Pac-12 financial outlook still not strong
The Big 12’s status as the third-most profitable conference in college sports was strengthened with the news that the Pac-12 brought in less revenue last school year, according to federal tax returns released this week.
According to a story in USA Today, which you can read here, the Pac-12 brought in $12.5 million less in 2017-18 than it did in 2016-17. That is primarily due to getting little payout from the Rose Bowl, which that year was a national semifinal featuring Oklahoma and Georgia.
The Pac-12 released a statement that said some of the revenue loss was offset by returning to the schools some Rose Bowl money that had been withheld from previous years, in case of shortfalls.
According to the tax document, the Pac-12 paid each school about $29.5 million, about $5 million less than the Big 12 paid its members and far less than what the Big Ten ($54 million per school) or SEC ($43.7 million) paid its members. Unlike the other Power 5 conference, the Big 12 schools also reap revenue from third-tier media rights. That money is negligible for most of the members but brings in about $15 million per year for Texas and about $5 million a year for OU.
The Pac-12 Network has not been the moneymaker that the conference expected. The Pac-12 is hoping for a cash infusion by selling equity in its network, which is wholly owned by the schools. Traditional media and networks are in an uncertain time, with streaming services getting a bigger and bigger foothold on U.S. consumers and sports fans. Colorado chancellor Philip DiStefano expressed optimism that the Pac-12 would entice a big investor, but we’ll see.
USA Today reported that the federal tax returns show the Pac-12 spending extravagantly on commissioner Larry Scott, who received more than $5 million in total compensation for the 2017 calendar year. Scott also was given a $1.9 million loan from the Pac-12 and had many other financial perks.
The Pac-12 also reported paying network president Mark Shuken, hired in September 2017, about $280,000. That’s the equivalent of $840,000 annually.