Ohio State to pay $15.5M for its ad network

AUBURN HILLS, Mich.

— Ohio State University is paying $15 million to the company behind a free advertising site for its athletic teams and universities, and the university is expected to make further payments for advertising, the university said Tuesday.

The Ohio State University Athletic Advertising Fund, which is led by the university, will pay $1.1 million annually to the agency, which has paid the university about $500,000, university spokesman Joe Pendergast said in an e-mailed statement.

The new deal comes after the university announced in September that it was raising the cost of its advertising by about 20 percent over the next three years.

The university previously paid the agency $5.5 million a year, Pendergrast said.

The agency’s former CEO, Richard J. Wessel, is no longer with the university.

He will be paid a salary of $1 million a month, Pending Board of Trustees Chairman Steve Kestler said in a letter.

The agreement is one of several payments the university has made to the advertising agency, according to a statement.

The university will make $3 million a quarter in payments, the statement said.

A spokeswoman for the agency did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The advertising fund, which provides the university with advertising revenue, was founded in 1988 and serves as the largest university ad agency.

Its revenue is roughly equal to that of the University of Michigan, the state’s flagship university.

The University of Kentucky has the second-largest ad agency in the country, after the University for Public Broadcasting.

The agency’s revenue has jumped more than 100 percent since 2007, the most recent year for which data is available, according.

A total of about $1 billion has been paid to the university since 2000, and about $200 million to other universities, according the university’s statement.