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

Paul Archey beat his former teammate, Tom Sultz, Kentucky basketball tickets several times in the past. This time, they brought fish.

Sultz was trying to persuade his Greenup native, Ky., To give up his dream career at Major League Baseball and move to another television company called JMI Sports. The only buyer at JMI College was Kentucky.

On paper, it was very different – JMI, a very successful MLB, with Archey stepping up to the vice president of international business and forming a strong alliance with Commissioner Rob Manfred.

“I never thought I would leave MLB,” Archey said.

The combination of Sultz commercials and the rich Rupp Arena did a lot for Archey, who left the same night in 2015 thinking, “You know what? This might work.”

Archey agreed to the job a few weeks later to run a UK operation with Sultz, the former President of JMI.

Seven years later and Archey replaces the man who made him come home to Kentucky. Sultz is leaving the business, and JMI has promoted Archey as President, taking office immediately. Sultz does not call this retirement, but more technology after 20 years working in the media industry.

JMI’s executive director, Erik Judson, is still in the same position.

JMI games


Erik Judson – CEO
Paul Archey – President, JMI Sports Properties
Kim Shelton – Senior VP, College Properties
Nicole Metzger – Senior VP, International Conferences and Marketing
“Vanin” Nino. VP, JMI Sports Properties
Laila Brock – VP, Business Development


Clemson (Business help)
Georgia (JV and Learfield)
Our Wife (JV with stories)


Atlantic 10
Ivy League
Mountain West
Patriot League
Southern Conference


Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.
Snapdragon Games, San Diego State
The Armory


Breeders’ Cup
Millrose Games
Penn Relays

With the change of leadership comes a kind of reorganization.

Archey has formed a leadership team consisting of vice presidents Kim Shelton and Nicole Metzger, as well as vice presidents Nino Vanin and Laila Brock. Metzger will lead the world trade.

JMI, headquartered in San Diego, will increase its presence in Lexington, Ky.

The refurbishment and growth of the 50-member corporate office reflects the growth of JMI since entering college and winning Kentucky independence in 2014 with a 15-year contract worth $ 210 million.

JMI now represents 21 properties, including the likes of Notre Dame and Georgia to travel to Kentucky and Pittsburgh in the Power Five, six conferences, the Breeders’ Cup, Penn Relays and Rupp Arena. Notre Dame is a partnership with Legends, while Georgia is a partnership with Learfield.

Archey’s goal is to promote JMI growth without compromising on what he calls a boutique white-glove service, the terms Stultz and Judson are repeatedly used to win a Kentucky business.

“We recognize the need for our company to transform, position us to grow well and serve our clients in the college market,” Archey said. “I have always been convinced that we need to use the skills we have at the company.”

Some of these opportunities can come from beyond the boundaries of the college business. Archey believes there may be other non-essential events, such as the Millrose Games or Penn Relays, that offer opportunities.

“Paul has brought a lot of vision, experience and skills to JMI,” Sultz said. “We have created a very good team that is ready to go the extra mile. I will miss the daily challenges of building businesses, but I am happy with the next chapter. ”

When Sultz backslides, a clear memory of UK success will be delayed

Tom Sultz’s iconic role in media freedom will be linked to the University of Kentucky forever. It was in 2004 that Sultz negotiated a 10-year, $ 80 million deal with Wildcats for Host Communications, the largest at the time.
Sultz returned to the UK a decade later due to another difficult deal, this time with JMI Sports, a new college freshman. The result was a 15-year, $ 210 million deal that stripped the UK of its rights from IMG College in the wake of David vs. Goliath.
Sultz, who has overseen the JMI business in college for the past decade, is stepping down daily and handing over leadership to the new JMI President, Paul Archey. Stultz will be there as a special mentor, but will mostly return to Greenville, SC, where he is surrounded by children and grandchildren.
Although he will not be in Lexington much, Sultz will still bleed.
“Tom is one of the most influential people in the creation of modern social media,” said CEO Erik Judson. “Tom has been my right hand when we started our multimedia business and helped grow JMI Sports right here. He is a giant in this business.”

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