Commentary: Scott delivers for the Pac-12

2011-05-08T10:00:00Z 2015-03-25T18:21:32Z Commentary: Scott delivers for the Pac-12By STEVE GRESS, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times

Larry Scott hit a home run for the new Pacific-12 Conference this week with the announcement of the richest television deal in collegiate sports.

The conference's commissioner, who in his two years on the job has made quite a splash, helped negotiate a 12-year deal with ESPN and Fox worth about $250 million per year.

In addition, the conference will start its own television network, a digital network and have the control over marketing of major events such as the conference's football championship game and men's and women's basketball tournaments.

And while the schools involved will benefit from the added revenue and exposure each year, the real winners are you and I - fans of the conference and college sports.

Here is a quick synopsis of what the conference announced on Wednesday in regards to football coverage beginning in 2012.

There will be 44 regular-season games televised on ESPN or Fox affiliated stations. ABC and Fox will broadcast 10 regular-season games, including some in primetime. The other 34 games will be on national cable networks FX, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.

The remaining regular-season games will run on the Pac-12 Network.

Fox, which already had the rights to broadcast the first conference championship game, will also broadcast the 2012 game. After that, the rights will rotate between Fox and ESPN. The game will be played on a Friday night.

That all football games will be televised sounds good enough for many fans.

But what about basketball?

Don't fear, hoops junkies, you will more than get your fix.

The new deal calls for ESPN and Fox to broadcast 68 regular-season games. The other 120 or so games will then be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network or Pac-12 Digital Network.

All games in the the conference tournament will be shown on one of the networks, with ESPN up first with the title game in 2013; after that the networks will rotate like football.

While football and men's basketball are obviously the catalyst for the large contract, Scott said finding an avenue to promote the other sports was also important.

He noted that UCLA and Stanford have both hit the century mark in terms of NCAA championships, and USC is right behind in the 90s.

"We want a vehicle to promote our Olympic sports," Scott said. "Those things are going to be great for our fans.

"It's also going to be great for our student-athletes who are eager to be seen. They are proud of what they do and they want to be seen by their family, friends and fans of all these sports."

The Pac-12 Network plans to showcase approximately 200 live Olympic sports events. That includes coverage of 30 men's and women's sports.

The Pac-12 Digital Network will also be involved with coverage of Olympic sports, planning to broadcast several hundred more live games or events.

This new deal, while being extremely fan-friendly, should also bring in a new fan base from across the country.

That's exactly what the often underpublicized conference needs to be a regular player for the national spotlight.

"What I'm excited about is how we promote the conference and promote the brand and get our story out," Scott said. "To be on multiple platforms with prestigious networks that are not just sports networks but entertainment networks, there is going to be tremendous amount of cross-promotion and talk about the Pac-12 in a lot of different venues."

Sure sounds like Scott delivered.

Steve Gress is the sports editor of the Corvallis Gazette-Times. He can be reached at

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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