May 17, 2011

Pac-12 raises bar on league TV deals

The newly reconfigured Pac-12 announced its new TV deal less than two weeks ago, and the staggering figures -- each league member will receive an average of $21 million annually during the 12-year life of the deal -- still are resonating with school officials nationally.

The Big East will be the next league to belly up to the TV trough, and though the league's deal doesn't end until 2013, negotiations reportedly already have started. TCU's admission into the league next fall adds the coveted Dallas-Fort Worth TV market, and league and school officials still are weighing whether Villanova will become a football-playing member of the league; Villanova is in a Philadelphia suburb, and the Philly TV market is a big one, as well.

Here's a quick look at each Big Six league's TV deal.

PAC-12
The deal starts: A 12-year deal with ABC/ESPN/Fox begins in the fall of 2012
The take: Average of $21 million per school annually (deal has "escalator clause," meaning early payments will be less than $21 million but later payments will be more)
The buzz: Commissioner Larry Scott obviously was not comfortable with the league's status nationally, and his work paid off with the largest TV deal for a conference. A.J. Maestas, a Chicago-based consultant whose company, Navigate Marketing, does media research and measurement, to the Seattle Times: "They've outkicked their coverage. When you look at the affinity, the fan passion, the ratings, it's not the No. 1 conference." The league benefited from Comcast/NBC's interest in televising its games.
BIG TEN
The deal started: A 10-year deal with ABC/ESPN started in 2007; the Big Ten Network deal runs through 2032
The take: An average of $18.3 million per school annually
The buzz: Commissioner Jim Delany was ahead of the curve in coming up with a conference-centric TV network; the league owns 51 percent of the Big Ten Network. Some folks laughed at the time -- but there's no one laughing now.
SEC
The deal started: A 15-year deal with CBS/ESPN started in 2009
The take: An average of $17.1 million per school annually
The buzz: Commissioner Mike Slive set the bar high, as there seemingly is a live SEC sporting event on every day of the academic year. While the Pac-12 deal has left the SEC in the dust, have no fear, SEC folks: When your deal is up, the money will flow at a record rate.
ACC
The deal started: A 12-year deal with ABC/ESPN started in 2010
The take: An average of $12.9 million per school annually
The buzz: At the time, the ACC seemed to sign an over-market-value deal. That doesn't seem to be the case anymore, and the ACC now risks falling behind the Pac-12 in terms of how much power it wields.
BIG 12
The deal started: The league has a two-tier deal, with ABC/ESPN and Fox. The original ABC/ESPN eight-year deal ends in 2014; a 13-year deal with Fox was signed earlier this year and ends in 2024.
The take: Depends on the school
The buzz: This one is a bit complicated because the Big 12 does not distribute its TV money equally. In addition, Texas is starting its own network (forget league networks; the Longhorns are at the forefront of the next frontier; well, for schools of that ilk, anyway) and will be making $15 million annually for the next 20 years -- and it doesn't have to share. There's no question that the other nine league members know their bread is buttered by Texas.
BIG EAST
The deal started: A seven-year deal with ABC/ESPN started in 2007 and ends in 2013. The league already has begun negotiations for its next deal.
The take: Depends on the school
The buzz: This one also is a bit complicated because there have been eight football schools and 16 basketball schools -- and those numbers will increase with TCU's addition in the 2012-13 academic year. Big East schools that play both football and basketball receive a bit more than $3 million per year; basketball-only schools receive about half that.

NOTE: The Mountain West's TV deal with CBS College Sports runs through 2014, and each school receives about $1.3 million annually. Conference USA's deal with CBS College Sports runs through 2016, and each school also receives about $1.3 million annually.

(Sources: Various media reports, conference media guides, SportsBusiness Daily)




 

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