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Utah Utes can expect a huge revenue boost

Published: Tuesday, May 3 2011 7:16 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Simply put, "It's gonna be a "bright, bright, bright, bright sun-shiny day" for the University of Utah and the Pacific-12 Conference.

Already is, as a matter of fact.

Wednesday morning in Phoenix, where the high temperature is expected to push 100 degrees, Pac-10 (soon to be Pac-12) commissioner Larry Scott will announce that the conference has agreed to a 12-year television contract with Fox and ESPN worth nearly $3 billion. The Associated Press is reporting that the deal, which begins in 2012-13, will guarantee each of the schools in the conference approximately $21 million per year.

Utah, which made $1.2 million in television money in the Mountain West Conference, will elevate to a full share of the new Pac-12 deal over a three-year period — receiving 50 percent in 2012-13 and 75 percent in 2013-14 before getting the full amount the following year.

"We're excited about what Larry Scott and the staff and the presidents are doing with our TV contract," said Utah athletics director Chris Hill, who declined to discuss any specifics pending Scott's scheduled press conference. "It's best that he leads the charge on that."

In addition to announcing that the league, which will expand to 12 teams on July 1 with the addition of Utah and Colorado, is quadrupling its media rights fee, Scott is expected to unveil plans for the conference's own network.

According to the Associated Press, the Pac-12 will maintain sole ownership of the new venture. Although that could lead to distribution difficulties, it'll allow the conference to control all programming and keep all profits — unlike the profitable Big Ten Network, which Fox has a 49 percent ownership stake in.

To bolster things, rights to select Pac-12 football and men's basketball were not offered to Fox and ESPN. They'll be aired on the conference's network along with Olympic and non-revenue sports. The Pac-12 is also expected to start a digital network to air games online that aren't on Fox or ESPN.

Details of the Pac-12 media deal were first reported by Sports Business Daily and The New York Times. The conference made less than $60 million from its rights last season, but will surpass recent deals signed by the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and SEC.

The Associated Press notes that the new Pac-12 arrangements meets all three goals Scott sought to accomplish in the negotiations — increased revenue, more exposure and an in-house network for non-revenue sports and branding.

Fox and ESPN will split rights to football games. ESPN will also use ABC, while Fox can utilize other entities like FX and Fox Sports Net regional outlets.

Men's basketball contests will reportedly most often air on ESPN and Fox Sports Net.

Scott's announcement highlights two days of Pac-12 meetings that include gatherings of athletic directors, as well as the league's head football and basketball coaches.

LIVE STREAMING:

The press conference will be streamed live on www.pac-10.org. To view the live stream of the press conference, go to this URL: www.pac-10.org/livestream.aspx. We will also embed the video below, so check back when it goes live.

email: dirk@desnews.com

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