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Volume 26 No. 5
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Pac-12 Revenue Down In '18 Largely Due To Lack Of Rose Bowl Payout

Pac-12's revenue decrease meant per-school distributions fell to roughly $29.5M
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Pac-12 recorded a $12.5M drop in total revenue to just under $497M during FY '18, with the decline coming from the conference’s "inability to increase its income enough to fully offset getting virtually no payout from the Rose Bowl that year," according to Steve Berkowitz of USA TODAY. The Rose Bowl anomaly is an occurrence that will "happen every third year," when the event becomes a CFP semifinal rather than a game with an automatic Pac-12 berth. The Rose Bowl "payout difference" was about $36.5M. The decrease meant per-school distributions fell to roughly $29.5M -- about $5M per school "less than what the Big 12 has reported and far behind" what the SEC and Big Ten have reported. The Pac-12 has also said that its "actual cash distributions to schools" in FY '18 averaged $31.3M because the conference had "withheld money in prior years in anticipation of a need to compensate for the drop in the Rose Bowl money." Meanwhile, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott was credited with nearly $5.3M in total compensation for the '17 calendar year, which "represents a $500,000 increase" from '16. The Pac-12 said that its financial position "relative to other conferences' does not take into account the equity value of the Pac-12 Networks." Scott yesterday said this makes it "very hard to compare" the Pac-12's financials with those of other conferences (USA TODAY, 5/21).

NOT LIKE THE OTHERS: In San Jose, Jon Wilner notes the Pac-12 Networks during FY '18 generated $101M in expenses, leaving a surplus of approximately $26M, which "split 12 ways" would result in approximately $2.2M distributed to each member school. That is about $600,000 "less per school than the projected amount" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 5/21). In L.A., David Wharton noted other conferences have "generated more revenue by forming networks in partnership with major broadcasters." The Pac-12 has "insisted upon owning and operating its own network in hopes of accumulating equity and scoring a bigger payday down the road." However, the Pac-12 Networks have "struggled to gain wide distribution." The financial outlook "could change when broadcast rights to marquee football and basketball games come up for renegotiation" in '24. The Pac-12 is also "exploring an equity sale" (LATIMES.com, 5/20).

WHAT'S IT WORTH? In Portland, John Canzano writes Scott may be "earning what the market will pay him," but the market in this case is "out of its mind." Canzano: "I’m not convinced Scott’s position is even necessary anymore." Consider that the conference pays Pac-12 Networks President Mark Shuken "handsomely," and by all accounts, Pac-12 Deputy Commissioner & COO Jamie Zaninovich is the man "running the actual conference on a day to day basis." It has also "become evident in recent months that the commissioner’s bosses ... no longer want him out front alone in front of the public or media." It "sort of feels like they’re throwing away" $5.3M in salary on an "empty suit" (Portland OREGONIAN, 5/21).