The Pac-10 is broken. It has been for a long time. Some conferences have sold their souls to "modernize" like the Big East and ACC. They look like modern day conglomerates with no identity, brand or geographic footprint. They are simply a loose confederation of schools that are driven by the football money machine rather than tradition.
The Pac-10 suffers the opposite syndrome. We appear to be the grumpy 70-year old guy taking advantage of early bird specials around town and mumbling about the teenagers today and their crazy conference championship games and television networks.
Well, we've reached a breaking point. No longer can we afford to be that odd entity that plays their football games at 10 o'clock at night. We need to become relevant again and that requires more deftly bridging the gap between tradition and modernization. Want an example? The SEC signed a 15 year/2 BILLION dollar TV deal with ESPN . Then they turned around and signed a 15 year/825 million dollar deal with CBS . That works out to $188 million dollars a year for the conference and just over $15.6 million dollars a year for EACH school before a single ticket is sold.
The Pac-10 football arrangement is currently with ABC and Fox for a total of $322 million over ten years. That works out to $32 million a year for the conference and about $3.7 million per year for each school. If you add in the basketball contract it works out to another $500K annually for each school. Pretty pathetic. What do you think WSU could do if they had an additional $11.9 million dollars annually in TV revenue? Heck, we could have just saved that additional money for three years and built the stadium upgrade without a single donor dollar.
Obviously, it would be a long time before we get that sort of money (if ever) because of things like media market size. However, the disparity should not be so egregious between the two conferences. Frankly, it's amazing that we've remained as competitive as we have being that short-funded.
I think the Pac-10's new Commissioner gets it and we are going to see a heck of a lot of change over the next 24 months. So, hold on to your hats as he lines up tactics to negotiate the new television contracts you are going to see everything from 100 different versions of expansion plans to all sorts of network scenarios.
Here are our suggestions for The Commish as he starts to figure out how to bring the Pac-10 back to it's rightful place as the greatest conference ever created in the history of humankind. Or something like that.