With Paul Archie at the helm, JMI Sports will write the next chapter in college

The JMI Sports leadership team, from left, includes Nino Vanin, Laila Brock, Nicole Metzger, Kim Shelton and incoming president Paul Archie. Courtesy of JMI Sports

Paul Archie had hit up his longtime friend Tom Stultz for Kentucky basketball tickets many times before. This time they came with a catch.

Stultz was trying to convince his fellow Greenup, Kentucky native to quit his dream job in Major League Baseball and go work for a fledgling media rights agency called JMI Sports. JMI’s only college client was Kentucky.

On paper, it was a classic mismatch—JMI punching well above its weight class against MLB, where Archie rose to senior vice president of international business and forged a strong relationship with commissioner Rob Manfred.

“I never thought I’d leave MLB,” Archie said.

The combination of Stultz’s sales acumen and the rich environment of Rupp Arena made an impression on Archey, who left that night in 2015 thinking, “You know what? This could work.”

Archey accepted the job a few weeks later to manage the UK property and Stultz was president of JMI.

Seven years later, Archie replaces the man who convinced him to return home to Kentucky. Stultz is retiring from the business and JMI has promoted Archey to president, effective immediately. Stultz doesn’t call this a full retirement, but rather a consulting role after 20 years in collegiate multimedia rights.

JMI’s CEO, Eric Judson, remains in the same position.

JMI Sports

Leadership

Eric Judson – CEO
Paul Archie – President, JMI Sports Properties
Kim Shelton – Senior Vice President, College Properties
Nicole Metzger – Senior Vice President, Conferences and National Sales
“Vanin” Nino. Vice President, JMI Sports Properties
Laila Brock – Vice President, Business Development

Properties

Clemson (sponsorship sales)
Colombia
De Paul
Georgia (JV with Learfield)
Harvard
Kentucky
Our Lady (JV with legends)
Penn
Pittsburgh

Conferences

Atlantic 10
The Ivy League
Central American
Mountain West
Patriotic League
Southern Conference

Places

Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky
Snapdragon Stadium, San Diego State
The armory

events

Breeders’ Cup
Millrose Games
Penn Relays

With a change in leadership comes a restructuring of sorts at the top.

Archey has formed a leadership team that consists of senior vice presidents Kim Shelton and Nicole Metzger, as well as vice presidents Nino Vanin and Laila Brock. Metzger will lead national sales.

JMI, which has always been headquartered in San Diego, will expand its presence in Lexington, Kentucky, moving into a 20,000-square-foot space in the recently renovated Central Bank Center.

The restructuring and office expansion for the 50-person company reflect the growth JMI has sustained since entering the college and winning the rights to Kentucky in 2014 in a 15-year deal worth a staggering $210 million.

JMI now represents 21 sites, including Notre Dame and Georgia, along with Kentucky and Pittsburgh in the Power Five, six conferences, the Breeders’ Cup, the Penn Relays and Rupp Arena. Notre Dame is a joint venture with Legends, while Georgia is a joint venture with Learfield.

Archey’s intent is to continue JMI’s growth without sacrificing what it calls its boutique, white-glove service, a phrase Stultz and Judson have used repeatedly to win Kentucky business.

“We recognize the need for our company to evolve to better position us for growth down the road and better serve our customers in a dynamic college market,” Archie said. “I was really adamant that we should take advantage of the expertise that we have in this company.”

Some of these opportunities may even come from beyond the boundaries of traditional college business. Archey believes there may be other underrated events, such as the Millrose Games or the Penn Relays, that offer potential.

“Paul has brought a lot of vision, experience and talent to JMI,” Stultz said. “We have assembled a superb team that is ready to take it to the next level. I will miss the daily challenges of building a business, but I am excited for the next chapter.”

While Stultz steps down, fond memories of UK success will remain

Tom Stultz’s legendary career in collegiate multimedia rights will forever be associated with the University of Kentucky. It was there in 2004 that Stultz negotiated a landmark 10-year, $80 million deal with the Wildcats for Host Communications, the largest of its kind at the time.
Stultz returned to the UK a decade later for another groundbreaking deal, this time with JMI Sports, a competitor brand new to the college space. The result was a 15-year, $210 million deal that took UK’s rights away from IMG College in a David vs. Goliath-style upset.
Stultz, who has led JMI’s college real estate business for the past decade, will step back from day-to-day operations and turn the reins over to JMI’s new president, Paul Archie. Stultz will be available as a special adviser, but will mostly return to Greenville, South Carolina, where he is surrounded by children and grandchildren.
Although it won’t be as much in Lexington, Stultz will still bleed.
“Tom is among the most influential figures in building today’s collegiate sports multimedia landscape,” said Executive Director Eric Judson. “Tom was my right-hand man when we started our multimedia business and helped grow JMI Sports to where it is today. He is a giant in this business.”

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