The Pac-12 just wrapped up their conference basketball tournament in Las Vegas on Saturday and while the public focus was on hoops for many in the league, the topic of football was still a major bullet point for leaders of all 12 schools during various meetings throughout the week. Not only did the Pac-12 acknowledge they are undergoing a third-party review of their football officiating, but they confirmed what everybody is thinking regarding the potential of moving their annual football title game to the desert or Los Angeles from its current home at Levi’s Stadium in the Bay Area.
“We’re currently going through a process. We’re evaluating what we might do after that,” Commissioner Larry Scott said. “We’ve got a lot of very interesting options including the fact that two of the newest, most significant new football stadiums in the country are being built out here, one in Las Vegas for the Raiders; one in Los Angeles for the Rams. So there’s some very interesting options and possibilities for us as we evaluate. No decisions on that yet, but this meeting was an important opportunity to update our CEOs, ADs, on that and the other topics I mentioned to get some great feedback as we move forward.”
The Pac-12 recently opted out of their agreement with Levi’s Stadium for the 2020 game and speculation has been rampant that the conference would wind up in either Vegas or LA’s new stadiums as a result. Scott may be playing coy in terms of the direction they are leaning but the hints are certainly there that a new venue will be chosen after this upcoming season.
Also notable was the fact that a rumored sale of part of the conference’s upcoming media rights is actually something that looks likely to happen. This is being driven by the fact that the Pac-12 can get some upfront money from any potential partners as well as continue to operate their TV networks independently in a changing media landscape.
“I would say that we’re, after today, just beyond exploring. We’re actively moving forward reviewing serious offers for this opportunity. And we heard from Joe Ravitch, co-founder of the Raine Group, today about the work they’ve done in recent weeks to find us potential partners,” Colorado chancellor Philip DiStefano said. “He told us that there’s significant interest for multiple parties. And we see this as a good sign in the process. And in the next month or two, Joe will be asking for more detailed, formal offers from these various groups. And when and if we reach a deal, as Larry pointed out, this would benefit the conference in a couple of ways.”
We’ll see if that comes to fruition in the coming years but, for now, at least the league can celebrate some positive vibes that would result in moving the football title game out of Santa Clara to the much more accessible new stadiums in either LA or Vegas.