USC reportedly put off by equal revenue distribution in Pac-12
According to one USC staffer, the Pac-12 should have thought to discuss revenue distribution with the Trojans. While members of athletic departments around the conference were caught off guard by the stunning news that USC and UCLA will leave the league in 2024, perhaps they shouldn’t have been
In a report from longtime Pac-12 columnist John Canzano, a USC staffer speaking on the condition of anonymity said that the conference never once asked how USC felt about the distribution of media rights revenue. Each of the 12 member universities receive equal shares of TV money.
It would appear USC felt it should have been different.
“No one ever had a conversation with us about how we felt about the revenue share,” the USC staffer told Canzano. “Nobody asked, ‘Are you OK with it? Would we like to see something different next contract?’ Not one conversation with LA schools, that was a mistake. We could’ve ended up leaving for the Big Ten regardless, but you have to have the conversation when we have higher cost of living in LA, higher tax, and 60-70 percent of the Pac-12’s TV market.”
The LA market houses more than 5.7 million TV homes, according to the 2021 Nielsen DMA data. That ranks as the second-largest market in the country behind only New York. Whether all those TV homes are tuned to USC and UCLA games on Saturdays matters, but not enough to devalue that market size in the eyes of the television network partners the Pac-12 and Big Ten are negotiating with.
It’s worth pointing out that USC will be joining a league in the Big Ten that also distributes media rights revenue equally. The league will reportedly distribute nine figures to each school under its next TV deal; USC will get the same amount as Rutgers.
In the program’s announcement, USC also noted that it’ll immediately become a full member of the league, presumably implying that USC will be entitled to full payouts right away. That would represent a departure from the way the Big Ten handled its last round of expansion.
When Nebraska joined the league in 2011, it took six years for it to become a fully-vested member of the league. Maryland and Rutgers were not immediately full partners either.