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Tag:Larry Scott
Posted on: June 27, 2011 3:04 pm
 

iPac? Pac-12 Network could be all digital

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott topped the CBSSports.com Top 100 this year in large part because of his forward-thinking ability and business savvy. While people always assumed that he was a visionary, perhaps we were underestimating his ability to actually see into the future.

According to the always on top of things Jon Wilner of The San Jose Mercury News, one of the options for the soon to come Pac-12 Network is actually a "whopper" (his term, not mine, but accurate) of an idea that would skip a traditional TV network in favor of a non-subscriber based approach that would see the conference partner with tech giants Apple or Google instead of cable distributors like Time Warner, Comcast or Cox.

iPac anyone? GoogleTV-12? It's all on the table for Scott according to Wilner:

"Instead of turning on your TV to watch the Pac-12 Network, you’d turn on your computer (or tablet or mobile phone).

The drawback to this approach is that in the short term, the conference would give up the revenue that comes from subscription fees — it would rely on advertising alone for revenue.

But because of the $250 million flowing in annually from the Fox/ESPN, the league has financial flexibility — it can select the network structure that best fits its philosophy and long-term needs, even if that’s not the most lucrative near-term option."

Wilner also presents two other options for the Pac-12 Network and they are pretty standard: 1. Take an existing channel and rebrand it; 2. Start a new channel from scratch. Both options would take several million dollars in start up capital which might make the school presidents pause a bit.

In talking with several people in the industry and at the conference office, the most likely option is a combination of all three. This would involve taking an existing channel (such as league partner Fox Sports's Los Angeles-based Prime Ticket channel) and rebranding it, with new offices and studios in either Los Angeles or San Francisco and adding a large digital network component to complement it.

Regardless what form the Pac-12 Network takes upon launch next year, chances are it ends up being bold, bleeding edge and forward-thinking.

In other wards, expect Larry Scott's fingerprints all over it.
Posted on: June 3, 2011 7:55 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 7:56 pm
 

SEC distributes record $220 million in 2010

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The SEC announced today that for the 2010-2011 academic year, it would be distributing a record $220 million under its revenue sharing plan to its 12 member institutions. The amount is up slightly from last year's $209 million, which came in the first year of its new media deal with ESPN. Per the SEC's news release, the money being shared comes from "football television, bowls, the SEC Football Championship, basketball television, the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament and NCAA Championships."

That amount works out to about $18.3 million per school, and it serves as a stark reminder to most of the rest of college athletics that the SEC has substantial monetary advantages that almost nobody else has--the Big Ten generates slightly more revenue, and the Pac-12 will be above both conferences' current level when Larry Scott's new contract comes along in 2012-2013. For conferences like the Big 12 and Big East, the task is to make that kind of money come from somewhere, or fall even farther behind in the monetary arms race that big-ticket collegiate athletics has become.

As for the non-BCS, FBS schools go, well, most may as well not even be in the same division.

Here's the breakdown of income from the conference's press release:

Broken down by categories and rounded off, the $220.0 million was derived from $113.0 million from football television, $31.3 million from bowls, $15.3 million from the SEC Football Championship, $31.1 million from basketball television, $5.0 million from the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament and $24.3 million from NCAA Championships.

Not included in the $220.0 million was $14.2 million retained by the institutions participating in bowls and $780,000 divided among all 12 institutions by the NCAA for academic enhancement. 

Posted on: May 31, 2011 3:33 pm
 

Fans have decided on Pac-12 title game logo

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The Pac-12 has released the official logo for its inaugural championship game. Behold:



What's most interesting about the logo isn't necessarily the logo itself, but how the conference went about selecting it. The Pac-12 offered fans four choices in an online poll and anointed the winner above only after it had edged out "logo three" by 1.8 percent over 25,000 votes. (The personal feeling here is that the fans made the right choice; logo three looks a little too Florida-based bowl-esque, and the other two look like failed Super Bowl insignia from the '90s and '80s, respectively.)

We're hoping this is only the beginning of the Pac-12's efforts to crowdsource certain decisions regarding its football season. Turning over executive power to online voters could yield promising results in any number of fields:

Television coverage: Why, yes, we home viewers would like another extended shot of the USC Song Girls over a replay of that last three-yard gain, thank you for asking.

Rules changes: Hey, Larry Scott, want to watch your ratings for this year's Cal-Oregon clash skyrocket? Let us vote on the real punishment for any Bears player caught suffering from a fake injury. (Ooooh, "Sideline hot foot" sounds fun.)

Washington State: We're not sure choosing their next playcall for them will make the cellar-dwelling Cougars any better, but it will make them more interesting.

Uniforms: If Nike's going to force us to watch Oregon play in 692 different uniform combinations, the least they can do is let us do the mix-and-matching ourselves. (First order of business: bringing back the Donald Duck logo on the helmets.)

