Drama rises over Pac-12’s ability to exceed Big 12 media rights dollar figure

Will they or won’t they?

Will the Pac-12 Conference and commissioner George Kliavkoff be able to exceed the Big 12’s media rights package in terms of the annual base payouts to member schools? We’re not counting College Football Playoff revenues or other added revenue sources, primarily because the size of playoff pie hasn’t been finalized. ESPN and Fox have to divide it, and we don’t yet know if the 12-team playoff is starting in 2024 or 2026. That can wait.

It’s simpler to stick with the base payments from the core media rights package. The Big 12’s $380 million per year figure gives member schools close to $31.7 million per year, when one accounts for Oklahoma and Texas leaving the conference for the SEC.

Some Pac-12 insiders think the conference can exceeed the Big 12’s annual payout to member schools, with the sense being that a deal with Amazon for live streaming could be the unique puzzle piece which gets the job done. Is this hubris, or informed insight? We’ll find out soon.

Jon Wilner of the Wilner Hotline has more:

The deal might have no impact whatsoever on the Pac-12’s negotiations and immediate future.

Full clarity should come in the next four-to-six weeks, but we have been struck by a pronounced disparity in outlooks.

Within the Pac-12, there is quiet but unmistakable confidence in Kliavkoff’s ability to deliver a media deal that will beat the Big 12’s valuation and satisfy the full membership.

In fact, the schools are expecting a notably higher valuation figure, according to sources: at least $35 million per campus per year and perhaps something in the $40 million range.

But ask neutral observers, and the outlook isn’t as bright. “They are overconfident,” said one industry source. “They have misplayed their hand,” said another.

We can’t wait to find out what will happen.


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