Pac-10 Teams With Fox, ESPN To Become College’s Richest Conference
By: Carolyn Braff, Editor
Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - 1:12 pm

The rising trend of media rights in college sports hit a new high this week when the Pac-10 signed a 12-year, $3 billion contract with Fox and ESPN. Beginning in 2012, the conference (which becomes the Pac-12 in July) will start its own cable-TV network but has sold the majority of its football and basketball game rights to the two networks. The deal, which charges Fox and ESPN more than four times what they were previously paying, gives the Pac-10 the most valuable contract of any college conference.

The to-be-named Pac-10 cable network will be fully owned by the conference, unlike the Big Ten Network (which is 49% owned by Fox Cable Networks) and the Longhorn Network (which is owned by ESPN). The new channel will carry at least 350 sports events, and a new digital channel will carry an additional 500 events annually. A new properties division will be formed to sell sponsorships.

Under the new agreement, Pac-10 football games will be split between Fox and ESPN. Fox can also put games on FX and Fox Sports Net regional networks, while ESPN can also air games on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and ABC. Men’s basketball games will be split among ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and Fox Sports Net, and ESPN will get the rights to about two dozen Olympic sports. The conference football championship game and men’s basketball tournament will alternate between the ESPN and Fox networks.

In terms of riches, this new deal puts the Pac-10 ahead of the ACC, which recently signed a $155 million/year deal; the Big 12, which has a $130 million/year package; the SEC, which gets $205 million per year; and the Big Ten, which has a $220 million agreement. The fact that the Pac-10’s negotiations took place after those conferences’ deals were completed, says conference Commissioner Larry Scott, helped push the numbers in Pac-10’s favor.

“It was a confluence of events,” Scott told the New York Times. “We were the last to go, which put a tremendous premium value on our rights. It’s all about market dynamics.”

Full revenue sharing among the 12 member schools of the new Pac-12 will begin with this new contract, in 2012-13.

| Print This Story Print This Story
Join SVG Today:
SVG’s goal is simple: to bring the entire sports industry closer together so that it can more effectively share information about best practices and new technologies that impact the industry. Your SVG membership will enable you to benefit from our continued educational opportunities, valuable event discounts, as well as multiple print and online resources. Click here for details
Become an SVG Sponsor:
The SVG has a variety of sponsorship options to meet the outreach and marketing needs of virtually every sports industry organization. Find out more about our range of industry-supported activities, and discover how your company can support the sports video industry. Click here for details