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.
Outgoing Pac-12 Nets Pres Lydia Murphy-Stephans to Cablefax: No AD was ever told Pac-12 Nets would deliver the same as peer conference nets.
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) June 16, 2017
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.