Partnership talks between the Big 12 and Pac-12, which have been widely discussed over the past two weeks, have officially ended, sources told Sportzshala.
On Monday, officials from the Big 12 told Pac-12 representatives they were no longer interested in exploring the partnership, sources said.
A source at the Big 12 said the deal didn’t work out for the conference for “multiple reasons,” including that any potential deal wouldn’t generate much revenue for the league. “It just didn’t work,” the source said.
There have been at least three Zoom calls between top league officials from the Big 12 and Pac-12, as well as other calls between other league factions, including legal factions, to discuss various options. The extent of the talks has not been previously reported.
A Pac-12 source briefed on the talks said the Big 12 expressed interest on Friday in possibly exploring the possibility of a full merger. A source from The Big 12 reported on the three options Pac-12 put forward – amalgamation of rights, a scheduling concept, or a complete amalgamation of leagues – the only scenario that could potentially add value due to the sheer number of schools and communities. there was a complete merger of the leagues.
A Pac-12 source indicated that Big 12 is interested in this option. A source at the Big 12 said the Big 12 needed more time to explore this option further, which they did over the weekend and decided not to explore any more options.
A Pac-12 source said Pac-12 is skeptical of a full merger because the leagues’ media rights expire at different times. A Big 12 source countered that Pac-12 pointed out how this could be bypassed.
“Because Big 12 media rights cannot be negotiated until 2024, there is no incentive for Pac-12 schools to join the Big 12,” a Pac-12 source said. “Pac-12 have announced that they are staying together and are in talks for media rights.”
Pac-12 is exploring all options after the sudden departures of UCLA and USC left the league without its top two brands and without a foothold in the Los Angeles media market. With just two full years left on their disappointing TV deal, Commissioner George Klyavkoff is diligently exploring creative ways to generate income.
That included talking to the ACC about some kind of scheduling deal, but sources told Sportzshala that the financial reality of this potential partnership is also underwhelming.
The expiring Pac-12 contract and multiple income options continue to perpetuate the notion that the Pac-12 is the most vulnerable of the Power 5 leagues. the reality may arise that the Pac-12 needs to fight potential poachers.
Both Oregon and Washington have competed in the college football playoffs and are not bound by the grant of rights after the end of the league’s television deal. In addition, the Big 12 has indirectly tracked the potential to add Pac-12 schools in Arizona, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado, all former members of the Big 12.
New Big 12 commissioner Brett Jormark said the league is “open for business” and the conference stressed that it plans to be aggressive about potential additions.
“We will leave no stone unturned to add value to the conference,” Jormark said at the press day. He added: “There is no higher priority than securing the best position for the Big 12 for the upcoming media rights negotiations. Everything we do should give impetus to these negotiations.”
On July 5, Pac-12 announced that its board of directors had authorized the league to begin negotiations on the next media rights agreements immediately. This led the league to explore different and creative options to increase revenue through partnerships.