The Crumbling of the PAC-12?

Posted: July 1, 2022 in Uncategorized

USC and UCLA are Big-10 bound. Of the two schools, UCLA was a surprise. I would have bet on the duo of USC and Oregon. Alas, the Ducks remain in the P12 . . . for now.

The Trojans and Bruins bring the sizable Los Angeles television market (the B10 now owns the television markets of Chicago, D.C./Baltimore and L.A.). Both schools travel well, aka, alumni. I must address the mavens who criticize the travel factor afflicting the two CA schools: No. No, travel is not and will not be a factor in team performance. Two facts to always hold dear while addressing the addition of these two schools: Football and money. If the USC men’s soccer team needs to spend a week in the state of Michigan, who cares? Another positive for the B10 is the proximity of the two CA schools. A brief (okay, no auto/truck/bus ride in L.A. is brief), rather nearby destination is beneficial for any visiting B10 school while playing volleyball, soccer, baseball, softball and all the rest.

The money factor needs a separate paragraph. The most recent revenue numbers for the two conferences states $768 million for the B10 and $533 million for the P12. A difference of a whopping $235 million on behalf of the B10. That number divided by the 2022 B10 lineup equates to approximately $16.78 million per school as compared their P12 brethren who will never, ever see the aforementioned almost $17 million. A lot of extra coin will flow into the USC and UCLA athletic departments. The B10 media rights expire in 2023. Negotiations are underway. A combination of ESPN, FOX and CBS likely creates an offer near the $1 billion mark for the next contract. College football makes a ton of money.

The overall effect on the two conferences is substantial and heavily favors the B10. The invitation of the two CA schools is purely positive for the B10. Not so much for the P12. First, the P12 media contracts expire in 2024. Negotiations are surely underway. And those conversations have, um, paused and changed. ESPN and FOX are not about to offer the same cash with the loss of the southern California TV market. Would you pay the same amount of money for a double cheese burger as opposed to a baloney sandwich on white bread? Additionally, the P12 will feel the need to fill the void created by USC and UCLA. Ask the Big 12 if wishing away reality works well. Adapt or suffer more membership losses. Who the P12 adds is less than ideal from their view. I will not refer to the normal slew of Group of 5 candidates mostly from the Mountain West. I do entertain the thought of further P12 rupturing. My focus is on Oregon (they will not be pleased to witness two schools whose respective football programs pale in comparison to the Ducks make a great deal more money than the Ducks portion of the watered down P12 renewal offer) and Washington. Perhaps a partnership forms and phone calls are made to the Big 12. Another potential response is a handful of the more successful (football) P12 schools offer to form a new conference with all the B12 Texas schools and Oklahoma State. If a fusion of the P12 and B12 is created, the schools who stand a good chance to receive no offer of inclusion include Oregon State, Washington State, Kansas State, Kansas, Iowa State and West Virginia. In the case of the Mountaineers sometimes geography matters.

The departure of UT and Oklahoma from the B12 followed by yesterday’s good-bye/hello from USC and UCLA guarantees the Power 5 landscape will continue to experience monumental change as media rights expire and are then renegotiated. Fun times in the money house.

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