GOPHER ATHLETICS ANNOUNCES NEW RADIO PARTNERSHIPS

GOPHER ATHLETICS ANNOUNCES NEW RADIO PARTNERSHIPS

The University of Minnesota Department of Athletics, in conjunction with multimedia rights holder Gopher Sports Properties, announced separate three-year radio broadcast agreements with Clear Channel Radio and Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc. today.

The agreements, which both commence with the 2011-12 athletic season, will see Gopher football broadcast on Clear Channel’s KFAN Sports Radio 1130 AM and KTLK 100.3 FM, while Gopher men’s and women’s basketball and men’s hockey will air on Hubbard Broadcasting’s 1500 AM ESPN Radio.

“Moving our sports coverage to these stations positions Gopher Athletics to harness the combined power of the Twin Cities’ two all-sports formatted radio stations and is a strategic step in our effort to combine great radio coverage for Gopher fans with the very best promotional opportunities for our football, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s hockey teams,” said Director of Athletics Joel Maturi. “We evaluated all of our broadcast options based upon many factors, including financial commitment, marketing support, listener demographics, and ancillary programming, and we believe these partnerships represent the best overall platforms for Gophers sports on radio.”

The new deals bring an end to the Gophers’ play-by-play broadcast relationship with WCCO 830 AM as the radio home for football, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s hockey.

“It’s remarkable that we have enjoyed such an outstanding run with WCCO,” Maturi added. “I want to publicly thank them for their dedicated coverage of the Gophers. We truly appreciate their commitment and the relationship we have had over the years.”

In addition to play-by-play coverage of all Gopher football games, related football programming, including the weekly coach’s show with Jerry Kill, as well as a one-hour weekly show dedicated to Gopher Athletics, will be broadcast on KFAN Sports Radio 1130 AM. Clear Channel will also leverage its new Gopher partnership through its outdoor billboards, social media, and related communications and marketing outlets across its multiple radio station platforms.

“To have an affiliation with the University of Minnesota sports and the football program is something we at Clear Channel and KFAN have always wanted,” said Michael Crusham, President/Market Manager

Clear Channel Radio. “I am extremely pleased that we are going to be partners.”

Gopher Athletics’ agreement with Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc., makes 1500 ESPN Radio the new home for University of Minnesota’s winter sports with live play-by-play of both men’s basketball and men’s hockey, plus 15 select women’s basketball games. The station will also air new, Gopher-driven programming, including Gopher Hoops This Week and This Week in Gopher Sports, as well as weekly coaches’ shows for Tubby Smith, Pam Borton, and Don Lucia. In addition, Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc., will provide a digital platform for the three winter sports, with a dedicated beat writer assigned to cover each program for 1500 ESPN Radio’s website.

“This partnership with Golden Gopher Men’s and Women’s Basketball and Men’s Hockey is the perfect complement to our relationship with the Minnesota Twins,” said Dan Seeman, Vice President and General Manager of 1500 AM ESPN Radio. “We are thrilled to bring the excitement of Golden Gopher winter sports to 1500 ESPN and look forward to working with the University of Minnesota and Learfield Sports.”

Gopher Sports Properties is a property of Learfield Sports, which manages the multimedia rights for University of Minnesota Athletics and every aspect of the nearly 40-affiliate Golden Gopher Radio Network. Gopher Sports Properties also handles Learfield’s overall relationship components with Minnesota including corporate partnerships, venue signage, print sponsorships, event marketing as well as corporate hospitality and official website advertising.

“We have created an undeniable partnership with Joel and his athletic administration over the years and know that our general manager, Greg Gerlach, has worked extremely close with Gopher Athletics to determine all the pros and cons of making this switch from long-time flagship WCCO,” said Learfield Sports’ Senior Vice President Bob Agramonte.

In addition to Minnesota, Learfield Sports manages the multimedia and sponsorship rights for more than 50 collegiate institutions, conferences and associations including the Big Ten Conference and other member schools Iowa, Indiana, Penn State, Purdue, and Wisconsin. It also titles the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, in conjunction with award co-founders NACDA and USA Today. Learfield Sports is an operating unit of Learfield Communications, Inc., which entered the world of sports marketing in 1975 as the radio rights holder for the University of Missouri. For additional information about the company, its history and comprehensive collegiate portfolio, visit learfieldsports.com.

Posted on Wednesday, March 9, 2011