Posted on: May 3, 2011 11:28 am
Edited on: May 4, 2011 10:09 am

Pac-12 will announce record deal

The Pac-12 will announce the largest television rights fees deal in college conference history on Wednesday CBSSports.com has learned.

 Initial reports Tuesday that the league would announce a 12-year, $2.7 billion agreement with ESPN and Fox were low, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. Instead, the new deal will make the Pac-12 No. 1 among all conferences in an age where rights fees are skyrocketing. The 12-year, $3 billion deal will be worth an average of more than $20 million per school each year over the course of the agreement. The final numbers could be staggering considering that the Pac-12 is going to announce a broadcast and cable deal only at this time. There is the digitial (phone/Internet) and network component still out there.

 In the reports that surfaced Tuesday Pac-12 teams would average $18.75 million per year per school. That figure alone would double the current take of Pac-10 schools. The New York Times also reported the deal Tuesday morning. 

 How a sleepy league that was routinely No. 4 rights fees could shoot up to to No. 1 is explained here

 The announcement should mark the ultimate payoff for commissioner Larry Scott. The former CEO of the Women's Tennis Association has been on the job less than two years. Already he has shaken up not only his league but also college sports. He nearly succeeded last year in a raid of the Big 12 in expanding the Pac-10 from 10 to 16 teams. Falling short of that, the league invited Utah and Colorado and instituted a championship game beginning this year.  

 Scott already is on record intending to market the Pac-12 in Pacific Rim countries, including China. 

 NBC-Universal dropped out of the Pac-12 idding last week according to the Sports Business Journal. The conference will be part of a Saturday night primetime package on ESPN also according to SBJ.

The league has scheduled a Wednesday morning press conference at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, meaning Arizona State will be the "host" school of the largest TV deal in college history. 

Posted on: April 13, 2011 2:21 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2011 3:37 pm

Big 12 to announce new TV deal

The Big 12 is expected to announce a deal with Fox this afternoon for the reconstituted league's secondary television rights. The league has scheduled a 4 pm ET conference call with commissioner Dan Beebe.

The 13-to-15-year deal is expected to approach $90 million annually. It would be worth more than $1 billion in total. ESPN/ABC still hold primary basketball and football rights through 2015-16. 

The latest announcement is the upshot of Texas keeping the league together last summer after turning down an offer to join the Pac-10. The new number is expected to a be 350 percent increase in the current rights fees paid by Fox despite the loss of Nebraska and Colorado. 

Texas turned down the Pac-10 offer after Fox and ESPN, according to reports, promised rights fees that in the end could be worth $20 million per school per year. Fox reportedly promised a significant increase while ESPN said it would continue its current payouts to the Big 12 despite the loss of Nebraska and Colorado.

The average fan might wonder where the money is coming from. Ultimately, it will come from them in their cable bill. Sports is seen as the ultimate reality show. Because results are immediately available, sports are unlikely to be DVRed which is attractive to advertisers. The ACC doubled its takes in its latest deal with ESPN. Fox finished a close second in that deal. The money left over may be going to the Big 12. There are reports that the new Pac 12 deal may approach the annual take of the SEC and Big Ten. Each of those schools receive a reported $22.2 million per year in rights fees. 

The Big 12 broadcast "footprint" represents approximately 16 percent of the nation's TV households. It was worth it for ESPN and Fox to keep the league alive. The alternative could have meant the loss to two BCS leagues for both networks. The Big 12 would have ceased to exist while the new Pac 12 is, as speculated, going out for bid on the open market. 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: March 30, 2011 10:37 am

Cotton Bowl is golden if BCS spot opens

The Cotton Bowl would have "no problem" taking a spot in the BCS rotation if the Fiesta Bowl is kicked out, a source told CBSSports.com Wednesday morning.

The Cotton's television affiliation with Fox was thought to be a barrier toward the bowl joining the BCS rotation. ESPN has the BCS contract for the next three years. However, that source close to the situation said it would be easy for the Cotton to slide in to a spot vacated by the Fiesta. 

It is not known if there is an out in the Cotton-Fox contract should a BCS spot open up. However, it is thought that Cotton Bowl sponsor AT&T could be involved in the transition process. Also, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would most likely support the move because his palace, Cowboys Stadium, is involved.

That revelation makes the Cotton the overwhelming favorite if the Fiesta is kicked out. The bowl was put on notice by the BCS on Tuesday following the firing of Fiesta CEO John Junker. In a strongly worded statement the BCS said the Fiesta would have "to demonstrate why it should remain a BCS bowl game."

The Fiesta is confident that, with reforms, it can remain in the BCS rotation. The Dallas-based Cotton was left out of the original BCS, established in 1998. Since then, it has been aggressively upgrading its bowl that currently features Big 12 and SEC teams.

