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A few days after USC and UCLA forever altered the college sports landscape with their move to the Big Ten Conference last summer, the Pac-12 announced that it would begin its exclusive 90-day negotiating window with ESPN and Fox for its long-awaited next media rights agreement.
The move by Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff to begin that process early was meant to quickly gather information that, at least theoretically, could calm the nerves of the remaining 10 schools and keep them from looking to follow the Los Angeles schools out the door to surer footing.
But nine months have passed, and the Pac-12 remains without an agreement.
Meanwhile in October, just weeks after the Pac-12’s exclusivity window closed, the Big 12 jumped the Pac-12 in line, negotiating a new six-year deal with ESPN and Fox worth $2.3 billion. Remember, in the summer of 2021 the Big 12 had been left for dead by many after Texas and Oklahoma sneaked away to the Southeastern Conference, but it expanded with four new schools and stabilized.
A side-by-side comparison of how the two disregarded Power Five leagues handled their existential crises does not paint a pretty picture for Kliavkoff and the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors, who could have had their pick of the Big 12 leftovers to guarantee the survival of the West Coast’s premier conference. Of course, USC was the ringleader against Pac-12 expansion and then bolted for greener Midwestern pastures when the opportunity arose.
Kliavkoff could not have stopped the L.A. schools from pursuing the chance to double their revenues. Now he is stuck trying to assuage the 10 disgruntled remaining members and hold off increasing pressure from Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark, who seems to have the better hand to play all of a sudden and doesn’t mind being the aggressor.
This is the backdrop for men’s basketball conference tournament week, when Kliavkoff will be working in Las Vegas to convince his athletic directors and presidents that he has a viable plan that can help them thrive, not simply survive.
Full coverage: USC, UCLA leaving Pac-12 to join Big Ten
USC and UCLA are leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten Conference in 2024, the two schools announced Thursday.
Here are five things to know about the Pac-12’s mess:
1. Are USC and UCLA to blame?
In the most literal terms, yes. One person I spoke with last week who is plugged into the media rights world thought the Pac-12 could have gotten a deal for a half-billion dollars if the L.A. schools were still around. Without USC and UCLA, it appears to be a struggle for Kliavkoff to negotiate an attractive package for the $300 million or so it would take to stay in the ballpark of the Big 12’s deal.
With the Trojans and Bruins in tow, the Pac-12’s deal could have placed the league an easy third behind the Big Ten and SEC. But here’s the thing: USC in particular was not feeling like letting its massive football brand be used to dole out charity payments to the rest of West Coast programs any longer.
One of the most obvious takeaways from the L.A. crosstown rivals’ bold move to the Big Ten is just how much only the big brands are going to matter going forward in college sports. That may not be collegial, but it’s the new reality.
Adding USC and UCLA made the Big Ten a rumored $250 million extra annually to be distributed among the other 14 schools. The Big Ten and SEC are now so far ahead of the lesser three Power Fives that the excluded big football brands — other than Notre Dame, of course — are frothing at the mouth to get their due.
There’s a reason Florida State athletic director Michael Alford told the university’s board of trustees recently that “something has to change” in regard to the revenue gap between the Seminoles and their desired peers at the top of the sport. Florida State and Clemson could demand unequal revenue sharing from the Atlantic Coast Conference, but that’s just a recipe for unanimous unhappiness.
It could be argued Washington and Oregon are the most attractive available brands after FSU and Clemson, but they’ve already been told no — at least at this time — by the Big Ten.
USC and UCLA could have made a decision to preserve the college sports map for the greater good, but that would have been bad business — at least, if the L.A. schools want to be in the business of competing for football national championships in the modern era.
2. What is the Pac-12’s best option?
Conversations with two well-placed sources in the media industry not authorized to speak publicly about negotiations chalked up some of the Pac-12’s struggles to strike gold as unfortunate timing. There are much bigger issues at play than the lack of buzz about Pac-12 football when you remove Lincoln Riley and the train of five-star quarterbacks he will bring to L.A. from the equation.
For one, the country’s greater economic situation has even the biggest spenders examining their margins a little more. In the media space, that’s true, too, with Disney telling ESPN that it has to be more selective than it’s been in the past. The expanded College Football Playoff, for instance, is going to be up for grabs in the coming years. Getting a piece of the marquee events is paramount, and saving up for those just means there’s less to offer for one Pac-12 “After Dark” game per week. As one person said, the Pac-12 is a “nice-to-have,” not a must-have.
Fox can fill its Saturday late slot with Mountain West games on FS1 and not have to spend any extra on the Pac-12.
Kliavkoff has said from the time he took over as commissioner that the Pac-12 would consider streaming platforms such as Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video, but streamers are losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year right now and aren’t going to overpay for the Pac-12. Even if Prime Video or Apple did come through with favorable financials, either would lead to an extreme drop in exposure compared to the Pac-12’s peers whose best games are all over the air.
