Pac-12 Network will control ... everything

November, 7, 2011
11/07/11
12:46
PM ET
The new Pac-12 Enterprises has reached an agreement that will give it control of third-tier TV rights -- games that are not picked up by the Pac-12’s primary media partners, Fox and ESPN -- as well as digital and sponsorship rights in the wireless and multiplatform video distributor categories.

Or as the release from the conference says: "[The conference will ] aggregate and control specific school rights, including all local audio-visual and website rights, and key sponsorship categories, putting the conference in position to create an integrated multi-media marketing platform and the first-ever collegiate website portal, it was announced today."

It's a big deal. Obviously the Pac-12 believes it can generate significant revenue by controlling as much content as possible in as many platforms as possible.

In fact, the Pac-12 will pay IMG College and Learfield sports around $15 million a year for the rights, according to the Sports Business Daily.
The new arrangement positions the conference to put all TV, digital and sponsorship rights owned by the conference under the Pac-12 Enterprises banner, making it the first league to control and bundle all of those rights. Pac-12 Enterprises President Gary Stevenson will oversee the integration of those rights.

Here's the official release from the conference.
With unprecedented collaboration, the Pac-12 has reached an agreement with Learfield Sports and IMG College to aggregate andcontrol specific school rights, including all local audio-visual and website rights, and key sponsorship categories, putting the Conference in position to create an integrated multi-media marketing platform and the first-ever collegiate website portal, it was announced today.

“IMG College and Learfield Sports are long-standing and important partners of our schools and being able to work together with a shared vision for the future will elevate the value and long term strength of the Pac-12 Conference,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said. “It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

As part of the agreement, IMG College and Learfield Sports retain all local, national and satellite radio rights, publishing, hospitality, in-stadium, arena and other sponsorship assets dictated by each member institution. Learfield Sports manages Colorado, Oregon State and Stanford. IMG College partners with six Pac-12 schools, including Arizona, Arizona State,California, Oregon, UCLA and Washington State. In addition, IMG College represents Washington in certain sponsorship sales areas. The Conference had already secured these specific rights from USC, Utah and Washington.

"We've been privileged to work with seven outstanding member institutions in the Pac-12 for a number of years and enjoy excellent relationships with each," said Ben Sutton, President of IMG College. "These fine universities are an extraordinarily important part of the national platform we are building at IMG College, and we look forward to working together with Larry Scott and the athletic directors on those campuses to build an even stronger national brand and profile for the Pac-12."

"We're excited to collaborate with the conference on this creative initiative. This is an important step for us and the conference as we work to create substantial value for the schools and our partnerships. Larry's leadership on this effort was critical and facilitated the highest value outcome for the conference and its members," said Learfield's President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Brown. "This marks a significant cooperative effort by all parties involved."

By introducing a conference controlled website portal, where Pac-12 Enterprises will host, manage and market all members’ official athletic websites, the Pac-12 will provide a common digital platform that all member universities will be able to leverage as soon as their current deals expire. This groundbreaking approach will let the Conference foster innovation across a common technology platform, with an aggregated audience, while member schools can focus on developing engaging digital content chronicling the accomplishments of their talented student-athletes. In addition, IMG College and Learfield Sports will continue to sell certain advertising inventory on school websites in collaboration with the Pac-12 Conference.

This marks the second significant aggregation of media rights by the Pac-12. In October 2010, Scott announced the pooling offirst and second tier media rights, which led to the landmark media rights agreement with ESPN and Fox, as well as the creation of the Pac-12 Networks, a collection of one national and six regional networks.

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