Inside Marshall Sports

MU “underperforming” with IMG? Really?

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A pair of stories, one Thursday on the MetroNews website and another in this morning’s Daily Mail, dealt with West Virginia University’s impending deal with IMG College over so-called Tier 3 multimedia rights.

The MetroNews report by Allan Taylor cites an anonymous “industry” source saying advertisers could be “squeezed” into “bundling” their deals with those at “underperforming” markets at Pitt and Marshall. And Marshall is cited as being the most performing, of course. The quote that tells all: “I promise you, IMG will hold some people hostage to get more money for Marshall.”

That’s all news to MU athletic director Mike Hamrick, who talked to me at some length about that school’s relationship with IMG deal and its success. News to me, too — Marshall was the THIRD client of IMG College (known as ISP then), and I believe that relationship goes back to the 1991 season. The contract was re-upped recently, leading to the new video boards and other improvements at the stadium and the Henderson Center.

If you’re reading this, you probably know the lay of the land: W.Va. Radio owns MetroNews. W.Va. Radio is reportedly losing those multimedia rights to IMG — which is leading to loss of revenue. If you listen to Charleston radio, you might have noticed the disappearance of Rick Johnson and Frank Giardina, two very respected radio personalities.

You may also remember Marshall’s network switched away from W.Va. Radio in the Charleston market.

I trust you can connect the dots. More on that later.

On other topics, such as 102-46, catch my Monday column.