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ESPN on Pac-12 Media Rights: ‘No One is Quite Sure Where the Money and Exposure are Coming From’

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We’re nearly to the halfway point in June, which means the Pac-12’s media rights temporary deadline of late “spring/early summer” is likely getting pushed back yet again.

Over the last several months we’ve seen the conference dodge deadlines and reports as Commissioner George Kliavkoff works diligently to try and find a legitimate media rights deal to preserve the conference’s future.

With Colorado getting antsy and the rest of the conference feeling the pressure of uncertainty, the need for a deal to get done is as vital as ever. The problem is, there’s just not much confidence that a deal is coming, or where it would come from.


ESPN’s Pete Thamel recently discussed the issues facing the Pac-12 as we start to trickle into the summer months, saying that all of this could go away if they just get the media rights deal done. There in lies the problem though.

“This shroud of uncertainty can all go away for the Pac-12 if the television deal has a numeric value and comparable reach to a deal like the Big 12’s, which delivers about $31.7 million annually to each school,” Thamel says. “Sign a comparable deal and this stretch of Pac-12 awkwardness, vulnerability and uncertainty becomes a distant memory. But no one is still quite sure where the money and exposure are coming from.”

“Right now, everyone’s dance card is pretty full,” an industry source told ESPN over the weekend.


Thamel also says that those who know where the Pac-12’s money would come from, just can’t seem to point to a logical deal in the future.

“[Robert] Robbins, the University of Arizona president, said last week he’s optimistic the league stays together,” Thamel says. “But call around to the traditional television partners and those in the industry who know where money flows, and there’s still an aura of mystery to how the Pac-12 gets it done.”

Despite the weeks turning into months, it appears that we just aren’t any closer to seeing Kliavkoff get the elusive deal that will keep the Pac-12 together. Who knows, maybe he’ll pull a rabbit out of his hat. But I’m not counting on it.

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