Conference Realignment Notebook: Dodds Discusses Pac-12’s Struggles

What we’ve all thought.

CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd writes that the Pac-12 is still projected to work out a deal with ESPN and amazon, but there is increasing discussion regarding the dissolution of the Pac-12:

Multiple sources tell CBS Sports the league is struggling to match its desired value for its 10-team league (south of $400 million annually, $40 million per school) following the departures of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten.

The most compelling reason: As it stands, the Pac-12 inventory of games is not something broadcast, linear cable or streaming must have at this point.

Not without USC and UCLA. Not with the league is in its eighth month since losing its two flagships. And not with 3.5 months having passed after the Pac-12 was leapfrogged by the Big 12.

Dodds notes that the Pac-12 may have waited too long to ink a deal and that the deal with Amazon may be fruitful monetarily, but linear platforms (i.e. not just streaming) outperform online options only and that as of right now, other conferences have filled up the best television slots.

How will Pac-12 games be seen by a broad audience if they are not on TV or the best windows, which are filling up fast. If significantly more than half of future Pac-12 games project to be on a streaming serve, as CBS Sports previously reported, that’s a bad sign. Again, linear is still the preferred delivery system for live sports.

On a streaming carrier, the Pac-12 would lose significant visibility That translates — for starters — to declined recruiting and a struggle to hire top coaches if their games will not be widely available.

Dodds also writes what we’ve all been thinking, which is that the four-corner schools, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah, would offer the most value for the Big 12 right now:

In essence, adding those four schools would create more Big 12 content in more time slots. Such an expansion might reflect what the Pac-12 is worth right now. If the Big 12 expands, its contract states new team(s) would get 63% of pro rata revenue from ESPN (approximately $20 million annually). If that’s what compels those schools to move, what does it say about the current worth of the Pac-12?


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