While the sky is "not falling" for the Pac-12 as it prepares for the '18-19 athletics calendar, "cracks are beginning to appear in a once-solid foundation," according to Dennis Dodd of CBSSPORTS.com. The Pac-12 generated $509M in revenue for FY '17, and the conference spun it as the "largest in its history." But that number "cemented the league at No. 5 in Power Five revenue." Arizona State VP/Athletics Ray Anderson said, "The gap between us and the other (leagues) continues to grow." Washington State President Kirk Schulz: "This is a concern of the Pac-12 presidents, and I can tell you it's a large discussion point with meetings with the commissioner at every single meeting. ... The Pac-12 schools have got to be competitive with the ACC, the SEC and the Big Ten and Big 12, and we're falling behind." Dodd noted Pac-12 schools took in an estimated $2.5M each from the "much-maligned Pac-12 Networks," while LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda "makes that much by himself." Pac-12 schools average $30.9M in "annual revenue," with the SEC No. 1 at $41M. That $10M difference could be the "difference in paying a top-notch coach." Meanwhile, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott "oversees a struggling network in a distant time zone." It is "not harsh to call the Pac-12 Networks a failure -- at least in comparison to its Big Ten and SEC peers." Anderson said, "No one is satisfied with the (revenue) production of the Pac-12 Network." Dodd noted it may be until the conference's "next media rights deal expires" -- in '23 -- for that network to be "valued as highly as the Pac-12 views it" (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/15).
Loyola-Chicago's popularity after its Final Four run "can be measured" with a 170% increase in season-ticket sales if last year's holders and those who put down a deposit "follow through" when the '18-19 sales open this week, according to Shannon Ryan of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Loyola Senior Associate AD/External Operations Tom Sorboro said that the school has also seen a 660% increase in donations "compared with the same time frame last year." The athletic-specific donations "were tallied from March 1 to April 2." Sorboro said that he "expects the university to see a significant boost in apparel and merchandise royalties that they'll receive from vendors in July." Loyola "added 30 retail outlets in the Chicago area during the Final Four run" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/15). ESPN.com's Darren Rovell noted the donation money "doesn't include additional licensing revenue, which hasn't been tallied yet" (ESPN.com, 5/14). In Chicago, Lewis Lazare noted Loyola received 31% "more requests for info about the school from March 1 through April 2 than it had gotten during that time frame last year." Loyola's social media engagement "skyrocketed during March Madness," growing 1,676% year over year. Website traffic also grew 91% year over year, and social media followers grew 34% during this year's March Madness "compared to a year ago" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 5/14).