Pac-12 announces $3 billion TV deal with ESPN and Fox

May 4, 2011, 1:39 a.m.

The Pac-12 is getting a whole lot richer.

The conference inked a new 12-year, $3 billion television deal for football and men’s basketball on Tuesday morning with the Fox and ESPN networks, according to Richard Sandomir of The New York Times. The deal will kick in during the 2012-13 academic year, after the current rights deal expires and new conference members Colorado and Utah are fully integrated into the structure of the Pac-12 (the conference is still the Pac-10, but will begin being called the Pac-12 in July).

Pac-12 announces $3 billion TV deal with ESPN and Fox
Stanford Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby, left, and the other Pac-12 conference athletic directors have to be happy about the increased revenue the conference's new TV deal is bringing in (IAN GARCIA-DOTY/The Stanford Daily).

As part of Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott’s desire to have every Pac-12 football and men’s basketball game televised, the conference will also launch its own television network, and will be the sole owner of that network. The Pac-12 cable network will broadcast games not selected by ESPN or Fox and will go on air for the first time in 2012. It will have its own online content-streaming channel, similar to ESPN’s ESPN3.

The deal with Fox and ESPN will pay out approximately $250 million per year. Unlike the Pac-10’s current appearance-based method of disbursing revenue, the funds from this rights deal will be evenly split among the conference’s 12 members.

Each school in the Pac-12—Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington and Washington State—will receive about $21 million annually, a large increase from previous years. The current TV deal pays out $60 million annually, averaging out to $6 million per school for each year, and that number varies based on the number of times a given team appears on TV (an agreement that has historically favored the Southern California schools).

The contract also includes the Pac-12 championship game in football, which will be held this December for the first time. The game will pit the champions of each of the conference’s divisions against each other, and will be played at the home site of the team with the better record. The television rights for the game will alternate between Fox and ABC (which, along with ESPN, is a member of the Disney family of networks.)

Scott will formally announce the deal Wednesday morning at the Pac-12’s spring meetings in Phoenix.

The Pac-12’s new television contracts outstrip those of the other BCS automatic-qualifying conferences by a hefty margin. The Atlantic Coast Conference signed a $155 million-per-year deal and the Big-12 Conference will receive $130 million annually under its most recent agreement (though the Big 12 only has 10 programs). The Pac-12 even outdistanced the two largest conferences, the Big Ten and Southeastern Conferences, which currently receive $220 million and $205 million respectively on an annual basis.

Stanford also announced that it will switch radio responsibilities for football and men’s basketball. Starting next fall, Stanford games will be broadcast on San Francisco’s KNBR-1050 AM, a move away from the Cardinal’s current provider, XTRA Sports 860 AM. Cardinal Sports LLC, the multimedia and marketing partner for Stanford Athletics, did not disclose details of the agreement. It was also not disclosed whether Stanford’s student-run radio station, KZSU, would retain rights to broadcast football and men’s basketball.


Kabir Sawhney is currently a desk editor for the News section. He served as the Managing Editor of Sports last volume.

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