With Paul Archey at the helm, JMI Sports to write the next chapter in the college space

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

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

Stultz was trying to convince his fellow native from Greenup, Ky., to leave his dream job at 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, fighting well above its weight class, against MLB, where Archey had become senior vice president of international business and forged a strong bond with commissioner Rob Manfred.

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

The combination of Stultz’s sales acumen and the opulent environment of Rupp Arena paid off for Archey, who left that night in 2015 thinking, “You know what? This could work.”

Archey accepted the job a few weeks later to run the UK property with Stultz serving as president of JMI.

Seven years have passed and Archey is replacing 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 isn’t calling this a full retirement, but more of an advisory role after 20 years working in collegiate multimedia rights.

JMI CEO Erik Judson remains in the same position.

JMI Sport


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


Clemson (sponsorship sales)
Georgia (JV with Learfield)
Our Lady (JV with Legends)


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

Places of organization

Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.
Snapdragon Stadium, San Diego State


Breeders’ Cup
Millrose Games
Penn Relays

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

Archey has formed a leadership team consisting 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 also expand its presence in Lexington, Ky., moving into a 20,000-square-foot space in the newly renovated Central Bank Center.

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

JMI now represents 21 properties, including the likes of Notre Dame and Georgia to go 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 the Legends, while Georgia is a joint venture with Learfield.

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

“We are recognizing the need for our company to evolve, better position us for growth down the road and better serve our customers in a dynamic college market,” said Archey. “I was really convinced 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, like the Millrose Games or the Penn Relays, that offer potential.

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

As Stultz retires, fond memories of UK success will remain

Tom Stultz’s distinguished career in collegiate multimedia rights will forever be associated with the University of Kentucky. It was there in 2004 when 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 brand new challenger in the college space. The result was a 15-year, $210 million deal that wrested UK rights from IMG College in a David vs. Goliath.
Stultz, who has overseen JMI’s college properties business for the past decade, will step away from the day-to-day and hand the reins over to new JMI President Paul Archey. Stultz will be available as a special adviser, but mostly he will be back in Greenville, SC, where he is surrounded by children and grandchildren.
Although he won’t be in Lexington as much, Stultz will still bleed blue.
“Tom is among the most influential individuals in building today’s collegiate sports multimedia landscape,” said CEO Erik Judson. “Tom has been my right hand as we launched our multimedia business and helped grow JMI Sports to where it is today. He is a giant in this business.”

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