Canzano: Big 12 beats Pac-12 to finish line -- but not bottom line
Pac-12 source: "We are very confident to beat that number."
The Big 12 Conference stepped in front of the Pac-12 Conference and got its media rights deal done early. It’s a six-year contract with ESPN and FOX, as first reported on Sunday by Sports Business Journal.
The total value of the deal is $2.28 billion.
Average annual payout, split between members: $380 million.
The market for live sports programming is hot. Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark got the extension done early. Give him credit for doing what he promised he’d do. It sounds like the Big 12 beat the Pac-12 to the finish line — but not the bottom line.
The Big 12’s average per-school annual payout: $31.6 million.
“We are very confident to beat that number,” a Pac-12 source told me Sunday.
The Pac-12 is still negotiating. The original projections from industry sources placed the annual payouts in the range of $27 million to $29 million for the 10 remaining members. That would have put the Pac-12 Conference 10-15 percent below the Big 12. But that was before Amazon and Apple waded into the fray.
Amazon and Apple want to be in the college live-sports programming space but neither has the infrastructure to produce games. Amazon uses the NFL Network for the Thursday Night Football production. The Pac-12 Networks already handles production of 36 football games.
Maybe we should wait to see what happens, but it feels like the Pac-12 could land somewhere in the neighborhood of $32-34 million per school.
I’ve long maintained that the Pac-12’s “Four Corners” schools (Utah, Colorado, Arizona, ASU) weren’t interested in leaving for the Big 12. It would be more of a lateral move, than anything. The figures we’re now seeing underscore that sentiment.
I suspect the Big 12’s strategy was to get stable. It preserves its relationship with ESPN and FOX. It can now turn the focus to trying to get its members to sign a long-term grant of rights. That’s a positive, given the landscape.
Now, it’s the Pac-12’s turn.
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