By several important measurements, the Pacific-12 Conference, the college sports league that calls itself “the conference of champions,” did not have a very good year.
For the third time in five seasons, no Pac-12 team made the College Football Playoff. The conference had just three entrants in the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament, and all of them bowed out in the first round. Former athletic directors publicly criticized the league office for being out of touch. There was even a report that a conference official inappropriately intervened in a video replay review during a crucial football game.
The Pac-12 football champion, Washington, played Ohio State in the Rose Bowl on Tuesday, losing by 28-23. And although that game remains valuable for many Pac-12 fans in terms of heritage and tradition (and for the conference in terms of money), it nonetheless represents another end-of-season consolation game for the league, which houses the traditional power Southern California and more recent contenders like Stanford, Oregon and Utah.
At the root of these travails is money.
As the other four power conferences, especially the Big Ten and the Southeastern Conference, have struck lucrative media deals to infuse their members with revenue in recent years, the Pac-12 has failed to keep up. That’s despite a footprint that includes four of the country’s 15 largest media markets, including the second-largest, Los Angeles.
“Short term, we’ve fallen behind,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in an interview in December. “There’s no question about it.”
Without the same financial resources as their competitors, many Pac-12 colleges have struggled to compete when it comes to hiring the top coaches, building the glitzy facilities and recruiting the star players that yield greater success.
“It’s a virtuous cycle: better players, better media deals, more money through the conference, more money to spend on your program and coaches and all the accouterments that go along with a good program,” said Warren Zola, a sports business professor at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management.
The financial shortfall is largely the product of a bet that Scott — a former captain of the Harvard tennis team — and the Pac-12 made seven years ago while negotiating a series of multibillion-dollar media rights agreements and starting a conference network.
Unlike the commissioners of other major college conferences, Scott decided to buck a trend with his conference-owned sports network by opting not to partner with a traditional media company. (Fox, for instance, owns 51 percent of the Big Ten Network.) Instead, Scott kept the Pac-12 Network and its affiliates independent.
This has meant forgoing what would likely have been hundreds of millions of dollars over the past several years in rights fees if the Pac-12 had partnered with a traditional media company or renegotiated its current deal more in tune with the rising market for live sports rights. The Pac-12 is also paying tens of millions of dollars to run a cable network out of its own pocket and has limited its distribution options by forgoing the negotiating clout that comes with partnering with a major broadcaster.
All of this in exchange for retaining 100 percent ownership in the venture.
In 2011, it looked as if Scott might have made a good bet. The Pac-12 sold most of its marquee football and basketball games to Fox and ESPN for about billion over 12 years, more than quadrupling what the two companies had been paying and setting a record for the richest conference contract.
But that arrangement has since been eclipsed by TV deals for other leagues. Last year, for instance, the Big Ten announced a new deal, also with Fox and ESPN, worth nearly the same amount as the Pac-12’s deal (.64 billion) for half the years (six).
So even as the market for college sports rights rises significantly, the Pac-12’s long-term deal effectively locked it into that 2011 rate until the arrangement expires in 2024.
Scott insisted that the conference would soon be in a position to surpass its competitors, since the other leagues have deals that stretch into the 2030s. A windfall, Scott predicted, is all but inevitable.
“Our bet is that by not extending our rights 10 or 15 years now, come 2024, the wisdom of this approach will be evident,” Scott said.
The Pac-12 lived up to its self-appointed moniker during the 2017-18 school year, winning the most championships over all of any league for the 13th straight year, with a total of 12 titles in sports including men’s baseball and women’s gymnastics and tennis. With three national titles already this fall, it will likely do the same this school year.
However, titles in volleyball and water polo do not pay the bills, and in the sports that do — football and men’s basketball — the conference of the Trojans and John Wooden has slipped.
In absolute terms, the Pac-12 is nowhere near the poor house. Since Scott took over what was then the Pac-10 in 2009, the conference’s revenue has grown to 0 million from 0 million, and the average annual per-school payout to million from million.
But Big Ten members anticipate receiving more than million from the conference this fiscal year because of a new television agreement. SEC members get roughly million from the conference. The Pac-12 will most likely soon be last among the five major conferences in the average annual amount received by conference members, also trailing the Big 12 and the Atlantic Coast Conference, after the ACC Network, owned by ESPN, launches next year.
