New World Greets IMG-Big East Talks

Big East Conference

(from Sports Business Journal, March, 18, 2013)  The multimedia rights with the old Big East Conference and IMG College are set to expire in June, meaning both sides will shortly begin negotiating a new contract.  This new contract is expected to look considerably different than the last one given the many schools who recently departed from the conference, known as the Catholic 7.  Points being negotiated are the marketing rights to a Big East Conference football championship, something the conference has never had before and could potentially be a significant revenue stream for the conference and IGM.

The departure of the Catholic 7 took some of the top basketball brands with it, schools such as Marquette, Georgetown, and Villanova.  This could lead to the old Big East Conference’s loss of Madison Square Garden as its home for their basketball championship, a staple and big revenue stream of the conference for 31 years.  If the old Big East does, in fact, lose Madison Square Garden for their basketball conference championship, it could have a dynamic effect on their new contract with IMG–the tournament accounted for 90% of the old multimedia rights’ contract.

However, there remains the potential for a conference football championship game, which could increase the value of the new deal between the old conference and IMG.

Furthermore, the Catholic 7 is taking the “Big East” name with it, thus the old Big East will have a new name come June.  Rex Hough, who oversees the Northeast region for IMG College, said, “legally speaking, [IMG’s] contract is with the old Big East and that’s how [they’re] moving forward.”  Hough also said that IMG College has had preliminary discussions with the Catholic 7, but the conference has not issued a request for proposals yet.