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Pac-12 closes in on TV deal amid uncertain future

Photo: Louis Grasse/Getty Images

The Pac-12 conference could finally be close to signing that elusive TV rights deal and conclude what's been a long and drawn-out process, Tim writes.

Why it matters: With three schools leaving after this season — including USC and UCLA — the Pac-12's future as a major conference relies on this media deal.

Driving the news: Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff is expected to present the long-awaited deal to the remaining league members Tuesday morning, Portland-based sports reporter John Canzano reported Monday.

  • Last week, Colorado said it would join the Big 12 after this season, leaving the Pac-12 with nine schools for the 2024-25 season.
  • The Big 12 has also been eyeing Arizona, Arizona State and Utah. The Arizona Board of Regents called for a special meeting that will be held Tuesday afternoon.

The big picture: The Pac-12's media negotiations have been the source of intense speculation after the conference opened talks with its current rights holders ESPN and Fox shortly after USC and UCLA said they'd bolt for the Big Ten.

  • The Pac-12 has been criticized for letting the Big 12 jump the line to secure its own new media deal with ESPN and Fox last year. The Big 12's contract expires a year after the Pac-12's.
  • The increasing cost of sports rights — ESPN is also taking over SEC rights starting next season — has left the Pac-12 to turn to smaller networks like Ion or The CW, as well as streaming services like Apple and Amazon.

Zoom out: It's all about the money.

  • USC and UCLA stand to make an additional $40 million a year by moving from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten, thanks to the Big Ten's new $7 billion rights deal.
  • Colorado will benefit from the Big 12's $2.3 billion media deal that begins in 2025, which will net each school more than $30 million.

What's next: The Pac-12 said last week that it was "focused on concluding" its media deal before it would "embrace expansion opportunities." San Diego State and SMU have been the two schools often thrown out as potential targets.

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