We're sure you've got your own suggestions for how crowdsourcing could benefit the Pac-12, so leave 'em in the comments.

Posted on: May 6, 2011 3:01 pm
 

Friday Four Links (and a cloud of dust), 5/6

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.

FOUR LINKS ...

1. It hasn't exactly been a state secret, since it's a matter of simple addition, but it wasn't until this post at SEC blog Team Speed Kills this week that we realized that Vanderbilt has seven quarterbacks legitimately battling for the Commodores' starting quarterback position (and six of them on scholarship). And we thought Notre Dame was overrun. (Though, like the Irish and Dayne Crist, we'll be surprised if the current favorite -- Larry Smith -- doesn't hold onto the job as expected.)

2. Since we spent so much time yesterday informing you of games re-scheduled to Fridays, how 'bout another? USC and Colorado will play their first-ever Pac-12 conference game Friday on ESPN2, Nov. 4, instead of Saturday Nov. 5. We're not sure the Trojans really need the boost in exposure of a Friday night Boise State special, but no doubt Larry Scott (and his billion-dollar quest to break his conference out of the regional-network prison they've been confined to the last few seasons) approves.

3. It seems perhaps a little ... tactless for Jim Delany to welcome Lincoln as the Big Ten's new Green Bay when his conference already includes such "charming smallish town" candidates as West Lafayette and Champaign, but no doubt the Huskers won't mind the comparions between their successes and the Packers'.

4. You noticed Oregon honoring the armed forces at their spring game last Saturday, right? If not, well, they did, but the highlight had to have been this speech from Chip Kelly after the game:



AND THE CLOUD ...

Nebraska looks poised to introduce a substantial pistol element to their new Tim Beck- directed offense, which should be good news for Taylor Martinez if the Huskers can make it work ... BYU receiver Cody Hoffman was arrested recently on failure-to-appear charges after he left a speeding ticket unpaid ... Also appearing in the police blotter was Colorado signee Nelson Spruce, arrested for marijuana possession ... former Navy players talk about the death of Osama Bin Laden ... receiver Brandon Felder has transferred from North Carolina home to Pitt to help care for his ailing grandparents; Felder redshirted last fall ... We're told by the first line of this story not to ask, but we're going to anyway: Why were Penn State's original uniforms pink and black? ... and for all the lonelyhearts in Gainesville, have we got the site for you.
Posted on: May 4, 2011 12:38 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 12:38 pm
 

Pac-12 officially announces TV deal

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Though word got out about the Pac-12's new television deal with ESPN and Fox on Tuesday, the conference officially announced its new $2.7 billion agreement that will be bringing a whole lot more Pac-12 football into televisions around the country than ever before. 

“We are equally excited by the creation of Pac-12 Media Enterprises," said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott in a release. "Which will enable us to launch our own Pac-12 television and digital networks, providing signi cantly more exposure for women’s sports and Olympic sports in which the Pac-12 excels, in addition to academic and other campus programming of interest to our fan base. These new platforms will also provide us with an unprecedented opportunity to control the distribution of our intellectual property rights in sports, education and other Conference and membership initiatives.”

Yes, yes, but what does this mean for you, the college football fan? Well, it means you're going to have a lot more games to watch on Saturdays.

There will be 44 Pac-12 regular season games televised across ESPN and Fox platforms. Ten games a year will appear as national broadcasts on either ABC or Fox, with plenty of those games coming in primetime. Then there will be 34 other Pac-12 games broadcast on a combination of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and FX. As for the Pac-12 Network, that will carry any game not on the ESPN or Fox stations, and will average about three games per week.

As for the Pac-12 Championship game, it will be broadcast on Fox in 2011 and 2012, and then alternate between Fox and ESPN for the remaining years of the deal.

 

Posted on: April 18, 2011 12:28 pm
 

Big East and ESPN discussing extension

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Big East and ESPN have had a business relationship for 32 years and the two entities are currently at work to make sure that relationship lasts even longer. The current television deal between ESPN and the Big East runs through 2013, but both sides are currently negotiating a new deal, and early indications are that the new deal will be extremely helpful for the Big East. At the moment, the Big East receives $36 million annually from its deal with ESPN. The new contract that is in the preliminary rounds of discussion could see the conference more than tripling that income.

Sources indicate the early numbers range from $110 million to $130 million annually, but conference sources describe those figures as a starting point for any negotiation. The initial offer would fall short of the $155 million annual payout the ACC will receive from ESPN in a deal that kicks in this summer. But the bold push by ESPN shows the network wants to lock down college rights in the face of increasing competition.

Now, while you might think that the Big East would be in a rush to sign any deal that more than triples its income, that's not the case. Not everybody within the conference is as willing to sign with ESPN right now, but would rather test the open market. Which seems somewhat ridiculous. If your boss came up to you today and said he wanted to triple your salary, odds are that you wouldn't tell the boss that you'd like to see what you'd rather test unemployment first.

