UPDATE (A): Jon Wilner just tweeted:
Nailed down Pac-12 details: Fox and ESPN are splitting the rights (football is 50-50). Deal averages $225 million/yr.
That sounds like an impressive number at first blush. We will wait to hear more details.
So Wednesday will be arguably the most important day in the Pac-10/12's recent history. Sure, the conference expansion was important and notable, but if we're being realistic, money is the most important thing in college athletics right now. We may not like it and it may be a slap in the face of everything that we hold dear about college athletics, but the last 13 years have made it abundantly clear that money drives all and guess what? For the first time the Pac-10 will join the party when they announce their new TV deal on Wednesday.
The Seattle Times' Bud Withers has the scoop and says that the conference will announce the deal on Wednesday in Phoenix, where they are currently conducting their annual spring meetings. While the conference has hung around on $54 million annually, the lowest of any BCS conference school, the other conferences have been bringing in as much as $200 million annually. Now, the rumors are that the Pac-10's new deal will surpass them all with numbers above $220 million annually being floated around.
Once again, it is impossible to understate how big this is for the conference as a whole and UCLA specifically. Revenue will skyrocket and the conference's teams will be able to compete with other conference in coach salaries, facilities and a bunch more. No longer can the schools in the conference cry poor and if they do it will be an indictment on the administration and athletic departments the second that they do.
This is a game-changer for the Pac-10 and for UCLA. The deal may begin until the fall of 2012, but it will come with not just a boatload of more money. It will come with extra exposure that should increase visibility for the school. Of course, drawing back to the financials, that extra visibility and extra eyes should only improve the sponsorship situation for the athletic department. The deal is also expected to come with a new Pac-12 Network. That will magnify the non-revenue sports and give the university a chance to further market themselves as a the best athletic program in the country. That's assuming the Bruins can still make that claim in a couple years, something that they might not be able to with the recent performance of the men's sports, while schools like Stanford continue to rack up national titles.
So Wednesday is the day. We get to see what exactly Larry Scott's creative and determined approach brought the conference. It will be a landmark day for the conference, but it's only a landmark for UCLA is the athletic department takes advantage of it. Will they? For now, the focus is on Scott, but once we hear Wednesday's announcement, the focus turns back to the Morgan Center.
Don't forget to sign the petition to get students back on the sidelines today and also join Facebook event asking UCLA students to vote NO to STOP Morgan Center from taking away students' court-side seating.