Discussion

Progressive deals should aid players, too

Updated: July 5, 2011, 1:04 PM ET
By Jay Bilas

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott took over leadership of the league in 2009, has established himself as a visionary leader in college sports, and has positioned the conference for a meteoric rise. Under Scott's leadership, the Pac-12 will grow in visibility, profitability and power. Everyone will benefit except, of course, for the players.

Scott has expanded and reorganized the league, adding Colorado and Utah (and almost landing Texas), and has also negotiated the largest and most lucrative conference television rights deal in the history of collegiate athletics. Scott was able to convince league members to share revenue more equitably. And, the Pac-12 recently inked a 12-year, $3 billion contract with Fox and ESPN that will benefit the Pac-12 to the tune of $250 million annually, including $21 million per league member. The Pac-12 is soon to be flush with cash, and the revenue stream doesn't stop there.

As part of its deal, the Pac-12 held back some premium games and content. My assumption was the Pac-12 was preparing to launch its own network in the way the Big Ten has and Texas is preparing to do. Under Jim Delany's leadership, the Big Ten established its own wildly successful television network. The Big Ten Network is throwing off a reported $22 million per member school, and that number will only grow with Nebraska coming into the league. The revenue model established by Delany is very attractive to his competitors, and Scott may have learned the most from Delany's aggressive moves and turning the Pac-12's gaze to the digital domain.

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