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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Pac-12’s Immediate Future On Line As It Addresses Media Rights, Realignment

  • The Pac-12's leaders met on Tuesday to discuss its uncertain future.
  • The Arizona board of regents is also meeting on Tuesday as its schools are targeted by the Big 12.
Pac-12 Conference Hires Its First Dedicated Head of Football Operations
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday is shaping up to be one of the most critical days in the history of the Pac-12. Conference presidents, chancellors, and athletic directors met to discuss a potential media-rights deal without coming to any official agreement, according to multiple reports.

The deal discussed was streaming heavy with Apple, according to ESPN, and with enough subscriptions could theoretically bring in more revenue than the Big 12’s $380 million annual deal with Fox and ESPN that kicks in next year. It could also be worth significantly less. The Pac-12 declined to comment to Front Office Sports.

While the group plans to meet again soon, the Arizona board of regents, which governs the University of Arizona and Arizona State, is scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. ET — with the Arizona schools the presumed next targets for the Big 12, along with Utah.

With no media rights deal beyond the 2023-24 academic year, the Pac-12’s current members are:

  • Arizona
  • Arizona State
  • California
  • Colorado — rejoining the Big 12 in 2024
  • Oregon
  • Oregon State
  • Stanford
  • UCLA — moving to the Big Ten in 2024
  • USC — moving to the Big Ten in 2024
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Washington State

If agreed upon, a new media deal could entice the remaining nine schools to stay put and attract a 10th member or more. Until now, the Pac-12 has been “in never-never land,” a source recently commented to Front Office Sports — and a lack of progress on the media front could push more schools away.

If the Arizona schools are ready to jump ship, then Tuesday’s Pac-12 meeting could have been the last chance to convince them otherwise. 

Losing Arizona, ASU, and potentially Utah would decimate the conference and make schools like Oregon and Washington even bigger targets for the likes of the Big Ten and ACC.

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