‘Nothing to Suggest’ Pac-12 Media Rights Deal is Near: Report
Things have been quiet since last week’s Pac-12 meeting took place last weekend, and really, those meetings didn’t give us much to go off of.
Naturally, with things so quiet, many would assume that progress is being made behind closed doors and that a deal is coming before the second week of April.
In this situation, that is not the case, and in fact, it’s quite the contrary.
According to a report from CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, the Pac-12’s media rights deal is “not close”
Arizona president Robert Robbins has been one of the most vocal executives during this process, and set a soft deadline of April 15 for the deal to get done, which made all sorts of waves.
Now, with just over two weeks until that date, Robbins is about to leave the country, with plans to embark on a trip to Kazakhstan on Tuesday. With plans to be gone until the second week of April, this sounds like an ill-advised journey, right? Not if you ask him.
“I have heard nothing to suggest [a deal is] imminent,” Robbins told CBS Sports this week. “There’s all these things about, well, ‘We want to wait until [after] the Final Four.’ That has nothing to do with it. It has to do with assessing who is the right fit, who assesses us.
“I hope [commissioner George Kliavkoff] gets something done sooner rather than later so that the whole thing stops, so we don’t have focus on it. [But] I am perfectly willing to sit here and wait.”
As Dodd points out in his report, several “deadlines” have come and gone in this negotiation process, and we aren’t any closer to a linear television deal for the Pac-12 than we were last summer.
“Lots of deadlines — soft or not — have come and gone,” Dodd writes. “Last May, Kliavkoff said he hoped to “piggyback” the Big Ten media rights deal to increase his conference’s valuation. A few weeks later. USC and UCLA announced their intention to leave. Less than two months after their departure,the Big Ten signed a record TV rights deal, leaving the Pac-12’s value gutted without its two Los Angeles flagships.
“In October, the Pac-12 went to the open market after an exclusive negotiating window with ESPN and Fox expired. Multiple sources continue to tell CBS Sports that Fox remains out of the bidding. ESPN is still believed to be interested along with at least one streaming provider.
In addition to saying that nothing is imminent, Robbins told CBS Sports that he believes that the majority of the Pac-12’s games will be on linear television, and not streaming, which is a “significant claim.”
“This whole streaming thing? That’s overplayed,” Robbins said. “I think this deal is going to have a heavy traditional analog cable [piece]. I think. There may some streaming in it, but I don’t think anybody would want to go majority streaming.”
While Robbins says that the Pac-12 is mostly united, saying around “95%,” he also noted that Arizona was just a “drive to Lubbock” two weeks ago in a separate conversation with CBS Sports. Robbins knows that the Wildcats have options if the Pac-12 goes belly-up at the negotiating table.
“It wasn’t because I was emboldened because we have options,” Robbins said. “There is no deal or no agreement where, if everything blows up, we’ve got someplace to go.”