Comcast Seeks $50 Million From Pac-12 Networks Following Years of Overpayments

USC vs. Oregon State on the Pac-12 Network
(Image credit: Ali Gradischer/Getty Images)

Comcast, a founding partner for Pac-12 Networks, overpaid the regional sports networks operation by around $50 million from the channels' inception in 2012 through 2016. 

Making matters even worse for the troubled RSN, its now former (opens in new tab) president, Mark Shuken, and former CFO, Brent Willman, didn't reveal to the Pac-12 Athletic Conference's board of directors this important revelation, which was uncovered by an independent audit conducted in 2017.

The news was originally reported by the San Jose Mercury News (opens in new tab)

Shuken and Willman were fired by Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff late last week, but the mess only exacerbates trouble for an underperforming cable network that has drastically impacted the splintered fortunes of the Pac-12.

Pac-12 Networks have only generated a sliver of what other RSNs tied to "Power 5" collegiate athletic conferences make. For example, in the pandemic impacted year of 2021, the SEC Network reported revenue of $833 million (opens in new tab). And the Big Ten Conference, which doesn't break out TV money, reported "sports revenue" of $583 million.

The Pac-12 Network, meanwhile, reported revenue of just $37.7 million in 2021.

With their share of RSN money being the biggest source of revenue for the conference's individual collegiate stakeholders, it wasn't so shocking for many observers last summer when the Pac-12's two biggest schools, USC and UCLA, announced plans to join the Big Ten starting in 2024. 

And now things just got worse, with the conference's 12 schools collectively on the hook for $50 million to pay back Comcast. 

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!