May 4, 2011
TUCSON, Ariz. - The Pac-12 Conference today announced a partnership with ESPN and FOX Sports Media Group that will increase broadcast opportunities across over-the-air, cable, digital and mobile platforms.
The 12-year deal, which goes into effect in 2012, also includes the creation of a new media company, Pac-12 Media Enterprises. The new entity will control rights and distribute on its platforms the Pac-12 games not licensed to ESPN and FOX Sports. This broadcast entity, which will own the Pac-12 Network, the Pac-12 Digital Network and Pac-12 Properties, is wholly owned by the Pac-12 Conference and will exist independently of the newly announced ESPN and FOX Sports arrangements.
Commissioner Larry Scott said that it was a "landmark deal" on several fronts. He pointed out that the Pac-12's member institutions would, for the first time ever, share equally in the revenue from the new arrangement, and that the equal revenue distribution would start immediately when the deal goes into effect. Further, he stated that the conference accomplished three goals with the deal: to increase revenue, to increase national exposure and to launch the Pac-12 Network.
"We are especially delighted to be strengthening and expanding our relationship with ESPN and FOX Sports to deliver an unprecedented level of innovative sports programming to large national audiences across the country," said Scott. "With this agreement, we will deliver our events over two broadcast networks and at least five premiere national cable platforms. In addition, we will have our own Pac-12 national cable TV platform and Pac-12 Digital Network platform."
University of Arizona director of athletics Greg Byrne also noted the added benefits of the new agreement. "It is a historic deal for the conference and our university," said Byrne. "It gives us a much-needed revenue stream and at the same time improves our ability to compete on a national level for many years to come. This deal dramatically increases our exposure both locally and nationally. I couldn't be happier with this deal."
Scott mentioned that all football and men's basketball games will be produced over a variety of platforms. Additionally, there are greater broadcast possibilities for women's basketball and Olympic sport coverage.
University of Arizona President Robert N. Shelton also spoke positively of the deal, stating "This is a landmark deal that will have far-reaching positive implications for the University of Arizona. Not only will it provide extraordinary exposure for the UA's athletic teams and student-athletes, but also generate critical funding to ensure that our performance - on the field, on the court or in the classroom - continues to be of the highest quality. By any measurement, this agreement with ESPN and FOX is a winner for the Pac-12, the UA and our student-athletes."
The exposure mentioned by Shelton comes in the form of the Pac-12's "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 computer, mobile and tablets). Its content highlights include:
44 regular-season football games televised annually on select ESPN and FOX broadcast or national cable networks, including ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, FOX broadcast network and FX.
10 regular-season football games per year will be on a combination of the ABC and FOX broadcast networks with full national clearance with a substantial commitment for primetime coverage.
34 regular-season games on national cable networks, FX, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.
The remaining regular-season football games, an average of approximately three games per week, will be featured exclusively on the Pac-12 Network.
The Pac-12 Football Championship Game, starting with FOX Sports in 2012 (FOX already has rights to the inaugural 2011 game) and then rotating between FOX Sports and ESPN each year. The game will take place on a Friday night primetime.
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.
Five women's basketball games, including the Championship game of the Pac-12 women's basketball tournament, plus 10 more Olympic sports events, on the ESPN family of networks.
The Pac-12 Network will feature exclusively approximately an additional 200 live Olympic sports telecasts across 30 men's and women's sports annually.
The Pac-12 Digital Networks will feature several hundred other live Pac-12 athletic events on an annual basis, not covered by ESPN, FOX Sports or the Pac-12 Network.