Larry Scott continues to remake the Pac-12, putting together deal after deal that will change the financial landscape of the conference forever. The most recent deal came on Monday when the conference announced that they had agreed to a deal with IMG and Learfield that will aggregate all of the conference's specific school rights. That includes radio, websites and sponsorships in a deal never before seen in college sports.
As part of the agreement, IMG College and Learfield Sports retain all local, national and satellite radio rights, publishing, hospitality, in-stadium, arena and other sponsorship assets dictated by each member institution.
By introducing a conference controlled website portal, where Pac-12 Enterprises will host, manage and market all members’ official athletic websites, the Pac-12 will provide a common digital platform that all member universities will be able to leverage as soon as their current deals expire. This groundbreaking approach will let the Conference foster innovation across a common technology platform, with an aggregated audience, while member schools can focus on developing engaging digital content chronicling the accomplishments of their talented student-athletes.
This was expected to happen, it was just a matter of when the deal was done, so it's not out of the blue, but it's a major step for the conference. Now the conference owns the rights to pretty much everything that can be sold in the conference. TV, radio, sponsorships, web presence and any new technologies are all in the conference's hands.
Now ask yourself, what's easier to sell? Just TV rights or a package that includes TV rights and sponsorships on multiple platforms as well as a presence in every media and multimedia aspect under the conference's umbrella? The Pac-12 can now sign deals that put sponsors on midcourt signs at basketball games, on scoreboards at football games, on radio and TV commercials, on mobile services, on the conference and school websites, all over the Pac-12 Network and offer them in-stadium perks. All of a sudden the value for sponsorship and association with the conference has just skyrocketed.
Once this gets rolling, this is going to result in some massive paydays for the conference. We praised the revenue that will come in from the TV deal with ESPN and Fox, but the Pac-12 also announced the Pac-12 Network and Pac-12 Enterprises that day. Now we're starting to see just what those two things can bring to the conference. There's going to be a boatload more revenue on top of the ESPN/Fox deal.
You know who's a member of the Pac-12? UCLA. Yup, the Bruins will be raking in the cash from this deal, on top of the ESPN/Fox deal. The conference is basically backing a truckload of money into the Morgan Center. Money is not an excuse at UCLA anymore. There's no reason not to have a top-tier athletic department in every aspect, from personnel, to coaches to facilities. Money isn't the obstacle.
Of course, without a wholesale regime change at UCLA that can enhance the brand and use its most visible entity, football, to drive the entire athletic department and university forward it won't mean much. Money is only a tool after all.