Larry Scott and the Pac-12: Why it pays to have a good commissioner
If, 20 years from now, Pac-12 football has jumped into a higher stratosphere than it presently exists in, we'll look back at the league's first few years under commissioner Larry Scott as the time when the leap happened. Beginning with his hiring in 2009, the Pac-12 has added Colorado and Utah, updated its name, changed its logo, brought all of its' schools multimedia rights under one umbrella to re-sell as one entity, started a national TV network to go with six regional networks and opened a communciation bridge to Asia.
Along with all that change, Scott brought a truck full of cash to the conference as well.
According to Steve Berkowitz of USA Today, the latest Pac-12 tax filings show a total revenue of $175.9 million for the conference, up more than 57 percent from its previous haul of $112 million. While those figures still lag behind the Big Ten and SEC, this jump comes before the Pac-12's 12-year, $3 billion deal with ESPN and Fox kicks in, and well before Pac-12 Networks money becomes fully realized.
If nothing else, the conference's revenues will rise next year just because of one-time costs that the Pac-12 absorbed in 2011-12. In order to start the Pac-12 Networks and package the league as one whole entity to ESPN and Fox, the league had to buy back each school's individual media rights and pay the costs associated with starting seven television networks. With those debts out of the way, Pac-12 dollar figures will soar in the coming years.
In all, the league netted $85.63 million in TV revenue, just north of $40 million in bowl payouts, nearly $28 million in championship payouts from other sports and just over $22 million from other sources. Among the schools, Stanford and Oregon led the way with more than $15 million, followed by Washington ($13.5 million), USC ($13.4 million) and UCLA ($12.7 million). Utah and Colorado earned $4.1 million and $3.4 million, respectively, as new members.
While Scott has been hard at work lining the pockets of his member schools, the commissioner has managed to save more than a little scratch for himself. Scott earned nearly $3.1 million in salary and bonuses in 2011, well ahead of his fellow conference leaders and almost double that of everyone's favorite commissioner, Mike Slive. Pac-12 deputy commissioner Kevin Weiberg took in more than $560,000 that same year, more than Big East commissioner John Marinatto (who has since retired) and Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky. Weiberg served as Big 12 commissioner from 1998-2007 before leaving to oversee the launch of the Big Ten Network and subsequently the Pac-12 Networks.
Read USA Today's full report here.