Other bowls in line to join the BCS lineup if the Fiesta is kicked out: Chick-Fil-A in Atlanta and Capital One in Orlando, Fla.
Posted on: January 25, 2011 2:42 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2011 3:33 pm

Latest conference alignment tremors

Conference USA raised some eyebrows earlier this month when it signed a new deal with Fox Sports Media Group for $7 million per year through 2015-16. That may be the reason why the Mountain West is reportedly targeting Utah State and San Jose State as expansion candidates. CUSA possibilities for the MWC -- SMU, Texas-El Paso and Houston -- are now more than happy in their current league with a new network deal. CUSA also has a new side deal with current partner CBS College Sports. The combined deals represent approximately a 47 percent increase in broadcast revenue. ($14 million, up from $9.5 million according to reports).

As always in conference realignment, it's better to track the networks before tracking the teams. The government's approval of the NBC/Comcast deal last week seems to have caused a mini-tremor in conference realignment.

The Mountain West met again Tuesday, in part, to discuss whether to add two more teams in order to make it more attractive to bidding networks. Comcast, a partner in the league's network, is thought to be a player in a deal that could be worth $15 million per year over an undisclosed period of years. ESPN also may be interested, which is significant because the conference at one time made a conscious decision to move away from the cable giant. A few years ago, the Mountain West presidents told commissioner Craig Thompson to move off of ESPN after tiring of having weeknight game times dictated to them.

The Mountain West's network  that resulted from that move away from ESPN hasn't turned a profit yet.  Comcast, a partner with CBS College Sports in the MWC, has an out clause in the deal if both Utah schools depart the league, according to a source. BYU is going independent. Utah is joining the Pac-12. The current network deal with CBS College and Comcast is worth $120 million over 10 years. The contract ends in 2016.

That's why the MWC may be looking to increase its value. In addition to the loss of BYU and Utah, TCU is bolting for the Big East in 2012. The addition of Hawaii, Fresno State, Nevada and Boise State has made the league look more like the old WAC than a new Mountain West. The expansion to a 12-team league, though, would mean the addition of a conference championship game.

The MWC board released a statement Tuesday intimating it will stay at 10 teams for the time being. The conference presidents are next scheduled to meet in June, although they could get together at the MWC Tournament in March.

It's interesting that one conference moved away from ESPN (Conference USA) while another (the MWC) may be moving toward it. Bottom line: There is plenty of money out there, even for the non-BCS leagues. Texas last week announced a $300 million, 20-year deal with ESPN for The Longhorn Network. The ACC doubled its money last year in signing a long-term deal with ESPN (12 years, $1.86 billion). That perhaps left money for Fox, a bidder for the ACC, to hook up with Conference USA.

Comcast is a national communications company headquartered in Philadelphia. For college sports purposes, it is a regional cable giant that also owns E! Entertainment Television, the Golf Channel and VERSUS. There has been speculation ever since Comcast struck the NBC Universal deal what that would mean for sports properties everywhere. For example, what will happen next with the Pac-12 and Big 12 are next in line waiting to cash in on new network deals? Consider this passage from a USA Today story regarding Comcast:  "The [NBC Universal] deal fulfills a longtime goal of Comcast CEO Brian Roberts to turn his family-controlled company into a global media colossus."

Both the Pac-12 and Big 12 will begin negotiating this year with a new-looking product. The Pac-12 added Utah and Colorado. The Big 12 slimmed down to 10 teams after the loss of Colorado and Nebraska. ESPN and Fox made financial promises to the Big 12 last spring that eventually allowed Texas to stay in and keep the league together.

The Big Ten and SEC remain the big dogs in the college television landscape. The SEC finalized a $3 billion, 15-year deal with ESPN and CBS in July 2009. The Big Ten Network continues to be a force after turning a profit slightly more than three years ago.

Meanwhile, losing the San Jose State and Utah State could effectively kill the WAC. The WAC already is trying to reorganize after the loss of Boise State, Nevada, Hawaii and Fresno State to the Mountain West.

Posted on: August 14, 2008 1:26 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2008 7:16 pm

Don't forget to keep watching the SEC on CBS

Good news for me. CBS and SEC have hooked up for the next 15 years.

Bad news for Fox. To my knowledge, there are no major-conference TV contracts up there for renewal. The Fox mothership remains in a somewhat awkward position of televising five college games a year -- the BCS games minus the Rose and the Cotton Bowl. When I talked to Fox Sports president Ed Goren in April he reiterated that the network was still looking for a regular-season piece.

For now, the SEC was the last, most lucrative piece, available.


Category: NCAAF
Tags: Fox, Rose Bowl, SEC
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com