More money would come in handy. Washington State’s athletic department owes million after borrowing heavily to renovate its football stadium. Cal has pledged to subsidize more than half the 0 million in debt its athletic department incurred for facilities construction.
Salaries for the Pac-12’s head football and men’s basketball coaches lag those of their peers, according to USA Today’s databases. In football, Washington’s Chris Petersen, the best-paid coach in the conference, is 19th over all; four conference head coaches make less than Louisiana State’s defensive coordinator does. In basketball, where salaries generally are smaller, league head coaches are paid more competitively, although big names in the A.C.C., the Big Ten and the Big 12 tend to make more than their counterparts in the Pac-12.
Kevin Blue, the athletic director at California-Davis, who was previously a senior associate athletic director at Stanford, said the SEC and the Big Ten “are setting the market” for coaching salaries.
Several of the conference’s former athletic directors have publicly accused Scott of being more concerned with pleasing his bosses — university presidents and chancellors — than supporting the directors themselves, who are ostensibly more in touch with the business end of college athletics.
One of the Pac-12’s biggest challenges is geography. College sports are a fundamentally easier sell in the vast spaces of the Midwest and the South than they are in the sun- and snow-kissed cities and landscapes of the West.
“There are other parts of the country where it doesn’t matter who your team is playing against, you’re going to fill a 90,000-seat stadium,” Scott said. “I don’t have one school like that.”
Similarly, several of Scott’s critics complain that the league’s media deal requires frequent Friday night and late Saturday football games, which can be tougher for fans to attend. League coaches, including Petersen, have raised this issue. But changing that is likely impossible, given that the conference’s universities are in the Mountain and Pacific time zones, and roughly seven in 10 television viewers in the United States live in the Central or Eastern time zones.
“If you want to get revenues at the same level, then you’ve got to have kickoffs in East Coast prime time,” said Lee Berke, a sports media consultant. “And unless your schools are located there, they will never be in that position.”
Given those disadvantages, the Pac-12 and its eponymous TV network have tried to lean into the conference’s superiority in a wide range of Olympic and nonrevenue sports beyond football and basketball. The national Pac-12 Network and its six regional affiliates show about 850 events a year, almost double the Big Ten Network.
“We have a network that allows us to project our identity and the full breadth of our sports,” said Michael Crow, the long-serving president of Arizona State (who lettered in track and field at Iowa State). Crow is one of three Pac-12 presidents or chancellors remaining from the group that hired Scott in 2009. “It’s fantastic that women’s volleyball and softball and athlete profiles are going out across the whole western United States on a network we control.”
But although it is now in its fifth year, the Pac-12 Network faces difficulty reaching viewers. It has never been carried by DirectTV, which delivers television to about 20 million households and is the provider of choice for many bars and restaurants. Half a million homes, according to one estimate, lost the Pac-12 Network after the channel was recently dropped from AT&T’s U-Verse.
Over all, the network and its affiliates are in about 19 million homes nationwide, according to SNL Kagan, a business research firm, compared with 59 million for the SEC Network and 51 million for the Big Ten Network. Revenue follows accordingly; the Pac-12 Network generated about .75 million for each of the conference’s colleges last year, while Big Ten schools received around four times as much.
“We absolutely recognize we are taking a bolder and different path than everyone else,” Scott said. “The safest would be to do what everyone else has done: take a partner in your network, extend your rights to 2035.”
Instead, the Pac-12 hopes it has an ace in the hole. Come 2024, it will be the only major conference with all of its rights up for grabs — a moment, perhaps, of rare leverage.
Scott speculated that in addition to traditional television broadcasters like ESPN, Fox, CBS and NBC, digital companies will compete to buy the Pac-12’s rights. He name-checked just about all of them: Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Google, Netflix, DAZN and ESPN+.
“Come 2024, the wisdom of this approach will be evident,” he said. “There’s no guarantee, but that’s the bet that we’ve made.”
The promise of future riches can be cold comfort for Pac-12 universities during their present-day struggles.
