Will ESPN Once Again Attempt to Jeopardize the Big 12?
Even though we are in the offseason, it has been a nonstop roller coaster ride of news over the last several days. Last week, news broke that USC and UCLA are heading to the Big Ten and that left the other ten schools in a bit of a panic.
There have been dozens of reports that have been all over the place and to be honest, nobody really knows what is going on. But as of now, all we have are these reports and that leaves a lot of room for speculation.
However, there was one report in particular that caught my eye on Wednesday. It was reported that the ACC and the Pac-12 are discussing an ESPN TV Partnership.
Now why would the Pac-12 do that? Well, what other options do they have at this point if they want to survive? Anyone who knows anything understands that the other ten Pac-12 teams aren’t going to fetch a premium price that someone will pay for. Without USC and UCLA, the Pac-12 isn’t going to be some sort of cash cow that has long term stability. And even if the rest of the ten teams band together, they will be light years behind the Big Ten and the SEC when it comes to money.
Did Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff not learn anything from the ACC/Big Ten/Pac-12 alliance last year? It felt like that was written on some toilet paper and Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren wiped his butt with it. When that thing was written, Kevin Warren was likely already plotting on how he can bring in USC and UCLA to make more money. In fact, I am a bit surprised that George Kliavkoff didn’t hear Kevin’s evil laugh as they were putting that flimsy alliance together.
With that alliance crumbled to pieces, the Pac-12’s only hope is to try and partner with someone. Insert the ACC who is stuck in an abysmal tv deal until 2036 with ESPN. Speaking of our good old friends at ESPN, remember what they tried to do with the Big 12 last year? They did everything they could to destroy our beloved conference behind closed doors. With ESPN potentially involved; things could get interesting.
The Pac-12 network has been a flop since it started and there is a possibility that future Pac-12 games could be aired on the ACC Network which of course is owned by none other than ESPN. If you needed another reason to hate ESPN, then you’re welcome.
While all this “loose partnership” talk is going on, it appears that the Big 12 is doing whatever it can to expand the conference. There have already been plenty of reports linking Arizona State, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado to the Big 12 and maybe even Washington and Oregon.
The way I see it there are only two options for the other Pac-12 schools. Yes, this even includes Washington and Oregon who are hopelessly waiting for that Big Ten invite. Option one is partner with the ACC. Option two would be blowing the conference up and letting schools go where they please. Of course, the Big 12 would prefer option two. Many thought a potential merger would happen between the Big 12 and the Pac-12 but if you are the Big 12 why would you do that? The Big 12 has the higher ground in this fight but if ESPN gets involved, all bets are off.
You know what has been concerning as well? The national media has been writing story after story talking about keeping the Pac-12 alive. Where was all that sunshine writing when the Big 12 was in a similar position a year ago? If I remember correctly, I believe Stewart Mandel bought a headstone for the Big 12 and was ready to bury the conference. We aren’t seeing those types of narratives this year.
Of course, I must come back to ESPN. Anyone who has read the site knows my feelings towards them. They already tried to blow up the Big 12 last year and now they could be standing in the way of the conference adding some of these Pac-12 schools. Back in February I wrote an article talking about their failed attempt to destroy the Big 12 and how I didn’t forget about it. Here we are five months later and once again ESPN is on the opposite side of where I stand. They have already tried to screw the Big 12 once and if they try do it again, then maybe the Big 12 should look somewhere else when their tv deal is up.