Fox, ESPN Pac-12 deal shows there's no end in sight to sports spending

It will be interesting to see when the consumer appetite for sports runs into the consumer desire to stop paying more for cable TV service that is driven, in part, by the cost of delivering more sports.

The recent 12-year deal with Fox and ESPN to pay the Pac-12 Conference $3 billion for rights to its games is evidence "college sports and sports in general is one of the leading lights of generating larger audiences," Fox Sports Networks President Randy Freer told The Los Angeles Times.

To get the deal, the two companies outbid NBCUniversal, the Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA)-owned broadcast/cable programming giant that knows a thing or two about the cost of sports. NBCU lost money the last time it televised the Olympics and is now in an internal struggle over whether it will actually be the last time it televises the Olympics.

The new NBCU approach is "going to be disciplined," Steve Burke, NBCU CEO said during a Comcast first quarter earnings call. "There will be instances where we go as far as we feel we should go and someone else gets the rights, which appears to be the case of the Pac-12."

The new disciplined approach means NBCU will approach sports from one primary perspective.

"We are in the business to make money," Burke said.

For more:
- the Los Angeles Times has this story
- listen to Comcast's earnings webcast

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