ohio State deal. The marketing company is best known for representing individual pro athletes in sports such as golf and tennis, but in the last two years it has gobbled up other companies with major stakes in college sports marketing and media matters and is now competing with players such as Nike for visibility and power. And that power concerns some sports officials because of the company's plans to both market colleges' programs and continue to represent individual athletes who might come out of those programs, among other issues.

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