Having a TV network without a major distributor can be still quite lucrative.
According to federal tax returns obtained by USA Today, the Pac-12 had the most revenue of the five major college conferences for the 2012-2013 fiscal year ending on June 30, 2013. The western conference pulled in $334 million.
The Big Ten was second with $318.4 million and the SEC had $315.4 million. Before the Pac-12's return was obtained, the Big Ten was considered to be the revenue leader.
The return was the first time the Pac-12 had the revenue from both its new rights agreement with Fox and ESPN as well as it's own network. The Pac-12 Network, launched in the style of the Big Ten Network and the upcoming SEC Network, does not have the widespread distribution of what the Big Ten Network has and what the SEC Network will have, however. It's not on DirecTV, the largest satellite carrier in the country.
While the SEC Network and DirecTV haven't come to an agreement, one is likely before the August launch date of the network.
One reason for the lack of distribution may be because the Pac-12 fully owns its own network and the regional ones underneath it. Fox has a significant minority stake in the Big Ten Network and the SEC Network is an ESPN subsidiary. But the sole autonomy means the Pac-12 controls all the revenue, too.
On its latest return, the conference listed $252.7 million in revenue from TV money, including $81.9 million from the Pac-12 Network. The money from the network itself is almost as much as the total TV revenue – $85.6 million – on its previous return.
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