Larry Scott is the real God’s Gift

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by: Griffin Bennett

As I’m sure you’ve heard today, the Pac-12’s new TV deal has been announced today and it’s a game changer. Larry Scott, the new Pac-10/12 commissioner has only been in charge for less than two years and has already expanded and nailed down a record setting TV deal. That’s one hell of an entrance.

Here are some details of the new deal, which will go into effect for the 2012/13 season, and how they effect the basketball season.

  • New deal is between ESPN/FOX with many games being broadcast on the newly created Pac-12 Network which the conference will run and own by itself.
  • All teams will share the revenue generated equally between all school with exception to Colorado and Utah taking discounts the first 2 years.
  • The entire deal (all sports) is rumored to be worth $250 million per year over 12 years, which puts the Pac-12 ahead of all conferences, including the SEC.
  • 68 regular-season men’s basketball games, appearing on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and Fox Sports Net.
  • The balance of regular-season men’s basketball games, over 120 each year, will be featured exclusively on either the Pac-12 Network or Pac 12 Digital Network.
  • The Conference’s men’s basketball tournament (quarterfinals, semi-finals and the championship game) will be shown on ESPN/ESPN2 or FOX Sports/FX. ESPN will broadcast the first basketball championships and then rotate with FOX/FX each year thereafter. The balance of the tournament will be featured exclusively on the Pac 12 Network. Fox Sports Net continues to hold all rights to the 2012 tournament.
  • The new 12-year deal goes into effect in 2012, and includes “TV Everywhere” platform rights for the broadcast, national cable and Pac-12 Network and Pac-12 Digital Network packages (the ability to distribute games on any and all available platforms, including the computer, mobile and tablets).
  • According to Larry Scott via Bob Condotta on twitter: “Larry Scott says Pac-12 will likely continue its deal with ROOT Sports in Seattle area, which used to be FSN. But no football games on FSN anyway, so would only impact basketball.”

What does all of this mean? The new Pac-12 has taken a huge step out from under the East Coast shadow and will get far more national exposure. According to the details, the networks (ESPN/Pac-12/Fox) will “draft” the weekly games so that each gets their fair share. A key piece is that ROOT Sports (formerly FSN NW) will continue it’s deal in the Seattle area. While that is disappointing news, Larry Scott has assured that every game will be available to watch locally, if not nationally. While FSN’s grainy HD is the worst in cable, I’d much rather watch the Dawgs play on there than have to tune into some website where I have to sit through Derek Glasser comment with the personality of wet towel.

While ROOT Sports will likely play host to many UW games, surely ESPN will want to get their share of the Dawgs as I fully expect many of their games to be the “most wanted” of the week. If you don’t already get ESPNU on your current cable package, by next year it will be a requirement as many UW games during the week will be aired there. Another important piece of this is the new Pac-12 Network that Larry Scott announced. It will be self run/operated, rather then partnered with another distributer (Like the Big 10 Network is with Turner) which has it’s own risks/rewards. Without going into too much detail, the main thing to come away with is that many games will be aired on this new network which will give the Pac-12 new revenue streams while also not allowing any games to fall through the cracks and not get aired. Great, great, great news.

With Fox and ESPN rotating the Pac-12 Championship, it made too much sense to keep the tourney at Staples Center with both companies having L.A. bases in which to broadcast from. While this is disappointing news, Larry Scott has said that this detail isn’t set in stone. He will hear the arguments from each school regarding a yearly rotation and then make final decision. How many more years of less than 2,000 fans can the conference take before the realize the L.A. is a terrible sports city? Let’s pray that the non-L.A. schools can get in Scott’s ear and chance his mind. A Seattle/Portland/San Francisco/Phoenix/Denver/Los Angeles tournament rotation would be AMAZING.

Lastly, and most importantly, this deal is worth a TON of money which will help each team grow their program. Most athletic programs will quadruple their yearly TV revenue. UW’s planned renovation of the basketball facilities could be a main benefactor from this news. Today is a big day for the new Pac-12. Bow Down.