It’s no secret that the Pac-12 conference does not boast the same television revenue as the Big Ten or SEC.

But still, it was a bit surprising to hear outgoing Pac-12 Network president Lydia Murphy-Stephans bluntly admit that immutable reality during an interview with Cablefax.

There is a gap between what Pac-12 Networks delivers and the Big Ten Network and the SEC Network. What has to be factored in is the revenue specifically from Pac-12 Networks is only one part of the overall revenue each university receives from the Pac-12. I understand there is frustration, though no athletic director or administrator was ever told the Pac-12 Networks would deliver the same or more revenue than what its peer conferences are currently getting from their networks.

It’s particularly interesting that, per Murphy-Stephans, the Pac-12 Network was launched with the assumption it would never match its “peer conferences” in revenue.

Though Murphy-Stephans put a positive spin on her time at Pac-12 Network, the network has faced some substantial financial issues since it began in 2012. Pac-12 Network never appeared on DirecTV, and revenues stalled to the point that athletic directors and administrators started complaining publicly. The gap in TV revenue between the Big Ten/SEC and the Pac-12 became so frustrating that even Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott expressed doubt about Pac-12 Network’s future.

Contrary to what Murphy-Stephans told Cablefax, Pac-12 ADs have said on the record that their schools are getting less TV revenue than they were promised.

Utah athletic director Chris Hill is on record as one AD who is disappointed with the Pac-12 Networks. He told the San Francisco Chronicle, “we expected more.”

Washington State AD Bill Moos said the payouts have increased each year and he was expecting them to be in the range of “$5 million to $6 million when we were launching,” but that has yet to happen.

Murphy-Stephans announced in April she was stepping down from Pac-12 Network to start a consulting firm.


About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

  • MrBull

    A better network President would have done more to improve things…so I guess when one fails as a network president they start their own consulting company….that shouldn’t last long…

  • Dale Moog

    They will have the last laugh.When they shift to an all digital model and they own 100% of the the frame work.The others are tided into big media companies, and they do not even own control of the network.The PAC 12 should hold the line. In 10 years they will be the big winner.I could even see them partnering with the big 12 to sell the big 12 some space on the PAC 12 networks. Since they own the total control they could sell off a share to the Big 12 and create a college sports network that would control 2 major conferences.They need to be smart and not be looking for short term greed.

    • Christopher K. Smith

      This article is from last year but the numbers hold up. Kansas state still generates more revenue than 4 Pac12 teams and already makes double in their own Tier 3 (digital) network than the Pac12 pays out to it’s members. How would those number improve under a Pac12 umbrella? Longhorn network? Since 2011, each team is already granted Tier 3 rights.

      I’m not sure how the Big12 will bungle the next generation of broadcasting games, but they won’t need the Pac12’s help.

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