Learfield strengthens college sports portfolio with Nelligan takeover

Learfield Sports has strengthened its US college sports multimedia rights portfolio by acquiring rival agency Nelligan Sports Marketing.

The deal, which was struck after months of negotiations, will lead to Learfield taking multimedia rights of 41 collegiate properties under its umbrella. Learfield now owns the multimedia and sponsorship rights to 92 colleges, with the new transaction including the likes of Colorado State, Louisville, Marquette and Providence. The IMG College division of the IMG agency, Learfield’s main rival in the sector, has the rights to 79 colleges.

The business will operate under Learfield Sports’ name with immediate effect, with Nelligan and Tim Hofferth continuing to work with Learfield to manage certain partnerships and strategic initiatives. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

“This transaction is a strategic move for our company, substantially expanding our platform of college rights,” Learfield president and chief executive Greg Brown said. “Adding the rights that TJ Nelligan and his colleagues have acquired over the years will strengthen our position in certain regions where we already have significant sponsorship rights.”

Nelligan, the chairman of Nelligan Sports Marketing, added: “Having founded this business, I had a personal interest that the company would end up in the hands of a great firm that would care for our employees and clients with great service and integrity. Learfield fits the bill beautifully.” Nelligan Sports Marketing was founded in 1999 and has 85 full-time employees.