Scott’s masterstroke came in the spring of 2011, when the league signed long-term deals with ESPN and Fox. In addition to collecting $3 billion — it was the richest TV deal ever signed by a college conference — Scott retained the rights to 35 football games, thereby guaranteeing in-demand content for the not-yet-announced network.
He dangled that content in front of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox and Bright House and got them to partner on the Pac-12 Networks. Then Scott used the up-front cash received from the league’s media deals to fund the startup costs of the networks, believed to be between $50 million and $100 million.
The schools weren’t on the hook for a dime.
“The networks will be self-supporting,” Scott said.
And because of the financial cushion provided by the ESPN and Fox deals — each Pac-12 school will receive an average of $21 million per year for 12 years — the conference could create the networks it wanted, not the networks it needed.
“The primary goals are not financial,” Scott added. “It’s a long-term opportunity to serve athletes and fans. “
©2012 San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)
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