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UNT announces multimedia rights deal with Learfield

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Brett Vito, Staff Writer

North Texas announced a 10-year media rights partnership with Learfield, one of the premier companies in the field, on Friday.  

Learfield will manage UNT's signage, digital endeavors, corporate sponsorships, television and radio play-by-play broadcasts and coach shows.

UNT athletic director Wren Baker made the announcement in conjunction with Learfield president and CEO Greg Brown.

The deal marks the first time UNT has outsourced its multimedia rights. Joe Domingos of Learfield will manage the newly formed Mean Green Sports Properties.

Domingos previously was in charge of  Warhawk Sports Properties, which managed Learfield's partnership with Louisiana-Monroe.

"We are excited to partner with Learfield," Baker said in a statement. "Greg Brown and his team are industry leaders. This partnership begins immediately and will generate in excess of $5 million in new revenue over a 10-year period. Our relationship with Learfield will also open up many other opportunities to incorporate new elements and technologies into our game-day experience."

Learfield is based in Plano and works with some of the premier athletic programs in the country as well as several schools in Texas. Alabama, Texas A&M and Penn State have partnerships with Learfield. Texas-San Antonio, Texas-Arlington, SMU and Louisiana Tech — four of UNT's traditional rivals — also work with Learfield. 

Baker previously worked as an administrator at Missouri and Memphis, two schools that currently work with the company.

Learfield will have significant input in decisions regarding UNT's broadcasts, a school spokesman said Friday afternoon. The spokesman said UNT does not plan on changing its broadcast talent.

UNT's agreement with Learfield is not expected to impact Beyond the Green, a documentary television program featuring the school's football team. UNT helps produce the show.

"North Texas has a growing fan base, with whom we will engage sponsors with innovative concepts that will provide growth and enhance the brand," Brown said. "We have known Wren for many years, when he was at Mizzou and Memphis, two of our university partners, and we look forward to having the opportunity to work with him again to maximize the potential of UNT athletics over the next decade."

UNT is hoping its deal with Learfield will elevate its brand and increase revenue in a highly competitive Dallas-Fort Worth market.

"The increase in revenue will be significant," Baker said. "That sort of increase is to be expected when a school first adopts a model offered from a firm like Learfield, which is one of the reasons we chose to utilize that strategy for our corporate partnership program."

UNT's deal with Learfield marks a key move early Baker's tenure at the school. The longtime college administrator took over UNT's program in August.

Baker recently made his first major coaching hire when he selected former Arkansas State coach Grant McCasland as UNT's men's basketball coach. He reshaped the school's athletic administration by adding three senior athletic department officials shortly after his arrival.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.