What would success for the Pac-12 actually look like right now?
And what about in a few years?
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There’s no real way to sugarcoat this. The Pac-12 is in a tight spot right now.
The conference is still trying to figure out its next media rights contract. The league must balance a need to maximize revenue with the need for its content to still be accessible. Amazon is reportedly not interested in overpaying for their rights, and with CBS and Turner also reportedly out (I didn’t even know they were in), the number of potential options is dwindling.
Earlier this month, the remaining league presidents even put out a joint statement, indicating they were “united in our commitment to each other”, which certainly sounded like the proverbial Vote Of Confidence an AD might give a coach, six weeks before he fires him.
Trying to write about where the Pac-12 goes from here, at least for me, is a major challenge. I haven’t been able to get many people with direct knowledge of the situation to talk at all, let alone on the record. It is entirely possible that some of the anonymous sources quoted elsewhere are folks who stand to benefit from the Pac-12 falling apart, or business executives who are trying to negotiate via the press. Media contacts are also notoriously complicated contracts, agreements where the headline “number” might not be the most important part of the document. But it’s not like the Pac-12 is going to upload the entire media deal so we can all inspect the PDF or anything.
In a rare example of a Pac-12 senior leader actually going on the record about any of this, Washington State president Kirk Schulz, told Jon Wilner:
That’s enough to make me believe there’s some element of truth to reports of real concern about what this media deal is going to look like. This recent story from The Athletic really laid out the stakes:
Right now, I don’t know exactly how this story will end….but I am coming around to the idea that it might actually be moot.
Here’s what I mean:
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