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Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Pac-12: All football, basketball games on TV

By staff

PHOENIX -- Said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott: Game on.

As in: Every Pac-12 football and men's basketball game will be televised on either ESPN, Fox Sports or a new Pac-12 network, according to the new television contract the conference announced Wednesday.

Starting in 2012, there will be 44 football games shown on ESPN and Fox, including eight games per season on Thursday and Friday nights. The Pac-12 Network will show 36 football games.

Scott wouldn't -- nor would representatives from ESPN and Fox Sports on hand for the news conference formerly announcing the conference's new mega-broadcast deal -- talk about the terms of the 12-year agreement, but it's been widely reported as averaging about $250 million annually, which breaks down to about $21 million per program.

Which is a bit more than the $45 million that was unevenly distributed in past years.

Scott also announced the formation of Pac-12 Media Enterprises, which will own the Pac-12 Network, the Pac-12 Digital Network and Pac-12 Properties. Details of the network, such as how and where it will be distributed, haven't been worked out as of yet, but Scott said he was confident it would prove a successful venture.

"It's going to be distributor friendly," Scott said.

Scott said there were three areas of emphasis that the conference focused on during the negotiation process: 1. Increasing revenue; 2. Increasing exposure; 3. Establishing a network. Fair to say all three were accomplished.

Money, obviously, is the way contracts are measured, but Scott said the dramatically improved exposure was a top priority.

"That was always paramount to every discussion we had," Scott said.

Further, the increased revenue isn't just about football and basketball. For many athletic departments struggling with finances, some non-revenue sports will get a second-life, as well as more exposure.

"This announcement today has saved sports -- student-athlete opportunities -- that would have been cut," said Scott, who called the new deal "a game-changer in Olympic sports."

Scott was asked if it was meaningful that the conference eclipsed TV deals previously signed by the SEC and Big Ten.

"We didn't look at it from a competitive standpoint," he said, before adding, "It was a very dynamic landscape right now."

In other words, the conference benefited from a perfect climate to have a major conference's media rights for sale.

Some notes: