As the 2024 expiration of its current media rights contract approaches, the Pac-12 Conference has yet to reach a new agreement. Reports hint that the conference, having already lost two of its members, USC and UCLA, to the Big Ten, could be compelled to rely largely on streaming to secure a lucrative enough deal to appease its remaining 10 schools. Baylor’s Athletic Director, Mack Rhoades, has suggested that the Big 12 should take a proactive stance in attempting to attract some of these schools if the Pac-12 reject this option.
I am definitely not hoping for any particular conference’s downfall, but being alert to what will be beneficial for Baylor is also something I need to do. A strong Big 12 that is stable for more than six years is what is best, and we are ready for any situation that may arise if the Pac-12 does not reach a satisfactory agreement. Keeping an eye on the Big 12 and finding ways to make it stronger must be done.
Rhoades, Baylor’s Athletics Director since 2016, proposed that the Big 12 could make a big difference in bridging the divide between the SEC and Big Ten, the most highly valued college sports conferences. Recently, the league, helmed by first-year Commissioner Brett Yormark, finalized a new media rights agreement with FOX and ESPN that will be in effect from 2025-2031, approximated to be worth $2.3 billion.
Regarding the media rights in the SEC and the Big Ten, there’s no reason why the dialogue should not be on the SEC, Big Ten and the Big 12. Stewart Mandel has reported that the Pac-12 could be facing an agreement with less monetary value than what commissioner George Kliavkoff expected, likely because of a lack of buyers and the Big 12 settling their TV contract before them. Both Apple TV and Amazon have been suggested as possible partners in the new Pac-12 media agreement. Even though the Big 12 have already got hold of their new TV contract, Rhoades declared that he would not be pleased if the athletic director was presented with a media deal including a primary partner of a streaming service.
Rhoades expressed his dissatisfaction to 365 Sports, highlighting the importance of a strong brand in recruiting as well as the significance of television coverage in college athletics. He acknowledged the cord-cutting trend, but noted that TV still played an essential role in people following sports. He expressed his worry that the Pac-12’s loss of USC and UCLA, who have both been part of the conference since the 1920s, could be a major blow in terms of brand building and television exposure.