Kliavkoff: Pac-12’s patience on media rights deal will be rewarded ‘in near future’
Jul 21, 2023, 9:42 AM | Updated: 11:43 am
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff believes the conference is still on the right track when it comes to landing a media rights deal.
Breaking his silence on the matter during the Pac-12’s media day for football, the commissioner dove into the approach the conference has taken on the matter since announcing a search for a new deal more than a year ago.
“I know there has been never-ending speculation about the timing of our media deals, but in the end, we’re on track to announce our deals at about the same time as everyone would have anticipated and predicted before the news of conference realignment,” Kliavkoff told reporters Friday.
“The Pac-12 board of directors has met regularly and has been united in their commitment to one another and to the Pac-12. The commitment and patience will be rewarded with an announcement in the near future.”
It’s been a slow and steady approach for Kliavkoff, who feels the patience of conference leaders will eventually pay off in the long run.
That’s not to say, however, that there hasn’t been snags along the way for the Pac-12 and its commissioner.
“What we’ve seen is the longer we wait for a media deal, the better our options get. The board realizes that,” Kliavkoff said. “There’s a underlying shift in the media market that’s happening and we’re long term taking advantage of that. But short term, it may have provided some hiccups.
“Getting the right deal has always been more important to our board and to our conference than getting the expeditious one,” he added.
A new media rights deal is by far Step 1 for Kliavkoff and the Pac-12 in 2023.
It’s also far from the only thing to accomplish in the near future for the conference.
With USC and UCLA heading to the Big Ten in 2024, the conference will drop to 10 teams, leaving the door open for potential expansion.
Until that media rights deal is signed, sealed and delivered, though, that topic remains on the back burner.
“While we already have done the due diligence on expansion candidates many months ago and significantly narrowed out focus to a handful of schools, our sequence remains unchanged,” Kliavkoff said.
“First, we will conclude our media rights deals, then our schools will sign a grant of rights which has already been negotiated. Only then will we decide on potential expansion.”
But with expansion talks also come chatter of further realignment, especially when a media rights deal has yet to be signed.
The Pac-12 has already seen that firsthand with the departures of the Southern California schools.
Could even more poaching be on the way?
“It’s not a concern, our schools are committed to each other and to the Pac-12,” Kliavkoff said. “I think the realignment going on in college athletics will come to an end for this cycle and the truth is, we’ve got bigger fish to fry.
“There are incredible opportunities and also challenges in front of college athletics. I need to be able to work with all of my colleagues in Division 1 and particularly in the (Group of Five conferences). We’ll do that and move past kind of all the bitter squabbling over the last year and we’ll work together to make college athletics better.”