It does not appear that the University of New Mexico Athletics Department will have its new multimedia rights partner secured this week.
The school’s Board of Regents must approve any deal struck between athletics and Outfront Media, the New York-based company recently chosen by the department to handle its multimedia enterprise that includes radio broadcasts and advertisement sales. It was just last week that the Regents’ Finance and Facilities Committee gave permission to the department to begin negotiations with Outfront and, as of Monday evening, the contract had not been agreed to.
Terms of the impending deal have not been released, but sources close to the negotiations said it will follow a profit-share model where UNM would secure the majority of the revenue after expenses were factored in.
The department’s previous partnership with Learfield IMG College followed a guarantee-plus-revenue share model, meaning athletics received an annual payment between $4.5 million and $5 million while Learfield kept all the profits from sales of multimedia rights, including signage in Dreamstyle Stadium, The Pit and on various media platforms that included luxury suites at the football stadium.
The Regents will convene Tuesday in a regularly scheduled public meeting on the main campus. The Outfront contract was not part of the agenda as of Monday.
What will be discussed is the athletic department’s annual budget. There was a small surplus during the last fiscal year, a sign that the department’s aggressive money management programs and accounting practices have begun to produce positive results.
The proposed 2019-20 athletics budget is $32,362,107, which is 3.7 percent of the entire $884 million budget for the main campus. The overall athletics budget is down $2.27 million from its peak in fiscal year 2017.
Athletic director Eddie Nuñez said his department additionally has a surplus of capital outlay money approved during the most recent legislative session.
The school’s baseball program received over $825,000 to improve the facility and overhaul its sound system. An additional $510,000 was earmarked for volleyball, softball and swimming and diving.
Lobos baseball head coach Ray Birmingham has said that in order for the school to potentially host a postseason tournament like the Mountain West Conference championships or even an NCAA subregional or super regional, approximately $3 million must be spent to roughly triple the facility’s capacity by expanding spectator seating to the end of each dugout.
Additionally, locker rooms must be added and infrastructure, such as an expanded press box and utilities for guest amenities, must be improved.
Nuñez said the funds became available this summer with some of it already being put into use. Johnson Center was undergoing an extensive renovation and funding from the capital outlay project will go directly to improving infrastructure for volleyball and swimming and diving.
It’s all part of the department’s directive remaining compliant with Title IX, which requires schools to give equal opportunities for both genders with regard to college athletics.
Krebs hearing Aug. 26
The case against former UNM athletic director Paul Krebs is set to go to a preliminary hearing Aug. 26 in Albuquerque, said a spokesman with the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office on Monday.
Krebs has been charged with fraud, money laundering and tampering with evidence stemming from his involvement with a 2015 golf excursion to Scotland. He is accused of authorizing payments of several thousand dollars at the school’s expense to cover cost for several boosters and staffers to attend the international trip.
The preliminary hearing could take a matter of hours or days, the spokesman said. If the judge in the case finds enough evidence to show probable cause, the case will move forward.