Sept. 13, 2007
NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents has authorized OU Athletics to enter into a contract extension with Sooner Sports Properties. The action authorized the negotiation and execution of the final agreement.
The agreement will extend the OU-Sooner Sports Properties relationship through 2017 with more than $75 million in total revenue and financial support to the Sooner program. Sooner Sports Properties is a joint venture property of Learfield Sports, Griffin Communications and Renda Broadcasting.
"As one of a handful of self sufficient collegiate athletics programs that does not require state appropriated funds, taxes, campus funds or student fees to supplement the funding of budget operations it is important for us to develop innovative funding sources that allow us to provide resources to pursue championship level programs without putting the entire burden on the ticket holders," said Joe Castiglione, OU Vice President for Sports Programs and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.
"The state of the art student-athlete services we provide from academic support to athletic training help create our competitive edge. Furthermore, the additional revenues also assist in another aspect of our mission, hiring and retaining some of the most respected coaches and staff in the nation. Moreover, we're one of a few intercollegiate athletics programs which actually help subsidize academic programs, exceeding three million dollars over the last five years."
Sooner Sports Properties (SSP) is the locally-based entity that administers and oversees all broadcasting, marketing, and sponsorship related activity on behalf of the University's athletics program. General Manager Eric Barnhart leads the Sooner Sports Properties staff.
Sooner Sports Properties manages OU Athletics' multimedia rights, which include radio, television, print, signage, official athletic Web site advertising and all corporate sponsorship sales. Additionally, SSP not only will pursue an expanded television component, committing to more games, but also a broadband channel for Sooner sports. Other initiatives include enhanced promotions, a scholarship endowment for men's basketball and subsidizing the installation of new digital scoreboards in the football and basketball venues.
Castiglione cited SSP's shared vision and past performance in extending the relationship.
"As we reflected on what best represents the needs of the University of Oklahoma, we will enter into this extended agreement focused on serving our fans by enhancing the marketing of our programs and aggressively pursuing new technology and opportunities," said Castiglione. "We appreciate the enormous growth we have experienced with Sooner Sports Properties and its partners. We are excited that our multi-media partners share our vision of providing even greater visibility for our programs as we keep OU Athletics firmly entrenched as a leader in college sports. Both of us are enthusiastic about what the future holds and focused on providing only the best to a very large and loyal fan base. People will see tangible improvements as a result of this new agreement."
"We've enjoyed building this exceptional relationship with the University, Joe and the OU athletics administration over the years," said Greg Brown, president of Learfield Sports. "It is exciting for us to continue with one of the nation's powerhouse programs in collegiate sports. We look forward to moving full-speed ahead with our agreement, and the new and exciting elements.
Dallas-based Learfield Sports is an operating unit of Jefferson City, Mo.-based Learfield Communications, Inc., which made its initial foray into the world of sports marketing in 1975 as a radio rights holder for the University of Missouri, a client still today. For additional information on Learfield Sports, visit www.learfieldsports.com.
In addition to Oklahoma, Learfield Sports manages the multimedia rights for nearly 40 collegiate institutions and associations, including other Big 12 Conference members Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas State, Missouri and Texas A&M. The company also secures marketing partnerships for the Black Coaches & Administrators (BCA) and provides exclusive sports programming to more than 1,000 radio stations throughout the country. Additionally, Team Services, LLC, a Learfield Sports company, specializes in venue naming rights, marketing research and sales consultation.
Griffin Communications and Renda Broadcasting are the media flagship homes of OU sports programming. Griffin Communications owns and operates Oklahoma City-based KWTV News 9 and NewsNow 53. Renda Broadcasting owns and operates the Oklahoma City-based OU flagship stations KRXO 107.7 FM and KOKC 1520 AM.