IMG College, which has grown to serve more than 200 universities nationwide, driving billions of dollars of revenue to these schools, was formed through the consolidation of several innovative companies.
Host Communications pioneered the collegiate multimedia business in 1974 with a network radio contract with the University of Kentucky. The company began representing the NCAA in 1976 and provided leadership to establish the first collegiate corporate partner program on behalf of the NCAA in 1986, which remains an IMG partner to this day.
In November of 2007, IMG Worldwide acquired Host Communications. Several months earlier, IMG had acquired The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), the nation's leading collegiate trademark licensing representative serving more than 200 institutions.
Meantime, another leader in collegiate marketing, ISP, was about to enter the IMG fold. Winston-Salem-based ISP, short for International Sports Properties, had been formed by the local entrepreneur Ben Sutton, who graduated from nearby Wake Forest University where he also earned his law degree and worked in the college's athletic department. Sutton had packaged all of the school's commercial rights in one bundle, making it easier for sponsors to invest in those programs and generating greater financial benefit to the university. Sutton grew the business from Wake Forest to more than 60 NCAA colleges and conferences. With this dramatic growth, ISP had become the leader in collegiate sports marketing and merged into IMG’s fast-growing college division in 2010.
These three companies formed the foundation of IMG College, a division of IMG Worldwide, providing unparalleled expertise and resources to the blossoming collegiate market through multimedia rights services, licensing, digital, publishing, ticketing, seating, fundraising and consulting services. Winston-Salem, the headquarters of IMG College, is now the home for the college division’s audio business housing over 50 studios pumping out more than 30,000 hours of college sports programming annually to 2,100 affiliates; a ticketing business with more than 30 university partners; a publishing operation producing four million game-day programs, yearbooks, magazines and championship publications each year; the largest manager of university athletic websites in America; corporate functions like legal and finance; and home base for a 350-person nationwide sales organization which attracts corporate sponsors supporting schools’ athletics, as well as academic missions.
IMG College is redefining the way big brands sponsor college teams. Through IMG’s consolidation of school media rights, it has formed the first national collegiate platform giving companies easy access to the largest and most attractive fan base in sports (190 million strong). National sponsors including UPS, Hyundai and MillerCoors were the first to use the groundbreaking new platform in 49 of the country’s top 50 markets.
While IMG College delivers a significant amount of revenue to schools coast to coast, for our company, this is more than a dollars-and-cents business. Supporting schools' athletics and academic missions is a noble calling. As intercollegiate athletics continues to grow, IMG is proud and privileged to serve leading universities providing opportunities to student-athletes while preparing America's next generation of leaders.