Shipping exec willing to pay millions to get Memphis into BCS conference - Sporting News staff reports - College Basketball - Sporting News
Sporting News staff reports
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The CEO of FedEx is prepared to pay upwards of $10 million a year to a BCS conference that will add Memphis, according to an online report.
CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish, citing unnamed sources close to the Memphis program, reports Fred Smith is leading the effort to get the Tigers to move up from Conference USA.
"It could be $10 million every year for a conference to use however it sees fit," one of the sources is quoted as saying. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity. "When you think of the big picture, it could be the equivalent of a five-year, $50 million contract or a 10-year, $100 million contract. Fred is talking about a massive amount of money."
Smith, the source said, could use some of the money he'll save by not sponsoring the Orange Bowl game. SportsBusiness Journal reported last month that FedEx ended its partnership with bowl organizers.
Neither Smith nor Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson could be reached for comment Saturday. Johnson this week told the (Memphis) Commercial Appeal that he has been actively shopping the school to conferences.
"There can't be a commissioner or league out there that I haven't applied for," Johnson told the newspaper.
FedEx has naming rights deals for the FedEx Forum, home of Memphis' basketball program and the NBA's Grizzlies, and FedEx Field, the Washington Redskins' stadium. Also, Smith's son is a quarterback at Memphis.