A report that the Big 12 was opening talks with Fox and ESPN about its next TV deal sent shockwaves through college expansion and college realignment talk Wednesday.
What does it mean for the Pac-12?
Check out recent updates on college conference realignment and conference expansion for the Pac-12.
ESPN’s Pete Thamel writes: “The Big 12 plans to engage in discussions with Fox and ESPN about the league’s next television contract, the conference announced Wednesday. The conference said in a release that it would ‘be entering into discussions with its multi-media partners to explore an accelerated extension of its current agreements.’ Sources had previously told ESPN that the two networks had agreed to the talks.”
Sports Illustrated’s Andy Mitts writes: “But that is likely to change. IF the Big 12 can get preliminary numbers and IF those numbers are significantly higher than what the Pac 12 is likely to bring in, then that information might be the final push needed to kick start the next round of realignment. But we’ll have to wait and see if the Big 12 can extract significantly more value in this next deal, or if the Big Ten media deal ate up the majority of the available cash remaining.”
Pete Thamel or ESPN writes: “The willingness of the Big 12’s television partners to come to the table could mitigate one big advantage the Pac-12 has in the conference television landscape. At Pac-12 media days, commissioner George Kliavkoff said the league was in “the enviable position of being next to market” after the Big Ten. The Pac-12 has two years remaining on its television contract, and the league announced in July that its board of directors had authorized the conference to begin negotiations for its next media rights agreement. It’s unclear how much that has helped the Pac-12. Before the Big 12 planning talks, the Pac-12’s advantage in the television landscape had been that the conference could give tangible numbers to its member schools and any potential additions. With the Big 12 having three years remaining on its deal, the prevailing thought had been that the conference could only give projected numbers, which would present a risk for any school considering joining the l eague. The Big 12 and Pac-12 have been attempting to find an edge after taking significant member losses in the past year.”
CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd writes: “The advantage for the Big 12 is that it will have 12 schools united going forward even after the departures of Oklahoma and Texas. It can offer rightsholders at least the perception of stability given BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will be joining the league. The same cannot be said of the 10 remaining Pac-12 teams. The conference is losing the Los Angeles market, a key in terms of the league’s media rights evaluation, when USC and UCLA leave in 2024.”
Outkick’s David Hookstead writes: “Why is the Big 12 getting the ball rolling on a new media deal such a bad update for the PAC-12? It’s shockingly simple. The big pitch the PAC-12 had for its members to stay together was the possibility of putting together a new media deal. However, with so much uncertain hovering around the PAC-12 and the Big Ten gunning to poach some more teams, it seems unlikely a media network hands the conference a huge deal. Does it make sense to agree to a deal not knowing who might be in the conference in a few years? Of course not, and what program is going to agree to a long term deal if there’s a chance to go to the Big Ten? The answer is none. Now , the Big 12 can possibly secure a new deal and take that to PAC-12 programs not being targeted by the B1G like Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah to see if a deal can be made.”
Pac-12 Insider John Canzano writes: “ESPN president Burke Magnus talked about Pac-12 expansion, not contraction. He said that he didn’t think anyone believed the conference would stay at 10 members. Magnus is negotiating with the conference and spoke about Pac-12 expansion as if it were a foregone conclusion. It caught my attention and it raised the eyebrows of those in the media-rights world.”
Outkick’s David Hookstead writes: “There’s just one problem with the PAC-12 attempting expansion as a last ditch effort to survive, and it’s the fact the conference has very little leverage right now. If it was known for a fact no more teams were leaving for the Big Ten, the conference would actually probably be in a stable position to at least move forward as is and maybe pluck a few MWC teams. However, without a locked down media deal in place, there’s really no incentive to join the PAC- 12, and who is going to give the conference a media deal when many more teams might be leaving? Essentially, the PAC-12 selling point to smaller programs is there *might* be stability in the future, but that’s far from certain right now . … The PAC-12 seems to be in serious trouble, and it’s incredibly unlikely an expansion hail Mary saves it based on the information we know right now.”
John Canzano writes: “I’m not saying that Oregon and Washington are staying in the Pac-12 forever. We’re in wild times. I think we could see another round of significant changes to the landscape in two, three, five, or seven years. But right now, I’m leaning into the idea of the remaining 10 members staying together in this cycle and adding a few more universities via expansion. Expansion would immediately help the Pac-12’s mission to hold itself together. If you add new members, especially at a fractional media-rights distribution in the initial 2-4 years, you could sprinkle some of that leftover revenue on Oregon and Washington to keep them happy.”
Kevin Korba of Sports Illustrated writes: “Adding a San Diego State would give the Pac-12 access to the Southern California market again, while UNLV gives access to the transcendent Las Vegas market. However, if they are able to lure away a higher profile Big 12 team that could also be enticing. Regardless of who they decide to pursue, there is a firm belief that expansion is coming as ESPN’s executive Burke Magnus expressed.”
Heartland Sports’ Bryan Clinton writes: “Oklahoma State is a prime expansion candidate, but to think they’d leave for the Pac-12 is asinine,” he wrote. “I’d be worried if it were the SEC or the Big Ten, but to leave the Big 12 when it has finally found some stability for a dying conference in the Pac-12 just doesn’t make sense. Now, I don’ t typically consider myself a fortune teller, but I can say with complete confidence that the Big 12 isn’t going to disband because schools such as Oklahoma decide that they would like to align with the programs out west. While this might be something George Kliavkoff hopes and dreams of happening, the Pac-12 lost its chance at expansion around a decade ago, ultimately leaving the conference to die moving forward.”
Marshall Scott of Pistols Firing writes: “The Pac-12 and the Big 12 have been put in a similar boat the past two years with the conferences both losing their top two brands to conference realignment. With USC and UCLA already making plans to join the Big Ten, the Pac-12 risks losing at least one more school to the Big Ten, as Oregon has reportedly begun preliminary talks to see if the Ducks would fit in the conference. Should Oregon leave, that could resume the conference realignment game of musical chairs, which could push certain Pac-12 schools (like Utah, Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado) to the Big 12.”
Pac-12 Insider John Canzano puts San Diego State at 2-1 to join the conference, SMU at 4-1, UNLV at 4-1, Boise State at 6-1, Fresno State at 8-1 and “Big 12 hunting” at 10-1.
He wrote: “Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff said on Media Day last month that he hadn’t decided if he was going shopping in the Big 12 yet. It was a barb directed at a conference he accused of lobbing “grenades” at him for several weeks. Kliavkoff said he believed the Big 12 was trying to destabilize the Pac-12. There’s the matter of Big 12 bylaws, which potentially penalizes departing members to the tune of about $76 million. But there’s a tricky workaround there.”
Chuck Neinas told the San Jose Mercury News’ Jon Wilner: “The amount of media revenue they will receive is very similar, so why leave? Why would it be attractive for the Pac-12 schools to go to the Big 12? Both will stay as they are. If something happens to Oregon or Washington, that could change the picture.”
John Canzano wrote: “If the Pac-12 poached Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas Tech, TCU, Kansas and Kansas State, the Big 12 would disband. I don’t think this is going to happen. In part, because I don’ t believe ESPN wants to further disrupt the teetering ecosystem. Also, because I don’t think the Pac-12 would necessarily want all of those schools. Still, I’m throwing this out there because one Pac-12 AD told me he’s in favor of chasing a number of current and future Big 12 teams vs. adding a bunch of Mountain West Conference candidates that dilute the value of the Pac-12. ‘Oklahoma State is at the top of my list,’ he said.”
Reach Jeremy Cluff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Pac-12 realignment, expansion live updates, rumors, speculation, news