What good is a couple extra million per year if recruits and fans aren’t able to easily access your product?
There are no easy answers for Kliavkoff, which is why his schools have no choice but to keep an open mind about their future conference affiliation.
In the short-term, Kliavkoff has to make sure whatever final offer he brings forward keeps the Pac-12’s top football programs relevant, even if the money isn’t what he or his predecessor, Larry Scott, promised. That means ESPN or Fox has to remain a partner.
3. Will the Pac-12 expand?
Reports have linked the Pac-12 to San Diego State and Southern Methodist as expansion candidates, and Kliavkoff gave the world confirmation of his interest in the latter by attending a SMU basketball game last month.
Sure, the Aztecs would keep the league in Southern California, and the Mustangs would open up the Dallas market. But let’s not act for a second like the Pac-12 presidents and athletic directors want to share a penny of whatever their distributions are with fresh blood from the Mountain West and American Athletic.
The only reason it would make sense to consider adding these schools is if the Pac-12 is preparing for the possible departure of more schools. In that case, out of desperation, the league would have no choice but to strategically raid the Group of Five.
4. How should Washington and Oregon feel?
When USC and UCLA left for the Big Ten, many assumed Washington and Oregon would be next, forming a Western pod, of sorts. But the Big Ten decided to stop at 16 teams with the L.A. schools. The Huskies and Ducks could still end up on the Big Ten ark in the future, though, so there’s incentive for them to not box themselves into anything too strict in the coming years. More consolidation of top brands is likely to occur.
As long as they can still play on national TV, Washington and Oregon’s best option is to stay in the Pac-12 and ride it out for a bit longer, gunning for one of the automatic conference champion berths in the expanded 12-team playoff.
But the calculus could be different for Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah.
‘I am a nobody’: Meet the Minnesota fan who signaled USC’s Big Ten move months ago
Greg Flugaur says he’s a nobody. Perhaps that’s true, but the well-connected Minnesota fan was the first to report USC’s interest in joining the Big Ten.
5. How should the “Four Corners” schools feel?
The “Four Corners” schools — Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah — don’t have to waste time thinking about the carrot of a Big Ten invite down the line. They could be enticed by the Big 12’s newfound stability, which comes from the fact that the league members already have accepted they aren’t likely to draw interest from the Power Two — the SEC and Big Ten — at any point in the future. The Big 12 is as good as it gets, and they’re all working together to make it better.
Arizona surely would be drawn by the Big 12’s identity as one of the nation’s top basketball conferences, especially now that it’s without UCLA as its top historic rival in the Pac-12.
It’s hard to know which way the desert winds would blow Arizona State.
Utah, given the current strength of its football program, could see the benefit of staying in the Pac-12 and pushing for playoff berths in the short- term. But it also might not risk being left behind, given how hard it has worked to gain national respect.
If Colorado has any buyer’s remorse from its Big 12 defection, this could be the time to make it right again.
Ways to watch
Download the Pac-12 Now app for iOS or Android, or visit Pac-12.com/live today to access all Pac-12 Networks content.
Nicknamed the "Conference of Champions", the Pac-12 has won more NCAA national championships in team sports than any other conference in history.Why is the Pac-12 called the Conference of Champions? ›
The Pac-12 has won the most or tied for the most NCAA titles for 17 consecutive seasons (through 2021-22), winning at least six every year from 1999-2000 to 2018-19 and a record 14 in 1996-97. No other conference has won double-digit NCAA championships in a single year.Is the Pac-12 Network? ›
|Broadcast area||Arizona California Colorado Idaho Nevada Oregon Utah Washington Nationwide (via satellite)|
If you're looking for the cheapest way to stream Pac-12 Network, Sling could be your best choice.How much is a Pac-12 subscription? ›
There are 2 preferred options to get the Pac-12 Network with fuboTV. You can subscribe to the fuboTV Pro Plan for $74.99 per month (after 7-day free trial) and then add the $7.99 “fuboTV Extra” add on package to get Pac-12. Another option is to just subscribe to the fuboTV “Elite” channel plan for $84.99 per month.What is the biggest rivalry in the Pac-12? ›
The Best College Town in the Pac-12
Corvallis is consistently ranked as a top destination to have a true college experience.
|Toughest Conference in College Football|
The records of these two conferences are almost identical. The Pac-12 is a remarkable 29-4 in non-league games, while the SEC is a very impressive 32-7. Even considering the fact that the Pac-12 has come a long way, the league has still not caught up to the SEC in talent and depth.
