SBD/Issue 62/Sports Media

ESPN's Exclusive Window For Pac-10 Championship Game Ends Today

 

ESPN's exclusive negotiating window to pick up the rights to the Pac-10 conference's football championship game ends today, and execs from the network are submitting their bid. "This week, we're ending our process with ESPN where we'll have a deal with them or go to market," said Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott. "My objective would be to wrap up [negotiations] by the holidays. ... Others have indicated to us that they are ready to move quickly if it becomes available." It is not known how much ESPN plans to bid for the game. It is believed ESPN will air the game on ABC. Scott clearly is hoping the '11 game commands similar terms to the Big Ten Championship game, which was sold to Fox last month. The Big Ten cut a multi-year deal; the Pac-10's deal will be for just one year, which would depress the price a bit. Fox agreed to pay the Big Ten an escalating fee of between $20-25M a year over the course of a six-year deal. The contract includes marketing rights to the game and the ability to sell the title sponsorship and other sponsorships. Pac-10 Properties, which is managed by Fox, holds the rights to selling sponsorships around the '11 Pac-10 game. ESPN was granted the exclusive window per the broadcast contract between the conference and ESPN that went into effect in '07. Fox and Comcast also have expressed interest in the Pac-10. "We got a great reaction to the idea of the home-hosted site," Scott said. "There's a lot of demand for these games." While Scott is pushing to get a deal done this year, he said he still has options. "It's not my druthers, but there is an option to save the 2011 TV rights and include it in the broader package going forward," he said. "But that might not be until the middle of next year."

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