The Pac-12 will not have a finalized media rights deal for Pac-12 media day on Friday, July 21. However, it appears that a deal is close enough for sources to talk to ESPN about it, which is really the main thing the Pac-12 absolutely had to have.
Heather Dinich of ESPN reported on Tuesday that a Pac-12 source told ESPN a media rights deal would be done in the “near future.”
Dinich wrote and reported the following:
“The deal will not be announced at Pac-12 football media day on Friday in Las Vegas, the source told ESPN. It is likely to include a mix of streaming and linear options and is expected to be on-par with the ACC and Big 12, the source said.
“‘Our 10 schools have been ridiculously patient,’ the source said, adding that the league’s patience to make a deal has led to more bidders coming to the table. ‘That patience is about to pay off.'”
Let’s be clear about what’s going on here: It’s true that the Pac-12 won’t have its media deal ready for media day on July 21, but the people close to the negotiations are extremely confident not only that the endgame is near, but that the result will be very good for the Pac-12 … and are willing to tell ESPN about it.
That last detail is in many ways the most important one.
It’s one thing when Pac-12 sources talk to Pac-12 reporters such as Jon Wilner and John Canzano. It’s another when Pac-12 sources are expressing confidence to ESPN. After all, ESPN is a prospective TV partner for the Pac-12.
People might doubt the Pac-12’s confidence level or accuracy when inside sources talk to Pac-12-based reporters, but when conference sources are talking to ESPN, that would tell everyone — even the people most skeptical of the Pac-12 — that ESPN is going to be part of a Pac-12 media deal, and that ESPN and the Pac-12 feel mutually confident about the result of the deal.
That would explain the strange and unusual combination of realities we have in front of us: First, that the media negotiations will drag on past Pac-12 media day (which was seemingly a bad thing for the Pac-12), and second, that Pac-12 sources feel great about the progress the conference has made on the deal. The process is taking longer than most expected, and longer than many people hoped, but if the Pac-12 is confident and if ESPN is reporting what Pac-12 sources are saying, it seems the two parties are perfectly content with the situation as it is.
We will have much more on these related stories as the week continues.
Mountain West media days are Wednesday and Thursday. Pac-12 media day is Friday. Stay with Trojans Wire for more on all of this.