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Fox will air first Pacific 12 Conference football title game

The game will be played Dec. 3 at the home of the qualifying team with the better record. The one-year package is valued at $25 million, sources say.

January 06, 2011|By Diane Pucin

The first Pacific 12 Conference football championship game will be on Fox in 2011, the network and the conference announced Thursday.

The game will be played Dec. 3 at the home of the qualifying team with the better record. With the addition of Utah and Colorado to the Pac-10 in July, the expanded conference will feature North and South divisions, and the winner of each will play in the championship game.

According to sources with knowledge of financial package who are not authorized to speak publicly, the one-year package is valued at $25 million, with $14.5 million for the title game and $10.5 million for the extra games that are a product of the conference's expansion.

"I'm very pleased with the deal," Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott said.

All of the conference's television contracts expire after the 2011 season, and Scott said he had gone into negotiations for the single championship game willing to explore whether it made more sense to include the game in any new long-term contracts or to offer it, as Scott said, as "a one-off."

"Our objectives have been met," Scott said. "There were some real benefits to the one-off, to have some certainty and to be able to promote the new conference with a clean slate."

Scott said Fox told him about plans to promote the game all year, including during the Major League Baseball playoffs and NFL regular-season games. There will be a half-hour pregame show and a postgame show. It will also be the first game of a college football doubleheader on Fox, along with the Big Ten Conference's new championship game.

"We will be able to introduce the brand in this game with no title or presenting sponsor associated with the event," Scott said. "That was important, to have a clean, not over-sponsored inaugural event."

Scott said negotiations for a long-term deal will begin soon, with current television partners Fox and ESPN/ABC having an exclusive negotiating window. Scott said he wants to explore plans for a Pac-12 network as part of those negotiations and said that Fox's step up for the 2011 championship game indicated that network's interest in a long-term deal.

"For Fox to make the significant commitment it's making here, that's a strong statement and clear intention that they want everyone to know they'll be aggressive in valuing college football going forward," Scott said.

diane.pucin@latimes.com

twitter.com/mepucin

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