Does it hurt a conference to cancel a college football game this season due to Covid-19 complications? You bet it does, and thanks to Sportico, we now have some concrete numbers.
Three Sportico writers spoke with sources inside the PAC-12 Conference who revealed that the league office loses around $5 million in revenue for each game it cancels. Five PAC-12 games have already been cancelled over the conference’s first three weeks of play. Representatives for the Pac-12 and its primary media partners, ESPN and FOX, did not comment on the story.
FOX and ESPN have a deal in place that splits the PAC-12’s top-tier football and basketball media rights amongst the network. In return, the conference receives around $300 million annually. That deal, which sees FOX and ESPN split 22 football games each season, is set to expire after 2024.
Last week, the PAC-12 showed it was willing to get creative in order to allow as many teams as possible to play. When UCLA’s home game against Utah and Cal’s visit to Arizona State were both cancelled due to Covid-19 outbreaks within the Utah and Arizona State programs, the conference allowed Cal and UCLA to play one another, kicking off at 9 am local time on FS1 on Sunday.
The fear remains that any conference losses will make their way down to individual schools. Right now, the PAC-12 distributes roughly $33 million to each of its 12 members, with the majority of the money coming from media rights deals.