Nickolas J. Rhodes, 87BA, has experienced phenomenal success in the entertainment industry since he graduated from the University of Iowa just more than ten years ago.
With his bachelor's degree in communications and theatre arts in hand, Rhodes headed for Chicago, where he worked in the television division at Arbitron Inc. In 1987, he joined Rasmussen Communication Inc. (RCM) as manager of marketing operations. During his one year in that role, Rhodes served on a management team that successfully acquired eight sports television properties, quadrupled the company's sales billing, and renegotiated station clearances that doubled the average program ratings. After leaving RCM in 1988—the same year the company was sold to Raycom—Rhodes conceived the Great Midwest Basketball Conference (now Conference USA) and developed a long-term strategy to determine the conference's television rights.
In 1989, Rhodes joined Prime Ticket Network in Los Angeles as vice president of business development. Prime Ticket held exclusive rights to the Lakers, Kings, USC, and UCLA, and Rhodes was a member of an executive team that added the Angels, Clippers, Mighty Ducks, and Pro-Beach Volleyball. At Prime Ticket, he led the development of La Cadena Deportiva, the nation's first Spanish language sports network. Today the network, renamed Fox Sports Americas, serves two million Spanish-speaking homes nationwide. Rhodes's additional accomplishments at Prime Ticket range from securing exclusive rights for interactive technology to pioneering interactive sports television concepts.
In 1994, TCI purchased Prime Ticket, and Rhodes left the company to join Roger Werner and cable entrepreneur Bill Daniels to form Daniels Programming Ventures. As executive vice president of programming, Rhodes wrote the business plans for two new cable network concepts, Speedvision and Outdoor Life. In six months, the network concepts had secured $200 million in committed equity from cable companies Cox, Comcast, and Continental. Now in 14 million homes, Speedvision and Outdoor Life have recently sold a one-third interest in both networks to Fox Sports. As senior vice president, Rhodes continues to oversee business development of both networks.
Rhodes is a member of the UI Foundation's Presidents Club.