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Thursday, May 10, 2012
College TV rights deals undergo makeovers

By Kristi Dosh

The Atlantic Coast Conference’s television contract extension with ESPN, announced Wednesday, is the first of three major conference deals expected to be finalized in the next few months.

The ACC contract was extended after the addition of new members Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh last September. The shifting of schools as part of conference realignment also led to changes in the Big 12 and Southeastern Conference that has those existing deals in play, too.

The ACC deal is worth $3.6 billion over the next 15 years, according to The Associated Press. That puts the ACC behind only the Big Ten and Pac-12 in terms of the average revenue per school, per year by one measure (viewing all current contracts divided between conferences’ 2012-13 membership.)

SportsBusiness Daily has reported the Big 12 has verbally agreed to a new contract with ESPN and FOX for its first-tier rights for $2.6 billion over 13 years. That would bring the per-year average for the Big 12 to $200 million and the per-school, per-year average to $20 million. The SEC is expected to reopen its contract talks with ESPN following the addition of the University of Missouri and Texas A&M.

ESPN had no comment on any of the deals, which vary in what slate of rights are included, but a spokesman did say that the network is in regular contact with its business partners.

With all of the shuffling and extensions, it can be hard to keep up. Here’s a listing, according to information from The Associated Press, SportsBusiness Daily, SportsBusiness Journal and Adweek, of where things stand now. The Big 12 extension is not included because it has not been finalized. Also, per-year averages and per-school, per-year averages are straight averages and do not take into account actual variances by year as stipulated in individual contracts.

BIG12

First-tier rights: $480 million, ESPN , eight years through 2015-16
Second-tier rights: $1.17 billion, FOX, 13 years through 2024-25
Per-year average: $150 million
Per-school, per-year average: $15 million

PAC-12

First- and second-tier rights: $3 billion, ESPN/FOX , 12 years through 2023-24
Per-year average: $250 million
Per-school, per-year average: $20.8 million

SEC

First-tier rights: $825 million, CBS, 15 years through 2023-24
Second-tier rights: $2.25 billion, ESPN, 15 years through 2023-24
Per-year average: $205 million
Per-school, per-year average: $14.6 million

BIG TEN

First-tier rights: $1 billion, ESPN, 10 years through 2016-17
Second-tier rights: $2.8 billion, Big Ten Network, 25 years through 2031-32
Select basketball rights (minimum of 24 games, men’s tournament semifinal and championship games): $72 million, CBS, six years through 2016-17
Football Championship Game: $145 million, FOX, six years through 2016
Per-year average: $248.2 million
Per-school, per-year average: $20.7 million

ACC

First-, second- and third-tier rights: $3.6 billion, ESPN, 15 years through 2026-27
Per-year average: $240 million
Per-school, per-year average: $17.1 million

BIG EAST

First-tier rights: $200 million, ESPN , six years for basketball through 2012-13; seven years for football through 2012-13
Second-tier rights: Basketball, $54 million, CBS, six years through 2012-13

Some important notes:

•  No per-year average or per-school, per-year average has been calculated for the Big East, because it does not make public its revenue-sharing method between basketball-only members, football-only members and full members.

•  A number of these contracts have escalator clauses, including the Pac-12 contract. In the early years of that contract, it will be $180 million per year (or $15 million per school) and in the later years it escalates, according to statements made by Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott via conference call following the contract’s announcement.

•  Deals for third-tier rights vary by conference. Some third-tier rights are bundled by conferences and sold to regional networks while others are retained by schools and sold individually to local or regional networks. For example, Pac-12 schools have pledged their third-tier rights to the upcoming Pac-12 Network, while the University of Texas has granted third-tier rights to The Longhorn Network, a partnership between ESPN, IMG and the University.