The Pac-10 Conference, soon to be Pac-12 Conference, recently announced a new media rights deal with ESPN/Fox for a whopping $3 billion over a 12 year term. In the last 18 months, three things have become evident: 1) college sports media rights are on a huge rise, 2) college sports media rights have been undervalued in recent years, and 3) there are more players at the table. Traditionally, ESPN has dominated the college sports market, but ESPN now has stiff competition from Fox, NBC, Turner, Comcast, Time Warner, and others. Recently, competitors have shown a willingness to work together to retain lucrative rights (i.e., CBS and Turner for March Madness and ESPN and Fox for the Pac-10). A bidding war can only help the next groups arriving at the bidding table (i.e., Big East and Big 12). Reports indicate that the Big East is poised to accept a generous raise from $36 million annually to an estimated $130 million annually.
Presently, according to the Sports Business Journal, the conference media rights deals are as follows:
Conference Avg. Annual Value Contract Years Network(s)
ACC $155m 2011-2022-23 ESPN/ABC
Big 12 $90m 2012-2024-25 Fox
$60m 2008-2015-16 ESPN/ABC
Big East $36m 2007-2013 ESPN/ABC
Big Ten $232m 2007-2031-32 Big Ten Net
$20m 2006-2015-16 CBS
Conference USA $15.6m-$16.1m 2011-2015-16 CBS College Sp
Mountain West $11.7m 2007-2013-14 CBS College Sp
Pac-10 (Pac-12) $250m 2011-2022-23 ESPN/Fox
SEC $150m 2009-2023-24 ESPN/ABC
$55m 2009-2023-24 CBS College Sp
Over the course of the last round of negotiations, the contract terms have also increased to a norm in the 10 to 12 year range (in some cases longer). As a result, there will be little maneuvering in the media rights segment for several years following the 2015-16 negotiations.