CU's PAC-12 Haul: Big TV Money for the Conference Means Big Money for the School

May 2011

When the University of Colorado Boulder decided to ditch the Big 12 and take up with the Pac-10, school officials thought they could expect $12 million to $14 million annually from the new arrangement. Well, the numbers are in, and it turns out the Buffs will get more than $20 million per year from joining what is now the Pac-12 (Denver Post). Other outlets have the numbers a bit different—such as $19 million annually, according to the Denver Business Journal—but the bottom line remains the same: The Pac-12's new deal with Fox and ESPN is worth roughly $3 billion over 12 years starting in 2012, compared to the $60 million it made in the final year of its previous agreement (Bloomberg), making it the most lucrative television deal in college sports.

Given the Post's claim that CU made just $6 million from the Big 12 annually (compared with CU's own number of $9 million to $10 million), when the new rate kicks in the university will have more than tripled its yearly haul from athletics television broadcasting. The pot at the end of the rainbow is a year away, though, and CU still owes the Big 12 a $6.5 million exit fee.