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Did Oregon and Washington Make a Mistake by Leaving the PAC-12?

Written by John O'Connor

Last updated on

The inability of PAC-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff to get the numbers he wanted from TV partners caused the conference’s best brands to flood the exits, seemingly over money. But will Oregon and Washington actually profit from their new TV deal with the Big Ten? New details cast doubts.

Table of Contents
  1. PAC-12 departures by the numbers
  2. Apple was the only viable option for the PAC-12
  3. The PAC-12 ranks last in TV money
  4. Oregon and Washington won’t be getting a full share of Big 10 TV revenue
  5. Oregon and Washington TV money: Big 10 vs. PAC-12

The PAC-12 is in the last year of its TV deal with ESPN and FOX, but unlike its peers in the Big 10, Big12, and SEC, the west coast’s premier collegiate conference was unable to reach terms on a new TV deal for anything close to its Power 5 rivals. Early reporting on the terms of a proposed deal with Apple TV+ seemed to indicate that Apple was lowballing the PAC-12. However, a story in the Athletic shed light on the actual Apple TV+ terms, and not only were they competitive with the current PAC-12 deal, they match the money Oregon and Washington will receive for the first 7 years of their deal with the Big 10.

PAC-12 departures by the numbers

As you can see from the numbers below, at least initially, Oregon and Washington won’t profit from their new Big 10 TV deal since they aren’t eligible for a full share of the Big 10’s TV money until 2031 (when the current 7 billion dollar deal expires).

Apple deal

PAC-12 schools receive $25 million base payout with increases as subscriptions go up

Current deal

PAC-12 schools receive approximately $20 million annually

Big 10 deal for Oregon and UW

$30 million, plus an additional $1 million per year for 7 years

Apple was the only viable option for the PAC-12

PAC-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff was on a mission to double the $250 million dollar TV deal the PAC-12 had in place that expires at the end of this season. Instead, he was left holding the bag, trying to pitch a status quo contract with Apple to his remaining member schools.

However, Had PAC-12 members like Oregon and Washington stayed in the League of Champions, their annual TV revenues would be comparable to what they are making for the first 7 years in the Big 10. Initially, the Apple numbers weren’t disclosed, and reports from several outlets claiming the payouts were “relatively low” turned out to be false.

The deal would begin in 2024-25 with “relatively low” payouts, though with the potential to grow incrementally if certain subscription goals are hit.

Nick selbe, Sports Illustrated

“Relatively low” could have meant $5 million per year per school, or it could mean $15 million, but not $25 million which is on par with what PAC-12 schools were already making, with potential increases into Big 12 territory as subscriptions increased.

The PAC-12 ranks last in TV money

PAC-12 schools are leaving the conference as fast as they can because things were about to go from bad to worse with annual TV revenues.

Earnings by team for major Power 5 conferences:

  • Big 10 – $80-100 million annually
  • SEC – $70 million annually
  • Big 12 – $50 million annually with new deal
  • ACC – $35 million annually
  • PAC-12 – $20 million annually and dropping (conference dissolving over inability to negotiate acceptable new TV deal)

Oregon and Washington won’t be getting a full share of Big 10 TV revenue

As the Power 5 TV rankings above demonstrate, the PAC-12 was lagging behind college football’s biggest brands. USC and UCLA, who will get a full share of the Big Ten’s lucrative deal from the start, made the obvious move.

However, unlike the Trojans and Bruins, Oregon and Washington, will profit by approximately $70 million annually simply by switching from the PAC-12 to the Big 10. Assuming the Apple contract would have netted a decent number of subscribers, the Pacific Northwest powers may have made more money over the next 7 years by staying in the PAC-12.

Oregon and Washington TV money: Big 10 vs. PAC-12

PAC-12 Apple

$25 million plus major step ups with increased subscriptions

Big 10 small share

$30 million, with an additional $1 million per season for 7 years. After that, full share.

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