Since its inception in 2011, the Pac-12’s football championship game has been played at the home stadium of the team with the best overall conference record.
Going forward, that model could very well be sent to the scrap heap.
Conference commissioner Larry Scott confirmed to SI.com Tuesday that discussions have been held that could result in the title game being moved to Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, in Santa Clara, Calif. If an agreement can be reached, the 2014 championship game, scheduled for Dec. 5, would be played at the stadium in the Bay Area.
Such a move would put the Pac-12 in line with other power conferences such as SEC (Atlanta), Big Ten (Indianapolis) and ACC (Charlotte), which hold their football title game in the same city year after year.
Concern over attendance at the first three title games — Oregon, Stanford and Arizona State — has prompted the talks to move the game to a permanent site. SI.com writes that “[c]onference leaders see multiple positives in moving the game to the Bay Area, including the fact that Pac-12 schools all have strong alumni bases nearby. They also see the modern new stadium, replete with technological bells and whistles such as luxury suites and wireless Internet, as an added bonus.”
There’s also attendance concerns for a neutral site location, although not enough of one to keep the move from happening.
Levi’s Stadium, which opens in August of this year, will host two college football games in its inaugural season: Oregon-Cal on Oct. 24 and the late-December Fight Hunger Bowl. In addition to the Santa Clara facility, Las Vegas — the conference holds its basketball tournament there — as well as Phoenix and Seattle were considerations.