Report: Pac-12 in ‘no rush’ to resolve conference uncertainty
Expect Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff to be thorough as he seeks out potential expansion candidates for the conference.
According to The Mercury News’ Jon Wilner, he has some patience to work with. Wilner reported on Wednesday that the Pac-12 could get through the upcoming season before it makes any firm decisions on the future of the league. Unless, of course, a program like Oregon or Washington makes a panic move and jumps ship.
Source: Unless #Pac12 schools make a panic move, "I wouldn't be surprised if they go the whole season" before future of conference is resolved. "There is no rush."
— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) July 13, 2022
In some ways, Kliavkoff is caught between Scylla and Charybdis. Be thorough, but don’t take so long the remaining 10 programs get antsy and do something rash.
The league’s leader has to take a measured approach to expansion in the wake of USC and UCLA defections. In losing the Los Angeles television market, the value of the league’s media rights takes a crucial hit.
The Pac-12 can try and add schools to the league to replace what it lost, but the cost analysis for any such addition has to prove value is being added. Cutting into the individual payouts for the remaining members does more harm than good. Evaluating all those options takes time.
But Kliavkoff doesn’t have the luxury of operating from a position of leverage, which means he doesn’t have a ton of negotiating power, which means he needs to be proactive.
Kliavkoff recently got the green light from the Pac-12 Board of Directors to begin formal negotiations for the league’s next media rights agreement. The current deal is set to expire in 2024 when USC and UCLA officially depart.
According to the latest reporting from longtime Pac-12 columnist John Canzano, ESPN and FOX have a 30-day exclusive negotiating window with the Pac-12 for that deal, with an Aug. 4 deadline. ESPN, per Canzano, has emerged as the more likely partner.
Kliavkoff needs to be able to put numbers in front of Oregon and Washington as the Big 12 looks to be aggressive under its new commissioner.
Who blinks first?