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Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Pac-12 Reportedly Rejected ESPN’s $30 Million Per School Annual Offer

  • In the fall of 2022, ESPN reportedly offered $30 million per school annually to the Pac-12.
  • The Pac-12 rejected ESPN's offer as it now falls to four teams amid massive realignment driven by media revenue.
In the fall of 2022, ESPN reportedly offered $30 million per school annually to the Pac-12.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN reportedly offered $30 million per school to the Pac-12 in the fall of 2022 in a media deal that, in hindsight, could have mitigated the conference’s current collapse amid Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Washington, and Utah making recent departure decisions. 

According to John Canzano’s newsletter, ESPN’s offer covered the conference’s media rights, including the Pac-12 Network. The Pac-12’s presidents and chancellors reportedly told commissioner George Kliavkoff to reject the offer. They countered with $50 million per school, which ESPN did not entertain ahead of their current Pac-12 deal set to expire on July 1, 2024. 

ESPN’s $30 million offer was not only more than Apple’s reported $25 million per school offer made to the Pac-12, but it also would have given the network greater visibility on ESPN’s platforms compared to the streaming subscriber base of Apple TV. 

The reported fall 2022 offer from ESPN came after the Pac-12’s two biggest schools, USC and UCLA, revealed their June decisions to join the Big Ten starting in 2024, where they will now be joined alongside fellow Pac-12 defectors Oregon and Washington. The Big Ten’s media deal with Fox will pay Oregon and Washington between $35-$40 million annually.

Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah will reportedly make around $31 million annually from the Big 12’s media deals with ESPN and Fox. The moves leave the remaining four Pac-12 schools — Oregon State, Washington State, Stanford, and Cal — without a media deal as they consider options to merge with the ACC or Mountain West

“Conference realignment is driven by this continual chase of revenue,” Amy Perko, CEO of the college sports reform group the Knight Commission, told Front Office Sports. “The winners, at least in the media, are being defined as the conferences that bring in the most revenue.”

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