Alabama inks lucrative new multimedia rights deal

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

Alabama's devoted fans have helped drive up prices for the school's media rights. (USATSI)
Alabama's devoted fans have helped drive up prices for the school's media rights. (USATSI)
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It's good to be Alabama , or at the very least, any bank account that belongs to it.

For the latest example, see this report from the Sports Business Journal on the Crimson Tide's new multimedia rights contract with Learfield Sports, which will pay the school "at least $150 million to $160 million over 10 years," i.e. "double Alabama's guarantee previously" with Learfield.

Per SBJ, the contract will give the Tide the third-highest multimedia rights deal in the country behind Texas and Notre Dame -- though both the Longhorns' and Irish's deals include television rights for football.

And that's the most remarkable thing about the new deal; Learfield doubled it despite the assets involved being reduced. From the report (emphasis added)

Alabama decided to keep its contract with Learfield virtually the same, except for the increase in the annual guarantee. The only significant difference is that Learfield will not have rights to Alabama's third-tier football and basketball games, which now are controlled by the SEC Network.

One of the reasons the deal is so valuable compared to other schools is because Learfield controls several rights that are not typically included in multimedia agreements. Those rights include concessions, pouring rights, isotonic beverage, seat rentals and merchandise, which combined can account for 25 percent to 30 percent of the revenue from the property ... Learfield's other rights include traditional multimedia inventory like radio, corporate sponsorship, hospitality, print, signage and other advertising.

Well, gosh, after the run Alabama football's been since Nick Saban's hire -- despite the disappointment of 2013, still three national titles, two SEC titles, and five BCS bowl appearances -- why would corporate sponsorship and advertising venues have gone up in value?

Like we said: devatastating, histroric Iron Bowl loss or not, it's good to be Alabama .

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