NARAS, IMG in tune over logo accord

Greene continues slew of shrewd business deals

NEW YORK — The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences has pacted with International Management Group, the world’s largest sports and entertainment marketing firm, in a multimillion-dollar deal designed to tie corporate sponsors to the Recording Academy’s events. The deal also taps IMG to market the Grammy logo much like the Olympics licenses the use of its five-ring logo by corporate titans.

The pact is the latest initiative orchestrated by NARAS prexy/CEO Michael Greene that is designed to raise awareness of the org and fill its coffers. It also is indicative of Greene’s efforts, which led the NARAS Board of Trustees recently to sweeten the exec’s contract and extend it through 2001.

IMG will be charged with linking corporate sponsors to such NARAS programs as the Grammy in the Schools or the Grammy Experience, the latter a traveling show chronicling music industry highlights, or the Grammy Hall of Fame set to bow in Memphis.

Revenue stream

The marketing titan is expected to generate millions of dollars in revenue for NARAS and also will develop and produce events geared toward its clients, such as a Grammys on Ice show featuring IMG signees Scott Hamilton or Kristi Yamaguchi, for example. It will also create other marketing-driven programs that would attract sponsorship interest.

“The Grammys are a powerful and important icon in the entertainment, and in particular the music, business around the world,” Jay Lotz, senior VP, national sales and marketing for IMG, told Daily Variety. “The companies we deal with are always looking for new and unique ideas from which they can gain additional visibility by being associated. Firms can sponsor the events (run) by NARAS just as they would if they were sponsoring an Olympic event.”

IMG reps thousands of celebrity athletes around the world, packages such events as Wimbledon and the Hampton Court Music Festival, produces legit shows and has nabbed sponsors for Universal Studios, among others. It will not be involved with finding sponsors for the Grammy telecast, which is the domain of CBS.

“We feel that IMG, with all its experience and resources, is a great way to help us continue our growth while reaching out to the community,” Greene said. “It can help some of our events, such as Grammy in the Schools, gain even greater exposure.”

Prolific past

During his 10-year tenure, Greene has helped NARAS become one of the most successful trade organizations in the world, while growing its size, influence and revenues.

As a result, Greene recently landed a hefty bonus of more than $700,000 that nearly doubled his yearly compensation to $1.5 million. The disclosure of the bonus has miffed some music industry execs, but the org’s board believes Greene is worth every penny.

“The new contract is an important signal of our confidence in Michael’s ability and a recognition of his successful track record in creating community affairs programs along with boosting the profile of the Grammy Awards,” said Phil Ramone, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “The Academy is flush, which is wonderful, and the awareness of our organization extends around the world, thanks largely to his efforts.”

Greene is credited with implementing several programs for NARAS, such as MusicCares, while increasing its revenue and licensing income as well as promoting the Recording Academy’s educational and archival interests.

He also secured NARAS’ record-setting $90 million-plus, five-year contract with CBS to broadcast the 1999 Grammy Awards and has grown the organization’s domestic television revenue by more than 500%.

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