What's the key to negotiating great media rights contracts?
Anyone who's been involved in putting a sports/media partnership together
knows just how complicated things can get. Is it possible for all parties to
achieve their respective goals while fostering a positive working
relationship? Actually, yes it is. There are a few basic components that
really help smooth over the bumps in the negotiation process and build a
solid foundation for the deal.
1. Start early. Your last media negotiation experience may have been a
struggle and as a result you might not be looking forward to the next.
Nevertheless, getting a jump on things almost always yields benefits. Get
things started at least a year, two if possible, before your current
agreement ends. Your prospective partners will be more receptive, you'll
have more time to fine tune details and get as many good ideas to the table
2. Decide what's most important to you. It's always about the money to some
degree, but it's almost never only about the money. Keep your strategic
objectives squarely in your sights.
3. Decide what's not important to you. Part of effective negotiation
requires a willingness to concede certain things in certain situations.
Identify initiatives that are lower on your list of priorities. Knowing what
you would be willing to give up is almost as important as knowing what you
4. Understand what's important to the media. Believe it or not, you've got a
lot in common with your media partners. They, too, have certain objectives,
goals and long-term strategies. Taking time to see the world from their
perspective can only help your cause.
5. Don't make it personal. Negotiations can get a little rough. Get yourself
a good consultant and experienced negotiator to manage the tough spots. That
way, you and your staff can avoid taking the brunt of the fallout if and
when things get sticky.