“I get it,” said Steve Patterson, a former Arizona State athletic director. “The coach has to win every week, or three times a week, and the A.D.s have to manage it every year.”
But Patterson, who is now a consultant, is optimistic. “I do think, in the long run, it is going to pay off,” he said. “But like building any business, it’s not simple. Taking a check is simple.”B:
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【水】【心】【迟】【疑】【了】【一】【下】，【想】【了】【想】【说】【道】：“【如】【果】【不】【惹】【事】【生】【非】，【就】【确】【保】【我】【能】【平】【安】【无】【事】【回】【来】？” “【自】【然】【可】【以】，【我】【保】【证】。”【秋】【容】【十】【分】【肯】【定】【的】【说】【道】。 “【那】【好】，【我】【买】【了】，【就】【是】【不】【知】【价】【值】【几】【何】？”【水】【心】【了】【与】【对】【方】【商】【讨】【起】【来】。 【水】【心】【用】【一】【袋】【灵】【石】，【买】【来】【了】【对】【方】【手】【中】【的】【一】【块】【令】【牌】，【算】【是】【达】【成】【了】【这】【个】【交】【易】。 “【客】【官】【可】【还】【有】【什】【么】【需】【要】【的】？买码42是什么生肖【不】【过】，【即】【便】【如】【此】，【糯】【猛】【也】【没】【有】【解】【释】【什】【么】，【看】【到】【自】【己】【的】【属】【下】【很】【是】【听】【话】，【顺】【从】【地】【纷】【纷】【停】【了】【下】【来】，【躲】【在】【大】【树】【之】【后】，【原】【本】【有】【一】【些】【不】【快】【的】【神】【情】【明】【显】【缓】【和】【了】【许】【多】，【却】【也】【没】【有】【再】【阻】【止】【放】【正】【堂】【等】【人】。 【紧】【接】【着】，【糯】【猛】【看】【向】【那】【群】【黑】【影】【方】【向】，【忽】【然】【对】【着】【那】【数】【道】【身】【影】【高】【声】【喊】【道】：“【来】【人】【是】【阿】【拉】【干】【王】【朝】【的】【朋】【友】【吗】？” 【虽】【然】【只】【是】【极】【其】【简】【短】【的】【一】【句】
【周】【谨】【言】【微】【微】【一】【愣】，【忙】【赶】【到】【前】【院】【偏】【厅】，【果】【然】【看】【到】【袁】【天】【罡】【坐】【在】【厅】【里】，【和】【一】【个】【男】【子】【有】【说】【有】【笑】，【那】【男】【子】【周】【谨】【言】【感】【觉】【有】【些】【眼】【熟】，【但】【一】【时】【半】【会】【想】【不】【出】。 “【师】【傅】，【你】【怎】【么】【来】【了】，【也】【不】【提】【前】【说】【一】【声】。” 【对】【于】【这】【个】【便】【宜】【师】【傅】，【周】【谨】【言】【心】【里】【感】【激】，【如】【今】【他】【的】【武】【功】，【虽】【然】【还】【是】【一】【般】，【但】【他】【已】【经】【很】【是】【满】【足】。 “【我】【自】【己】【都】【不】【知】【道】【自】【己】【今】【天】
【赏】【赐】【张】【昭】【是】【本】【次】【大】【朝】【会】【上】【的】【最】【后】【一】【件】【事】。【陈】【宽】【看】【到】【张】【昭】【退】【入】【武】【臣】【班】【列】【中】，【尖】【着】【嗓】【子】【道】：“【退】【朝】。” 【心】【中】【略】【有】【些】【羡】【慕】。 【他】【这】【个】【年】【纪】，【该】【有】【的】【赏】【赐】【天】【子】【早】【就】【赏】【赐】【给】【他】。【但】【张】【昭】【在】【十】【八】【岁】【的】【年】【纪】，【甚】【至】【在】【功】【劳】【还】【没】【有】【兑】【现】【时】，【天】【子】【就】【迫】【不】【及】【待】【的】【赏】【赐】【飞】【鱼】【服】，【提】【升】【其】【官】【职】。【这】【是】【何】【等】【的】【圣】【恩】？ 【飞】【鱼】【服】，【和】【我】【大】【清】【的】