Tuesday October 3, 2023

Despite Putting On A Brave Face, Pac-12 Scrambling For Relevance

  • Conference could face further member departures after loss of Colorado
  • Inability to close TV deal clouds outlook
Pac 12's future is in peril.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Front Office Sports Today

NBC Could Get In On College Football Playoffs

NBC is exploring broadcasting a slice of the expanded CFP in 2026.
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October 3, 2023 | Podcast
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The Pac-12 is putting on a brave face amid the University of Colorado’s departure to the Big 12.

But what will be left of the Pac-12 after another potential wave of college sports realignment — and will it even remain in the Power Five?

Already scuffling to finalize a media deal and solidify its remaining membership, the Pac-12 said it would “embrace expansion opportunities and bring new fans, markets, excitement, and value.” Colorado regent Lesley Smith boosted that vague sentiment by wishing the “Pac-12, Pac-10, whatever it is in the future — all the best.”

But the Pac-12 could face further attacks on its already tenuous standing. The Big 12 is now reportedly seeking to add the other three “Four Corners” schools — Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah, all current Pac-12 members — to join Colorado. The ACC is also looking to boost its standing with expansion — a move that could further distance itself financially from the Pac-12.

The Big Ten led Power Five conferences last year with $845.6 million in revenue, followed by the SEC’s $802 million, ACC’s $617 million, Pac-12’s $580.9 million, and Big 12’s $480.6 million. With the pending membership shifts, those numbers are about to change significantly.

The Pac-12’s long-running attempts to close a media deal are now further clouded by the conference’s inability to tell prospective rights buyers exactly which schools will or won’t be members.

“It’s a fair point, but those late [TV] windows do still have value. It’s a key asset the conference is bringing to the table,” Patrick Crakes, a longtime sports TV consultant with Crakes Media, told Front Office Sports.

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