With Larry Scott's Exit, Pac-12 Media Rights Take Center Stage

    • The Pac-12 will need a new commissioner to renegotiate its expiring media rights contracts.
    • The conference announced Commissioner Larry Scott will step down in June.

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The Pac-12 will need a new commissioner to renegotiate its expiring media rights contracts.

Yesterday, the conference announced Commissioner Larry Scott will step down in June — a year before his contract was set to expire. The media deals expire in 2024.

“Now is a good time to bring in a new leader who will help us develop our go-forward strategy,” Pac-12 Executive Committee Chair Michael Schill said in a statement. “At one point, our television agreement was the most lucrative in the nation.” 

Pac-12 schools each received around $29 million in conference distributions in 2018, recent tax filings show. That’s about the same as what most ACC schools received. 

But the Pac-12 trails three of its Power 5 peers in conference distributions, which largely consist of media rights revenue.

  • Most Big 12 schools received $33-36 million, most SEC schools got $42-$45 million, and most Big Ten schools notched more than $53 million.
  • The SEC recently signed a blockbuster deal with ESPN, reported to top $300 million a year, which could increase yearly payouts by $20 million per school.

Deals with the Big Ten and Big 12 will expire in 2023 and 2025, respectively. 

In his 11-year tenure, Scott — who has made more than $40 million in salary — led the Pac-12 through expansion, the launch of the Pac-12 Networks and a reported $3 billion media rights deal with ESPN and FOX.