Since then, the SEC has dominated, winning over 60% of national titles. The Southeastern Conference (SEC), home to the Alabama Crimson Tide (13 championships), the LSU Tigers (4 championships), the Florida Gators (3 championships), and other championship winners has collected 30 titles since 1936.What was the Pacific Coast Conference scandal? ›
The conference was wracked by scandal in 1951. Charges were made and confirmed that University of Oregon football coach Jim Aiken had violated the conference code for financial aid and athletic subsidies.What TV providers offer the Pac-12 Network? ›
These carriers include Spectrum, Cox, Dish, Frontier, and Xfinity. You can also watch Pac-12 Network programming by launching Sling TV, FuboTV, or Vidgo on your mobile device.Who covers Pac-12 Network? ›
Currently, fuboTV and Sling are the only major streaming services that carry Pac-12 Network, which will get you the most Pac-12 college sports events. Both services offer a free trial or promotional discounts for new signups.What Direct TV channel is Pac-12? ›
DirecTV is now testing high-definition and standard-definition signals for the Pac-12 Network on channel 612 in what appears to be a preparation for a long-anticipated launch of the regional sports network.Is the Pac-12 Network free on Roku? ›
Pac-12 is your home for FREE sports from the Conference of Champions! Watch classic encores from your favorite sports and exclusive, behind-the-scenes stories that showcase the heart and soul of Pac-12 student-athletes, coaches and legends. Free Roku Originals, live TV, and all your favorite TV and movies.How can I watch college football for free without cable? ›
- Stream college football for free with Hulu. Free Trial. ...
- Stream college football for free with fuboTV. Free Trial. ...
- Stream college football with Sling TV. Try It. ...
- Stream college football with ESPN Plus. ...
- Stream college football with Paramount Plus.
That might be a bit high given the recently completed Big 12 deal with ESPN and Fox at six-year “worth a total of $2.28 billion or about $31.5 million per school ending in 2030-31.Is the Pac-12 going away? ›
USC and UCLA are leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten Conference in 2024, the two schools announced, in a stunning move that transforms the college sports landscape.Will Pac-12 become Pac 10? ›
Southern California and UCLA will leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, the schools officially announced via press releases Thursday evening. The two schools reached out to the Big Ten and were not pursued, multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations told USA TODAY Sports. The move would occur for the 2024 season.
The UCLA–USC rivalry is the American collegiate athletics rivalry between the UCLA Bruins sports teams of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and USC Trojans teams of the University of Southern California (USC).Who is USC's biggest rival? ›
However, the rivalry between the University of Southern California and the University of Notre Dame has been going strong since 1926. Notre Dame leads 48-36-5 in the battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh, an Irish club adorned with ornaments.What is the oldest college rivalry? ›
The Yale-Princeton rivalry is the oldest in college football, dating back to 1873. Yale and Princeton dominated the college football scene when this rivalry began, with Yale claiming 13 outright national titles and Princeton claiming eight between 1869 and 1894. The 2018 game was played at Fenway Park.What is the 1 friendliest college town in America? ›
Berkeley, California. Home to free spirits and liberal minds, Berkeley, California is one of the friendliest college towns in the country.What is the number one party college in California? ›
University of California Santa Barbara is the #1 party school in California, hands down. It's located right on the beach and the students all live within a square mile of each other. There is always a party happening somewhere every day of the week and almost at all hours of the day.What is the hardest sport to play in college? ›
|Degree of Difficulty: Sport Rankings|
Still, the ACC is the worst of the five Power Five conferences heading into CFP Rankings season, and it's not particularly close.What is the most powerful college football conference? ›
- Big 12. 8 of 10.
- Pac-12. 7 of 10. ...
- Atlantic Coast Conference. 6 of 10. ...
- American Athletic Conference. 5 of 10. ...
- Sun Belt. 4 of 10. ...
- Mountain West. 3 of 10. Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. ...
- Conference USA. 2 of 10. Kelechi NwachukuRonald Cortes/Getty Images. ...
- Mid-American Conference. 1 of 10. Scott W. ...
1. Vanderbilt - As the conference's only private university, Vanderbilt has the lowest acceptance rate in the SEC and the highest average SAT score (2230) and average ACT score (33).What is the smartest SEC school? ›
#1: Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt is the undisputed academic king of the SEC. While it's been an elite university for decades, Vandy has benefited in recent years from Nashville's booming popularity.
Current enrollment numbers for every SEC school.
