Pac-12 Announces Landmark Media Rights Deal With ESPN, Fox Sports Media Group
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The Pac-12 Conference today announced it is teaming up with ESPN and FOX Sports Media Group on a landmark agreement for a broadcast and national cable television package that extends and expands long-time partnerships with both media companies.
At the same time, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott announced the creation of a new media company, Pac-12 Media Enterprises, which will own the Pac-12 Network, the Pac-12 Digital Network, and Pac-12 Properties. This new company will control and distribute on its platforms and on all devices, the Pac-12 games not licensed to ESPN and FOX Sports, and will hold other media and event rights. This entity will be wholly owned and controlled by the Pac-12 Conference and will exist side-by-side with the newly announced ESPN and FOX Sports arrangements.
Although terms of the ESPN and Fox Sports agreements were not disclosed, Scott called it 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 in 2012.
Expressing his satisfaction with the agreement, Commissioner Scott said, "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. 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."
Pac-12 Network Will Expand Reach
Scott also further explained the decision to move forward with Pac-12 Media Enterprises: "We are equally excited by the creation of Pac-12 Media Enterprises, which will enable us to launch our own Pac-12 television and digital networks, providing significantly more exposure for women's sports and Olympic sports in which the Pac-12 excels, in addition to academic and other campus programming of interest to our fan base. These new platforms will also provide us with an unprecedented opportunity to control the distribution of our intellectual property rights in sports, education and other Conference and membership initiatives."
Scott clarified that Pac-12 Media Enterprises will independently manage and sell all of the sponsorship and licensing rights controlled by the Conference, as well as the Pac-12 Football Championship Game and the Men's and Women's Championship Basketball tournaments. FOX Sports previously managed the activities. The partnership with ESPN and FOX Sports will be a natural compliment to our future plans, which we look forward to sharing soon." ESPN and FOX Sports will have the rights to sell a presenting sponsorship to the Pac-12 football championship game as well as the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament. Pac-12 Properties will retain all other conference controlled sponsorship rights.
Also expressing his enthusiasm for the agreement was Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University, who is Chairman of the Pac-12 CEO Group: "At a time when universities, and especially state universities, find themselves greatly challenged to meet budget commitments, an arrangement that will secure an important revenue and exposure stream over a 12-year period is especially helpful, not only for athletics but for our academic programs as well. While we recognize that contributions from donors and other sources remain critical, this agreement is welcome. We are especially proud of the commitment it reflects to equal revenue sharing across all our member universities, reflecting the core values of our Conference. This is truly a great day for our students, alumni, and fans everywhere."
Extended National Exposure
The new 12-year deal goes into effect in 2012, and includes "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 the 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 exclusively feature approximately another 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.
To ensure a fair distribution of games, ESPN, FOX Sports and the Pac-12 Network will share pre-determined football and men's basketball selection rights.
The Pac-12 Conference retained Evolution Media Capital (EMC), an affiliate of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), as its media and financial adviser and Proskauer Rose as legal counsel.
"Significantly enhancing premier content from a conference with the tradition, passion and excellence of the Pac-12 strengthens our networks," said John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content. "As we grow our longstanding relationship with the Conference, fans will be able to watch ESPN's Pac-12 coverage on any screen they choose."
"Today's announcement with the Pac-12 reaffirms FOX Sports Media Group's long-term commitment to college sports programming," said Randy Freer, president of FOX Sports Networks. "We believe that this rights package provides tremendous value across a variety of platforms, including FOX Sports, which will offer its first-ever slate of over-the-air, regular season college football games."
About the Pac-12 Conference
The Conference has a tradition as the "Conference of Champions," earning more than 175 NCAA team titles over the past 20 years, and has led the nation in NCAA Championships in 44 of the last 50 years. The Conference comprises 10 leading U.S. universities: The University of Arizona, Arizona State University, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the University of Washington, and Washington State University. In July, the Conference officially becomes the Pac-12 Conference with the addition of the University of Utah (2011) and the University of Colorado (2011). Conference offices are located 25 miles east of San Francisco in Walnut Creek, CA. For more information on the Conference's programs, member institutions, and Commissioner Larry Scott, go to www.pac-10.org.
ESPN, Inc., is the world's leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of more than 50 multimedia sports assets. The company comprises seven 24-hour domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes and ESPN 3D). ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNEWS HD are simulcast services. Other businesses include ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (46 networks, syndication, radio, websites), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN3.com (broadband sports network) ESPN Mobile,ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN PPV and other growing new businesses, including ESPN on Demand and ESPN Interactive. Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.
About FOX Sports Media Group
FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG) is the umbrella entity representing News Corporation's wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets. Built with brands that are capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FSMG includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships. FSMG now includes FOX Sports, the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; FSN, which reaches over 85 million homes through more than two dozen owned and affiliated regional sports networks; FSN's affiliated regional web sites and FSN national programming; SPEED and SPEED2; FOX Soccer Channel and FOX Soccer Plus; FUEL TV; and FOX College Sports. In addition, FSMG also includes FOX Sports Interactive Media, which comprises FOXSports.com on MSN, whatifsports.com and scout.com, reaching over 27 million unique visitors monthly. Also included are FOX's interests in joint-venture businesses FOX Deportes, Big Ten Network and STATS, LLC, as well as licensing agreements that establish the FOX Sports Radio Network, FOX Sports Skybox restaurants and FOX Sports Grills