This year, officials at the Pac-10 decided to move towards a more aggressive media outreach plan and it appears to have paid off.
It started with a new brand for the conference in the shape of a redesigned, sleeker, logo that encompasses a wave inside a mountain.
Ted Miller, Pac-10 blogger for ESPN, writes:
As I am typing this, Stewart Mandel and Andy Staples are to my left doing video for SI.com, giving their summary of the Pac-10 press conference from the W Hotel in Manhattan.
They are talking about the wide-open Pac-10 race, how the conference isn't afraid to schedule tough nonconference games, how the Pac-10 -- top-to-bottom -- might be as good as any conference in the country and how the conference seems certain to produce a leading Heisman Trophy contender.
The reason I note what these two national, non-ESPN.com writers are doing is this: Both are based on the East Coast. And both would not be doing this video together (and in coats and ties!) if the Pac-10 were again holding media day on a single afternoon inside a business-traveler hotel by LAX.
It is no accident that the conference's rebranding effort begins just a few short months before negotiating a new television contract.
The rebranding of the Pac-10 comes months before Scott and his team will sit down with television executives to hammer out the conference's new media deals. There, Scott hopes to correct an imbalance that left the Pac-10 last among the six BCS automatic-qualifying conferences in revenue. In fiscal 2009, the Pac-10 made $96.8 million. The same year, the Big Ten made $220 million. This year, the SEC distributed $209 million to its 12 member schools.
The trip out east opened the door to more national coverage but also provided four of the conference's elite quarterbacks, including Arizona's Nick Foles, an opportunity to travel to Bristol, Connecticut and visit ESPN's headquarters.