Of course, the job economy is quite different than the television rights for major college conferences at the moment.

Just look at the Big 12. A year ago at this time people were basically writing the eulogy for the Big 12 as the conference was losing Nebraska and Colorado, and seemed to be on the precipice of losing Texas and Oklahoma as well. As we know now, the Big 12 did not die, and just signed a new deal with Fox Sports last week that is going to bring in $90 million a year for the conference, while Texas and Oklahoma are busy starting their own networks. Also, if the Big 12 could get $90 million, then you know Larry Scott and the Pac-12 are sitting around licking their chops.

So odds are that if the Big East did decide to test the open market, it may be able to get more than what ESPN is already offering, even if it may still wind up being ESPN signing the check. Now, obviously, the reason the Big East is able to command so much money is not because of football. The conference's basketball league is what really drives the price up, but this new deal could go a long way in improving the conference in football.

If nothing else, it may help keep schools like Pitt and Syracuse around and not looking to relocate. After all, just because the Big Ten says it's done expanding, that doesn't mean it is, and both Pitt and Syracuse came up as expansion candidates with the Big Ten before the conference decided to stop at Nebraska.

Posted on: April 6, 2011 11:43 am
 

Pac-12 Network "a done deal"

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When last we heard from the San-Jose Mercury-News's Jon Wilner on the state of the Pac-12's new television agreements, a "Pac-12 Network" was something the newly-expanded league definitely wanted (for Olympic sports coverage as much as the heightened football profile) but hadn't fully committed to.

According to Wilner today, though, that status has changed:
I’ve also been told by a source familiar with the league’s business model that a Pac-12 Network is more than a negotiating ploy on Scott’s part (which is what some analysts and college sports officials believe).

The network is a done deal and will be launched in Aug. ‘12, in conjunction with the league’s broadcast partner.

The emphasis here is Wilner's; clearly, it's information he's willing to stand behind.

But as he points out, starting up such a network is one thing. Turning it into the money machine the Big Ten Network has become is another. A protracted subscriber-fee battle between the league and Time Warner Cable, the dominant cable provider in California, could become an even more bitter version of the infamous standoff between the Big Ten and Comcast in 2008.

If that's the biggest headline from Wilner's story, there's several more juicy details included, all of which are good news for Pac-12 fans and its member schools:
  • Thanks to the huge sums paid out to the Big 12 (by Fox Sports) and Texas (by ESPN for the forthcoming Longhorn Network), the estimates for the Pac-12's new deal have been ratcheted upwards. Commissioner Larry Scott will reportedly be asking for "a more lucrative contract than the $205 million annual deal the SEC signed with CBS and ESPN three years ago." A deal with dollar figures anywhere near that ballpark would increase each school's annual television cut by millions.
  • Though ESPN and Turner Broadcasting could bid for the league rights, the finalists are expected to be Fox Sports and Comcast. The league has allowed Fox's exclusive negotiating window to expire, presumably in order to see what Comcast (or a third party) would be willing to pony up. L.A.-based Fox may still the favorite, though, with their recent loss of Laker rights to Time Warner fueling the need to provide USC and UCLA games to the Los Angeles market.
  • Once the national broadcast "platform" is in place, the league is expected to schedule weekly Thursday or Friday night football games.
Though little of this is set in stone, one thing is clear: the days of Pac-12 football (and basketball) being the hardest power-conference action to find on the dial will be over soon.
Posted on: March 29, 2011 12:49 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 2:11 pm
 

Pac-12 Commish: Sunday games a possibility

Posted by Chip Patterson

Regardless of what side you are taking in the current NFL labor dispute, football fans can agree that our Sundays are going to feel very empty in the fall if there is no NFL football.  With a hungry audience trained to watch football on Sundays, some members of the college football world are considering the possibilities of filling that void in the event of a continued lockout.  

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has been working to increase the national attention on the conference, erasing some of the "east coast bias."  Rivals' Tom Dienhart is reporting that Scott has considered moving some games to Sunday should there be no NFL season.

"We certainly are monitoring the situation," Scott said. "We have no plans in place at this time, but you want to be prepared and consider all options. Still, these labor situations have a way of getting done the closer they get to a critical situation."

There are several obstacles that Scott would face, mostly having to do with the existing television deals.  In the past, networks have taken original programming from their vault to fill space suddenly left vacant by a sporting event.  It would be extremely difficult for the Pac-12 to put together new deals on such short notice, particularly if Scott is talking about capturing a national audience.  But if there really is no NFL season in September, viewers might embrace the bonus college football.  It's not a bad thing for Scott and other commissioners to consider, but the contractual obligations seem difficult to pull off on such short notice. 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com