The Pac-12 expects to release details of its highly anticipated media rights deal in the “near future,” a league source with knowledge of the conversations told ESPN on Tuesday.
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.”
For the Pac-12 to stay intact after the departure of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten in 2024, the 10 remaining presidents and chancellors have to sign the grant of rights, which will depend on their satisfaction with the new deal. The 10 schools in the conference have prenegotiated the grant of rights deal and agreed on the terms, including how the revenue would be split, which signifies a commitment to the conference — at least tangentially. The length of the grant of rights will mirror the terms of the television contract.
Leaders throughout college athletics have been paying close attention to the Pac-12 and waiting for months to see how — if at all — the new deal could further impact conference realignment. The biggest flight risk, according to sources, has been Colorado, and it remains to be seen if the administration there has the patience to wait for the new deal before making a major decision that could have a tidal wave of effects.
The uncertainty in the Pac-12 has been magnified by the Big 12’s unabashed interest in the possibility of further conference expansion and its six-year, $2.2 billion television deal with ESPN and Fox that runs through 2031.
The Big 12 opened its negotiations early and completed its agreement before the Pac-12, even though the Pac-12’s current television deal ends a year earlier.
The Pac-12 has never wavered from its timeline, which has been to complete its media deal, get the grant of rights signed, and then consider further expansion. According to sources, the Pac-12 board months ago narrowed its scope to a handful of schools. However, because the expanded, 12-team College Football Playoff will reward the six-highest ranked conference champions in 2024, some schools in the league believe there will be a benefit to being in a conference of 10 as opposed to 16.