NetWorks Sports Poll of the Week – Should Texas Stay or Should they Go?

Just when we were all settling in to watch another exciting college football season and getting used to seeing Nebraska mentioned as a Big Ten school or Utah actually being in the conversation for a BCS berth, the folks in the Burnt Orange started flaunting their new Longhorn Network.  As a result, their rivals to the east, the Texas A&M Aggies started to make headlines as rumors swirled about their desire to leave the Bix XII and the SEC’s interest in adding them to make a mega-conference.

After several days of fiction, the SEC Presidents came out and said that they were not interested in adding another school…just yet!  Well, that is sure to change as A&M has notified the proper folks of their plans to “SEC-ede” from the Big XII Conference and the consensus is that they will soon announce that they will land in SEC country.

While Twitter went ballistic tonight as Under Armour and the Maryland Terrapins debuted one of their 32 iterations of uniform combinations (let’s hope the other 31 look much better), the main topic of conversation this weekend involved the great state of Texas.  If you’re a fan of sports, you’ve had this discussion at the water cooler, via Twitter, and at your family BBQ…

Take our poll:  If the SEC opens it’s arm to Texas A&M, what will Texas (and in essence, Oklahoma’s) response be.  Should the Longhorns stay in the Big XII or should they go elsewhere?

[polldaddy poll=5427824]  

Industry News – Pac-12 Media Deal

Impact of New Pac-12 Media Contract
Written by Angela Taylor

While we still don’t realize the long-term implications on the collegiate athletics landscape, a week ago today, Pac-10/Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott stood before an audience of media members, coaches, and athletic administrators gathered in a ballroom at the Arizona Biltmore and shared the nuances of a new 12-year/$3 Billion media deal between the Pac-12 and Fox & ESPN.

The press conference lasted for less than 22 minutes but has captivated the attention of sports executives around the world.  One senses that Larry Scott, through his innovative leadership, is setting the Pac-12 Conference up to challenge what many consider to be the elite conferences in college sports (the SEC and the Big XII).  Watch the press conference here.

Yesterday, the Pac-12 announced their inaugural early TV Schedule for games that will be televised on ABC/ESPN during the 2011 football season.  The schedule, which includes 20 games televised on either Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, pales in comparison to the extensive coverage Pac-12 football & men’s basketball will receive under the new deal.  Fans, however, will have to wait until 2012-13 to enjoy this widespread coverage.

Some highlights of the Pac-12 Media Contract

  • Twelve year, $3 Billion contract from 2012-13 to 2023-24
  • Pac-12 schools have agreed upon an equal revenue share model, so annual revenue will be distributed equally to all 12 schools on an annual basis
  • There is an annual escalator throughout the life of the contract, but schools will average $20+ million per school year over the 12-year period
  • Pac-12 also created Pac-12 Media Enterprises, which will own the Pac-12 Network, Pac-12 Digital Network, and Pac-12 Enterprises
  • Forty-four regular season football games & 68 regular season men’s basketball games will be broadcast across ESPN or FOX national broadcast networks or national cable networks.  For more on the read the press release.

One of the more interesting aspects of the deal is that Scott was savvy enough to convince UCLA & USC to share the wealth equally.  USC, a program that many consider to have as strong a brand as the University of Texas while residing in the 2nd largest media market in the United States, probably had enough clout to hold out for a larger share.  Nonetheless, each of the teams in the newly formed Pac-12 conference, will benefit greatly from Scott’s aggressive & innovative negotiations over the long-term.

The Pac-12 owns a plethora of content (academic & athletic) to distribute across the different channels and intends to do so when its Pac-12 Network and Pac-12 Digital Network come to fruition.  As the Big Ten can attest, getting to the point where the network is profitable may be quite a chore.  A task that can be made easier if Scott can find a way to negotiate a relationship with a cable provider to ensure that the new channel is available in households across the country.

So while the long-term verdict is still out, Scott & the Pac-12 get two thumbs up for the monumental shift of the college landscape that we all witnessed one week ago.