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Arizona State terminates IMG College rights contract

The athletics division of US college Arizona State has said it will terminate its multimedia rights deal with IMG College and is claiming more than $5m (€3.9m) in damages from the agency for failing to meet contract obligations.

IMG has served as ASU’s rights holder for American football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball since 2009 and the AZCentral.com website said the dispute between the two parties dates back to at least October 2012.

ASU issued IMG with a notice of default in August 2013 before conducting an audit of IMG's performance and payments which failed to reach a resolution in the dispute.

Kevin Galvin, ASU vice-president for media relations, said: “We were hopeful that a smooth transition process could be put in place as we begin to seek a new partner to promote Sun Devil athletics and discussions about IMG's outstanding obligations to the university continue. But as of October 27, IMG will no longer be managing multimedia rights for ASU athletics.”

IMG’s contract with ASU was scheduled to run through 2021. The agency has said it disputes the university’s claims and is taking action over the termination.

IMG said: “We strongly disagree with the university's actions, and are taking action to defend our rights and recover our significant investment in the long-term contract.

“While we had extensive negotiations with the university prior to receiving this termination notice, we needed to make a fiscally responsible decision regarding their increasing financial demands. In light of the termination by ASU and following a period of transition, the school will be responsible for all multimedia operations effective October 27.”

ASU’s decision comes after the athletics division of Syracuse University in August signed a new multi-year multimedia rights deal with IMG after previously electing to break its contract with the agency in favour of seeking a more lucrative agreement.