LITTLE ROCK, Ark. –KATV in Little Rock has agreed to assign its television and radio sports rights for the University of Arkansas to ISP Sports beginning with the 2008 football season. ISP will also manage all multimedia rights for the Arkansas athletics program, as Razorback Sports Properties.
Under the agreement, KATV, which previously served as the official radio and television rights holder for Arkansas, will remain the flagship television station of the new network that will carry extensive television coverage of the Razorbacks, including coaches’ shows, a statewide men’s basketball game package along with numerous pre and post season special programs for football and basketball.
"ISP is truly excited to establish this new relationship with the University of Arkansas, one of the great athletic programs in the country," ISP Chairman and CEO Ben Sutton said in making the announcement. "We also are excited about being able to work with KATV and building on the 40-year tradition KATV has established in bringing the passion of Razorback athletics to the State of Arkansas.”
“We are pleased that, through our new agreement with ISP, KATV will remain at the forefront of Razorback coverage for many years to come,” KATV general manager Dale Nicholson said. “We have enjoyed our four decade partnership with the University of Arkansas and are looking forward to maintaining that relationship moving forward via our partnership with ISP as the continuing HOME OF THE RAZORBACKS.”
“From the beginning of our discussions with KATV and ISP, I was excited about what the partnership would mean for Razorback Athletics,” Arkansas Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “I have worked with a number of other multi-media rightsholders, but in my opinion ISP is the best and is clearly the leader in college sports. The uniqueness of the Razorback brand and the strength of our University and athletic programs provides us a tremendous opportunity to increase our brand locally, regionally and nationally. The increased exposure and enhanced opportunities for national sponsorships will compliment our outstanding statewide exposure provided by our long-time partner, KATV.
In addition, ISP will now manage certain media rights that were once managed by the school’s athletic department staff. Those include athletic venue signage, printed materials such as game programs, the official athletic website, ArkansasRazorbacks.com and at-event hospitality and promotional opportunities.
The new relationship makes ISP the school’s multimedia rightsholder for the next 10 years. As part of the agreement, Arkansas will be guaranteed a total of $73 million in the tenure of the contract. The $5.7 million in the first year of the contract represents a 67-percent increase in comparison to the $3.4 million generated last year.
“Our agreement with ISP not only helps protect us from uncertain financial times, but also guarantees revenue at a significantly higher level than what we have generated in the past,” Long said. “As our budget continues to reflect the increasing costs associated with operating a 19-sport program, the increased revenue generated from this partnership will help us secure the essential funding to support our more than 450 student-athletes and provide them the resources to succeed in the Southeastern Conference and nationally.”
ISP currently maintains more than 60 collegiate relationships with some of America’s leading universities, conferences bowl games and venues. The company, which is based in Winston-Salem, NC, already has existing relationships with SEC members Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
KATV is owned by Arlington, Virginia-based Allbritton Communications Company, a multimedia owner of television stations, newspapers and internet ventures around the country, including ABC Network stations in Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Oklahoma and Arkansas.