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Pac-12 Lands Richest TV Contract

May
03
2011
By
Category: College Sports Television News, Featured News, Pac-12 Expansion & Realignment

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott put out a number, $300 million per year for all Pac-12 media rights, saying that unless a broadcaster hit that number, the Pac-12 would hold onto at least one of their prized chess pieces. And when Fox and ESPN came to an agreement with the Pac-12 on a contract for nearly $225 million per year, the Pac-12 held it’s ground.

The conclusion is now that the Pac-12 now has the richest TV contract in the country, a result of crafty business dealing by Scott with the ideal timing as broadcasters are spending large for access to live sports content. Fox and ESPN were the eventual buyers, but had the likes of NBC/Comcast, CBS and Turner looking to get in the game as well…and driving up the price.

But what makes this deal an even bigger coup for the Pac-12 is that they’ll get their roughly $225 million per year, about $21 million per school per year. And they’ll get their coveted Pac-12 network launched. But the key to the deal is that unlike the Big Ten Network, which is has a near equal revenue split between the conference and Fox (51% Big Ten, 49% Fox), the Pac-12 Network will be solely a property of the Pac-12. So all future revenues such as subscriber fees and advertising will go into the Pac-12’s pocket.

Here are some specs on the deal:

Price: $3 billion
Length: 12 years
Annual revenue: $225 to Pac-12
Annual per school: roughly $21 million per school
Conference Network: Pac-12 Network, fully owned by Pac-12, to broadcast a minimum of 350 annual events
Online Network: similar to ESPN3, will carry 500 annual events

Broadcasting:
* 5 prime time football games on ABC and Fox
* Football games will also be on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and FX
* Basketball games will be on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and FoxSports regional networks
* ABC/ESPN and Fox will rotate the annual football championship game each year
* ESPN and Fox/FX will alternate the basketball conference tournament
* ESPN will also carry some of the Pac-12’s other olympic sports not on the Pac-12 network

Press Conference:

Highlights:
* Football will be on ABC and Fox, some primetime Saturdays.
* Pac-12 network will have football games as well
* Who gets what games is decided by Pac-12 at some point, not a real pecking order, more of a schedule. At beginning of season once schedule is out, the networks “draft” games like picks.
* Pac-12 Network: Pac-12 Media Enterprises is the official company they formed. Is both TV and Digital.
* All football games and basketball will be on TV (ABC/ESPN, Fox/FX, Pac-12 Network)
* Basketball: all games on TV: 68 on ESPN and Fox, all others on Pac-12 Network
* Women’s basketball likely the big component of Pac-12 network
* Pac-12 Media Labs: group of Pac-12 school members/alum will work on projects for the digital side of the network, bringing the schools into the process.
* Pac-12 Properties: will handle development and management of tournaments, etc

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