After 77 years of fielding a team, the university suspended its football program in 1995 in an effort to save money for its athletic department. The financial implications included funding scholarships as a private institution.Can you get Pac-12 Network by itself? ›
Does Pac-12 Networks have an online subscription service available to fans? Pac-12 Networks does not currently provide an a-la-carte, internet-only subscription option. However, we do provide online access to all of our broadcast TV content, including live events, through our TV providers via TV Everywhere service.Does Amazon Prime have Pac-12 Network? ›
But Are The Fans Ready To Stream? The Pac-12 might just surprise college sports with their media partners as ESPN & Amazon Prime will cover the conference games.Does Hulu live carry the Pac-12 Network? ›
Does Hulu have Pac-12 Network? No. Hulu with Live TV carries networks that do broadcast some Pac-12 games. These networks include ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, FS1, FS2, and local FOX stations.Who owns the Pac-12? ›
The Pac-12 Network (P12N), sometimes referred to as Pac-12 Networks, is an American sports-oriented digital cable and satellite television network owned by the Pac-12 Conference. The network's studio and production facilities are headquartered in the South of Market district of San Francisco, California.How many people have the Pac-12 Network? ›
The Pac-12 Network (the national network) now has just 14.8 million subscribers, according to Dec. '20 estimates provided to the Hotline by S&P Global Market Intelligence.What streaming service is best for Pac-12 Network? ›
There are many ways to watch Pac-12 Network without cable, including Sling or Fubo TV. But our team's pick for most people to watch Pac-12 Network, is Sling. Here's why: Sling is available at the lowest monthly price point: $40.
In prior conversations, DirecTV reps have told FierceCable that the channel is demanding too high of a carriage fee, given that most of the Pac-12's coveted football and basketball games are carried by national outlets like Fox Sports 1.How much does the Pac-12 channel cost? ›
There are 2 preferred options to get the Pac-12 Network with fuboTV. You can subscribe to the fuboTV Pro Plan for $74.99 per month (after 7-day free trial) and then add the $7.99 “fuboTV Extra” add on package to get Pac-12. Another option is to just subscribe to the fuboTV “Elite” channel plan for $84.99 per month.How can I watch USC football? ›
Additionally, all USC Football broadcasts can be streamed from anywhere in the world on USCTrojans.com/Listen, the USC Trojans Game Day App, KABC.com and on SiriusXM satellite radio (channel 211).Can you watch Pac-12 on Amazon Prime? ›
But Are The Fans Ready To Stream? The Pac-12 might just surprise college sports with their media partners as ESPN & Amazon Prime will cover the conference games.Who has Pac-12 Network Streaming? ›
Currently, fuboTV and Sling are the only major streaming services that carry Pac-12 Network, which will get you the most Pac-12 college sports events. Both services offer a free trial or promotional discounts for new signups.What app streams Pac-12 Network? ›
Download the Pac-12 Now app
Pac-12 Now is your home for Pac-12 sports, wherever you are! Enjoy unlimited access to Pac-12 coverage, including live events, school-produced live streams, in-depth features, studio shows, and other programming across all sports in the Conference of Champions.
Does Hulu have Pac-12 Network? No. Hulu with Live TV carries networks that do broadcast some Pac-12 games. These networks include ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, FS1, FS2, and local FOX stations.What is the Pac-12 current TV deal? ›
The Pac-12's current 12-year deals with Fox and ESPN run until 2024 and carry an average annual value of $250 million. But USC and UCLA are bolting for the rival Big Ten in 2024.How do I cast Pac-12 to my TV? ›
Once the mobile app is connected to the streaming device or TV, you'll see the connected cast icon at the top right of the screen. Select any video and tap the play button, the video will be cast to the TV. Sit back, and enjoy Pac-12 content on your large screen!Does Apple TV have Pac-12 Network? ›
You can follow and root for your favorite Pac-12 sports, schools, and student-athletes on your iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.
For those who want a budget streaming service and don't care too much for sports, Sling TV would make a great choice. But if you want something more comprehensive, fuboTV makes more sense. Before you decide, we recommend trying out both services first to see which one you like more.Does ESPN Plus include Pac-12 Network? ›
Bottom line: Big 10, SEC, and PAC-12 football games very rarely appear on ESPN+. These games, even the smaller ones, are contractually committed to big networks and the conference specific channels they own, like the Big Ten and SEC Networks, so ESPN+ doesn't have the rights to air them.Can I watch Pac-12 football on Roku? ›
Pac-12 is your home for FREE sports from the Conference of Champions! Watch classic encores from your favorite sports and exclusive, behind-the-scenes stories that showcase the heart and soul of Pac-12 student-athletes, coaches and legends. Free Roku Originals, live TV, and all your favorite TV and movies.How much is the Pac-12 Network on Xfinity? ›
The national Pac-12 network will be part of Comcast's Sports and Entertainment tier of channels, which includes others such as the Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, and FCS Atlantic, Central, and Pacific. On Comcast, the Sports and Entertainment Tier is an additional $7.95 a month.Can I watch Pac-12 on spectrum? ›
Live events from all 12 universities including 35 football games, 100+ men's basketball games, Pac-12 Championship events, more than 300 live Olympic® sport events and original content.
(CH 721) pluto.tv/live-tv/pac-12…