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Head of the Pac

Since taking over the Pac-12 Conference, Larry Scott has brokered a multibillion-dollar TV deal and launched a revolution in the business of college sports. Now he’s out to make college football as lucrative as the NFL

In a hotel conference room in Portland, Ore., in early December, four representatives of the Pacific-12 Conference, including Commissioner Larry Scott, 47, sit at a square table with five creative directors from Imaginary Forces, a Los Angeles advertising studio. They are trying to come up with the look and feel of the Pac-12 Network, a 24-hour cable enterprise launching in August 2012 that will be devoted exclusively to Pac-12 sports. Peter Frankfurt, the creative director of Imaginary Forces, is narrating as an associate clicks through a series of gleaming computer-generated graphics in silver, white, and blue. “The word we are thinking about is, ‘connection,’ ” Frankfurt says. “We are dealing with 12 schools, so there is this connection.”

Scott leans back in a wire mesh chair and holds a pen up near his ear so that it vibrates like an antenna. Scott is six-foot-three, with a broad, sloping forehead and diamond-shaped eyes. It is hard to read his reaction to the presentation. The rest of his team, including Gary Stevenson, president of Pac-12 Enterprises, the division that oversees the network, and Marketing Director Danette Leighton, look unimpressed. Scott nods, then sits forward.