NCAA, Associated Press Team Up on Championship Photos
By Carolyn Braff
The rights landscape of collegiate sports photos can be more complex than an NCAA rulebook, but thanks to a new relationship between the NCAA and the Associated Press, that landscape has cleared considerably. The two organizations have entered into a three-year content partnership that adds NCAA photos to the AP Images archives, gives the collegiate association access to AP Images’ archive of NCAA photography, and makes the news service the worldwide distributor of all photography from NCAA championship events.
“This partnership allows us to leverage and combine the NCAA’s unique collection of photography from championship events with our strengths in photo marketing and licensing,” explains Fernando Ferre, global director of AP Images. “We’re very happy about this partnership.”
There are 88 NCAA men’s and women’s championship events in total, including the marquee March Madness tournaments for men’s and women’s basketball, the Frozen Four for men’s and women’s hockey, the College World Series for baseball, and Women’s College World Series for softball. The newly formed partnership allows the AP to market and sell the NCAA’s collection of photos from championship events dating back to 1994 and to incorporate those photos into the AP Images archives. All NCAA championship photos produced going forward will also be added to the archive.
“The NCAA has an archive of photography from championship events,” Ferre notes, “and we’re now able to sell and license it through our Website for editorial as well as commercial purposes.”
Editorial purposes translate into making the photos available to media outlets, while commercial purposes include marketing and advertising across various platforms — including the Web, since the archive is entirely digitized. The agreement also makes AP Images the exclusive photo-licensing agent for the NCAA championship photos, which includes retail sales.
“We will be making the photography available for consumer print purchases as well,” Ferre says. “We’ve established a relationship with another company, Replay Photos, which will create an online store where the photos are available for personal use.”
Replay Photos has relationships with more than 50 individual universities as well, so fans can purchase NCAA photos from the AP Images archive through the Replay Photos Website, as well as through NCAA.com and APImages.com.
“Combine the history of the NCAA photo archives with the depth of photos compiled by AP Images over the last 100 years, and the NCAA and the AP Images partnership will create the single greatest collection of collegiate sports photos,” says Greg Weitekamp, director of broadcasting for the NCAA. “With the reach AP Images has to the editorial world and extensive relationships formed with commercial agencies, the NCAA will enjoy a greater means of distributing its photos to further tell the story of the student-athlete.”
The three-year duration of the partnership will give the NCAA and AP enough time to build the business before the agreement comes up for renewal.