Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormak declared last week that the “Big 12 is open for business.”
USC and UCLA announced last month that they would be leaving the Pac-12. With Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big 12 before the 2025 season, a merger between the conferences is becoming more realistic.
The Big 12 is adding four new schools next year, with another six Pac-12 schools reportedly interested. But even with the new schools, outgoing Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby testified last year that Texas and Oklahoma brought in 50% of the rights value to the league.
“Now you have the Pac-12, which has less of [a] valued rights deal than any Power 5 group,” said Bobby Hacker, a West Coast attorney and sports media consultant. “They’ve now lost the L.A. market.”
- In 2012, former Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott signed a 12-year deal, keeping the conference at below-market valuation.
- With the addition of USC and UCLA, the new Big Ten deal is expected to be $1.2 billion per year. The Pac-12 would have to increase their rights by around $600 million annually to receive half of the Big Ten’s earnings.
“Both leagues would make more by working together than they would separately,” former Fox Sports executive Patrick Crakes said. The Pac-12’s media rights deal is up sooner than the Big 12’s.
Hacker believes the league is focused on media, claiming that “college sports is now completely controlled by ESPN and Fox.”