Can a new media rights deal save the Pac-12? | College Football Enquirer

Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss the Pac-12’s announcement that it will immediately start negotiating its new media rights deal, and debate where the best landing spot would be for the survival of the league.

Video Transcript

DAN WETZEL: Pac-12 Conference, just moments before we started taping this show, put out this brief statement. The Pac-12 board of directors-- kind of probably Pac-10 at this point-- met this morning and authorized the conference to immediately begin negotiations for its next media rights agreements. That's it.

So the Pac-12 is trying to be aggressive and clearly, trying to hold this thing together. Now, since the emergency pod, not much has happened, other than the Big Ten essentially telling everyone, we ain't doing anything right now. Now, two days from now, maybe, but right now. And so Oregon, Washington, Stanford, Cal, we got your friend request. We saw you on Tinder. We are not swiping left, but we're not swiping right.

PAT FORDE: We're not swiping.

DAN WETZEL: We may go back to you. So, taken at that, this is obviously a move by the other remaining schools that know the Big Ten is just not going to-- the Big Ten is not adding the Arizonas, unless they take them all, but there wouldn't be value. So you have, you know, Washington State sitting there saying, lock them up.

So for Oregon and Washington, particularly, who are dying to get out and are seemingly the most valuable entities that have-- or the most attractive ones remaining at the late night at the bar, all the other choices have left--

PAT FORDE: Yeah.

DAN WETZEL: They're trying to link them up and saying, you're stuck with us, and let's sign a five-year, 10-year deal, something like that, and let's begin negotiations immediately.

PAT FORDE: Yeah. That seems like a signal. We are trying to hold the fort together. We are going to do our best to keep Oregon and Washington in the fold by getting a deal on the table. And given the fact that right now, Oregon and Washington don't have their desired landing spot, which would be the Big Ten, theoretically, they may be more willing to listen than get into some sort of joint venture with the Big 12 or go to the Big 12 or try some, you know, extreme bicoastal deal with the ACC.

So I think this is-- it's the only move the Pac-12 has at this moment right now. It's like, OK, we're just going to try-- the best way to lock up the people that we have is to-- let's find out our marketability. Let's see what ESPN, which will almost assuredly, it seems, be the prime bidder for the Pac-12, what are they willing to put on the table for us, and how can we make this attractive?

DAN WETZEL: Yeah, and then you can't go. And so we'll see. Now, ESPN is the most likely-- the Pac-12 is most appealing to ESPN over the others. So right now, we're looking at ESPN, obviously. We're looking at Fox. Those are the two big dogs broadcasting. NBC, which has Notre Dame, but would like to build out around Notre Dame and also have a game every single week. They only get Notre Dame home games.

PAT FORDE: Right.

DAN WETZEL: So they really struggle to get anyone other than Notre Dame fans to watch. You then have CBS, which lost the SEC and needs as much stuff for its CBS Sports Network-- you know, the basketball, the side programming. You have Turner-- TBS, TNT. They're trying to kind get involved. They're interested. And then you have Apple, Amazon, and, you know, who the hell knows, Hulu. ESPN has the greatest need or interest in Pac-12 football because it needs a television window late at night.

PAT FORDE: Yes.

DAN WETZEL: Pac-12 After Dark, that's not going to happen on NBC.

PAT FORDE: No.

DAN WETZEL: They're not just going to show, like, you know, Arizona State playing Utah at 10 o'clock and run into "Saturday Night Live" and preempt your local news. That's not happening. So--

PAT FORDE: Right.

DAN WETZEL: ESPN's there. So yeah, this is probably the only move for the Pac-12. Now, there was a estimation over the weekend that-- in "Sports Business Journal" that the Pac-12 deal that might have been worth $500 million is now worth $300 per year. That's not good. It's less mouths to feed.

PAT FORDE: Yeah.

DAN WETZEL: I'm sure they will look and say, does it help to bring San Diego State in? Does Boise State add anything? Do we need 12 teams just for the strength of size? Does UNLV do anything? You know, I mean, everything's on the table at this point. It's all hands on deck with an idea. So if you're looking to apply, send your-- you know, Gonzaga, can we get you for basketball only? Who knows. But that's pretty much their only play is to try to link Oregon and Washington up and have them sit there and say, all right, I got to settle. I got to go with you because no one else wants me at this moment.