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Pac-10 appears to lag in football revenue, athletic department 'profit'

Commissioner Larry Scott says negotiating a new TV deal is his top priority in reversing conference's financial fortunes.

March 10, 2011|By Ben Bolch
  • Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott says the conference is taking a serious look at launching its own network.
Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott says the conference is taking a serious… (Jason O. Watson / U.S. Presswire )

Pacific 10 Conference Commissioner Larry Scott acknowledged concern Thursday over a recent Forbes magazine online report showing that the Pac-10 lags well behind other major conferences in terms of football revenue and athletic department profit.

The Pac-10's football revenue was $24.6 million from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010, according to the report, less than half the $49.9 million the Southeastern Conference produced over the same period.

The report also showed that the Pac-10 generated athletic department profit of $1.8 million, with UCLA, USC, California and Stanford all producing no athletic department profit. By comparison, the Big Ten Conference produced $10.7 million, the SEC $8.2 million and the Atlantic Coast Conference $2.6 million.

"I think there's a sense that the Pac-10 had fallen behind," Scott said in a meeting with reporters at Staples Center, pointing to the conference's ranking fifth among Bowl Championship Series conferences in television revenue.

Scott said negotiating a new television deal remained his top priority in reversing the Pac-10's financial fortunes, a process that could be finalized within a few months. The conference's football television deal with Fox expires after the 2011 season and its basketball deal with the same network expires after the 2011-12 season.

A proposed Pac-12 network, Scott said, remained "something we've looked at very seriously" because it would allow the conference to showcase Olympic sports and women's sports while ensuring every football and basketball game was televised.

Scott said he was "laser focused" on creating more national exposure for the conference's football and basketball teams. A few basketball coaches recently complained that starting games at 10:30 p.m. Eastern time had hurt the conference in the national rankings because games weren't being seen by as many viewers nationally.

"I think it's a complex set of issues; I don't think it's just about start time," Scott said. "It has a lot to do with what broadcasts we're on, having national clearance versus regional clearance, start times to some extent, nights we play."


Scott said Pac-10 officials were in the "preliminary fact-finding" stage regarding the Oregon football program's purchase of recruiting services. "The way this works in our conference is when there's a process of looking into things it's done in parallel between our conference and the NCAA," Scott said. "We've got our own process, we've got our own enforcement division." … Scott said the first Pac-12 men's basketball tournament would probably entail four play-in games involving eight teams, with the conference's top four teams receiving byes into the quarterfinal round. The conference has committed to holding the tournament at Staples Center again in 2012 but is open to the possibility of moving it to other sites after that, Scott said.

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