Pennsylvania Record

Friday, April 3, 2020

University of Pittsburgh sues sports marketer IMG College for $3.6 million, citing breach of contract

Federal Court

By Charmaine Little | Aug 14, 2019

The floor of the Peterson Events Center on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh is shown. | Wikimedia Commons

PITTSBURGH - The University of Pittsburgh allowed a licensing agreement with IMG College LLC to expire, and the company refused payments in response, the university said in a lawsuit.

The university filed a breach of contract claim in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on July 15.

The university accused IMG College LLC of deliberately breaking the terms of their license agreement as an act of retaliation for Pitt using its contractual right to let the agreement run out on its own. Pitt said that instead of compensating it what’s owed based on the agreement, IMG has instead refused the $3.6 million in excess.

Pitt gave IMG College exclusive rights to Pitt's catalog of marketing rights for its athletic program in the agreement, which ran for seven years through June 2019. Since Pitt decided not to renew the license, it ended on June 30. 

IMG had the financial responsibility of making annual payments on June 1 of each year, including 2019. But it failed to make the 2019 payment of $3,535,000, Pitt said.

Pitt said IMG agreed to pay back Pitt within 30 days after delivery of an invoice for the travel costs for Pitt such as non-charter air transportation for postseason games. While Pitt issued an invoice for $26,364.65 on June 6, IMG failed to pay that amount as well, according to the lawsuit.

IMG was also supposed to pay $25,000 for Pitt’s help with IMG’s marketing initiatives, which it allegedly still has yet to do, despite receiving an invoice from Pitt on June 6.

Pitt said it “respectfully demands judgment in its favor and against defendant IMG for breaches of the License Agreement, awarding compensatory damages in an amount to be proved at trial, which amount exceeds $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and such other relief as the court deems just and proper.”

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University of PittsburghU.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania