Ohio State signs record media rights deal

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Ohio State, IMG and RadiOhio have agreed to the largest media-rights deal in college sports history, a 10-year deal that includes $110 million in guarantees.

The deal, which goes into effect July 1, will partner IMG and RadiOhio to manage all rights associated with publishing, radio play-by-play and coaches' shows for both radio and TV that do not fall under the Big Ten/NCAA contracts. IMG previously only managed Ohio State's publishing rights, while RadiOhio oversaw the radio rights.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, the new deal guarantees an average of $11 million per year. Ohio State is one of the nation's largest athletic departments but hasn't been immune from the nation's financial problems, even raising football and men's basketball ticket prices by $1 for 2009.

According to athletic director Gene Smith, this new agreement should go a long way toward helping the department's budget.

"Smith said the athletics department has been making about $6.3 million a year through its in-house marketing efforts. It also will save about $18 million over the next decade in costs.

Smith expects to use the extra money to pay down debt on facilities, create a reserve fund for maintenance and restore much of the $1.2 million in budget cuts to sports programs this year. 'We'll be able to go back to fully funding those programs,' he said."

The total deal is valued at $128 million and also includes corporate sponsorships, signs, on-site marketing and coaches' endorsements.