jim harbaugh-michigan wolverines-amazon prime

Last month, Michigan partnered with Amazon, Big Ten Network, and The Montag Group for the type of behind-the-scenes documentary series that has become all the rage in college sports. The end product, which will debut in January figures to offer Michigan solid exposure, which helps in rallying fans and wooing recruits, but it will also deliver the Wolverines something even better: oodles of money.

According to the Detroit Free PressMichigan will reap $2.25 million for the project. They’ll get $1.5 million for access/licensing and another $775,000 for site access, with the money coming from The Montag Group.

Per the Free Press, the deal between TMG and the Wolverines’ athletic department includes assurances of “reasonable access” to Michigan Stadium, team meetings, locker rooms, practices and more. The camera crews will be welcome no more than “three or four” times a week. Michigan players who appear in the show were required to sign releases.

Interestingly, the Free Press reveals that Michigan has some amount of editorial oversight over the project. The university reportedly gets to review and provide comment on the second rough cut of each episode and to request edits based on not only factual errors and “actionable defamation,” but also “football strategies, plays, personnel evaluations and recruitment information.”

It’s fascinating to get a glimpse into the terms of this kind of partnership, which continues to get more and more common throughout sports. After the behind-the-scenes football doc craze began in the NFL with HBO’s Hard Knocks, Showtime brought the format to college via A Season With, which has thus far featured Florida State, Notre Dame and Navy.

And if the payouts for these docu-series are always in the seven-figure range like Michigan’s, there might be many more of them to come.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

  • And of course the players who have to put up with the cameras following them everywhere will be compensated, right? I mean, if you are forced to sign releases, you should be paid.