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Nebraska Nixes Multimedia Deal with JMI Sports

Paul Steinbach
Huskers

The University of Nebraska athletic department’s multimedia rights negotiations with JMI Sports have stopped, athletic director Trev Alberts said Thursday, prompting the school to remove contract approval from next week’s Board of Regents meeting.

“We don’t anticipate bringing any additional proposal from JMI forward but will continue to evaluate short- and long-term options for our multimedia rights,” Alberts said in a statement, as reported by the Omaha World-Herald. “We will make a decision that is in the best long-term interest of Nebraska to ensure that Husker athletics is positioned for success in a changing collegiate athletics landscape.”

Earlier this month, Alberts confirmed that a 12-year, $215 million deal was in the works between NU and JMI.

Related: Nebraska Back to Third-Party Media Rights with $215M Deal

Erik Judson, JMI CEO, said in a statement Thursday that he hoped to continue dialogue with Nebraska.

“After an accelerated negotiation period to complete a $215 million multimedia rights agreement with a $200 million guarantee, the University of Nebraska and JMI Sports were unsuccessful in reaching an agreement that delivered necessary assurances each party needed for the partnership to be successful," Judson said. "Given that we could not resolve all important contract language within the designated time frame, Nebraska athletics has decided to end the negotiations. Trev Alberts and his team are exceptional people who are true professionals that care deeply for the University of Nebraska. It was our great pleasure working closely with them to bring this partnership to fruition.

"The University of Nebraska is an incredible institution with a brand and athletic history in the top tier of college athletics. It is our hope that JMI Sports has a chance to reengage with Nebraska athletics in the future.”

According to the World-Herald, Nebraska had deals from other companies on the table or the athletic department can continue to keep its multimedia operation in-house as it has since July 2021.

Related: Nebraska to Bring Radio Network, Media Rights In House

While in-house operations allow NU to control production and potentially gain more revenue, the school also has to account for salaries and overhead, the World-Herald reported. Further, so long as multimedia rights are in-house, Nebraska cannot leverage name, image and likeness rules to have student-athletes on its shows for paid interviews. A third-party rights holder could, and does in other markets.

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