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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Pac-12 reports revenues topping $500 million for first time

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott speaks during the Pac-12's NCAA college basketball media day, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, in San Francisco. (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)
By Ralph D. Russo Associated Press

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Pac-12 Conference reported revenues of $509 million for the 2016-17 financial year, surpassing $500 million for the first time.

The conference announced Thursday at its spring meetings that it distributed $371 million to its 12 schools, an increase of 8 percent from the previous year.

Most of the increase is driven by media rights deals with ESPN and Fox, and the growth of the Pac-12 Network. Since 2013, member distributions have increased by 63 percent, the conference said, from $228 million. Total revenue has grown 53 percent.

The 12-year, $3 billion deal with Fox and ESPN was signed in 2011 and at the time it was the biggest for any college conference. It has since been eclipsed by other leagues.

The Pac-12 still lags far behind the Southeastern Conference ($41 million) and the Big Ten (reportedly $38.5 million) in terms of average distribution to members. The Big 12 ($34.3 million) also is ahead of the Pac-12, leading to some concerns in the Pac-12 about keeping up with the competition.

“I think people are delighted with the type of revenue growth that we’ve had,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said. “But it’s a very, very competitive world.

“Of course it’s a concern, and our athletics directors, we are keenly focused on anything we can do to generate more revenue and more resources. However, we happen to also be a conference, if you look at our schools, they’ve never had more revenue than peers from other conferences.

“There are some differences built in in terms of size of stadium, how many people attend games and that all effects revenue. But our schools have been great about boxing above their weight level, historically. This isn’t a new phenomenon. Our schools do perhaps more with less and have done for many, many years than other conferences.”