Blog Entry

Pac-10 and Big 12 talk about future partnership

Posted on: May 7, 2010 11:14 am
Edited on: May 7, 2010 6:06 pm
 

The next expansion bomb may have dropped as the Kansas City Star is reporting that the Pac-10 and Big 12 have met to discuss, according to the paper, "collaborating in a future sports landscape".

Nine of the Big 12's athletic directors met this week in Phoenix with Pac-10 officials at that conference's regularly scheduled meeting. It might be too early to attach the word "expansion" to the meeting but it's obvious the Big 12 may be taking the first steps toward being proactive in the shifting landscape.

The league knows it could be raided by the Big Ten which, according to many reports, has its eyes on Missouri and/or Nebraska. The Pac-10 is on the record as deeply exploring expansion but might have trouble finding partners that add value.

Utah and Colorado are the most widely mentioned Pac-10 additions but there is doubt whether the schools could add enough revenue to make expansion worthwhile.


"The conventional wisdom is Utah and Colorado doesn't get you enough eyeballs," one Pac-10 AD said referring to a potential television audience. "The home run is obviously Texas-Texas AM. "

There is little talk about Texas and Texas A&M to the Pac-10, for now. There was a standing offer by the Pac-10 to Texas and Colorado in the 1990s before the Big 12 formed. CBSSports.com reported on April 23 that BYU is likely out of Pac-10 expansion discussions for the moment, in part, because of academic issues.


There seem to be, then, further economic reasons for the leagues to get together. With the SEC and Big Ten basically controlling 50 percent of the nation's televisions, the chase is on for conferences to grab a share of the remaining 50 percent. A partnership between the Big 12 (16 percent of the TV sets) and Pac-10 (approxinately 23 percent) could present approximately 40 percent of the nation's TVs to potential rightsholders. The two conferences have cable deals with Fox that both expire in 2012 allowing a deal to be made fairly quickly.

"The main thing was the aggregation of our media rights," said Washington AD Scott Woodward who was at the Phoenix meetings, "whether it's a combined network that we do as a JV (joint venture) or anything in between. There's definite interest to go further instead of it being a one-and-done type thing."

The Pac-10 and Big 12 already play the Hardwood Series in men's basketball, a series of non-conference games. A similar cross-scheduling partnership could be developed in football where league teams play non-conference games against each other. The partnership could go beyond non-conference games if you think of it this way: The Big 12 plays 48 conference games per year. The Pac-10 plays 45. Combined, the two leagues could present an inventory of 93 conference games alone to a potential rights holder.

The schools already have a history of playing each other in football. The last team to beat USC in a non-conference game at home remains Kansas State in 2001. In 2010 alone, there are five games between Pac-10 and Big 12 schools. UCLA plays two Big 12 opponents (Kansas State and Texas). The other games are Colorado-Cal, Nebraska-Washington and Oklahoma State-Washington State. 

"You could have a football series that would provide high level inventory in September," Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said. "It's [partnership with Pac-10] something I've discussed and thought about since I got two months into the job in 2007."

The Big 12 has explored, and the Pac-10 is exploring, the possibility of a conference network similar to the Big Ten Network. There has been talk that the two leagues could even combine on a network (possibly with the ACC as an additional partner).

Former Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg supported the idea of a conference network before he left the league in July 2007. However, he could not find agreement among the conference schools. Scott recently brought in Weiberg recently as a deputy commissioner, in part, because of his expertise while working with the Big Ten to launch that network.

Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott has been in the Pac-10 job for less than a year after leaving the Women's Tennis Association as CEO. As that organization's leader, he helped the WTA sign a record TV contract and a $88 million sponsorship deal with Sony.


"I took this role because I sense it has tremendous potential given our geographic scope and our reach," Scott said. "It's going to require a novel approach. We're not copying anyone's playbook."

How much a cross-scheduling/network partnership between the two leagues would be worth is anyone's guess. Big 12 schools currently make $7 million and $12 million per year. Pac-10 teams reportedly make between $7 million and $11 million.

As mentioned, the Pac-10's current deals with ESPN and Fox run through 2012. Scott has said in the past the league will begin new negotiations early next year. The Big 12 deals are staggered. A deal with Fox has two years to run. The ESPN deal has five years to run.

Scott told CBSSports.com in March that his league was exploring staging a conference championship football game with less than the mandated 12 teams. That would involve the Pac-10 splitting into two five-team divisions. There is support among other Division I-A conferences to change the current NCAA legislation. Scott also said he explored the idea of the championship game being played at a team's home stadium. He also said that expansion for the Pac-10 was not tied to a championship game and/or a network.

While three of the Big 12 ADs missed the Phoenix meeting due to scheduling conflicts, according to the paper, (DeLoss Dodds of Texas, Tom Osborne of Nebraska, Lew Perkins of Kansas), it is significant that Missouri's Mike Alden did attend. Missouri is being mentioned prominently as a candidate for Big Ten expansion.

 

Comments

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: May 14, 2010 11:15 am
 

Pac-10 and Big 12 talk about future partnership

I would love to see the PAC-10 get Utah and UNLV to make it the PAC-12.
(Hey...Big Ten...it's OK to change your name to match your numbers! The PAC-10 was once known as the PAC-8, no biggie.)
Both Utah and ULNV are in fairly-big markets (for the West) and they fit perfectly geographically and academically.

PAC-12 North:

Cal
Oregon
Oregon State
Utah
UW
WSU

PAC-12 South:

Arizona
Arizona St.
UCLA
UNLV
USC
Stanford



Since: Jul 31, 2008
Posted on: May 11, 2010 4:03 pm
 

Pac-10 and Big 12 talk about future partnership

Jackpot! Somebody finally got it. This deal has nothing to do with national championships or academics. It has everything to do with joining forces to reach that 40% TV market number. So this is about the size of the tv markets. So Iowa State and OU matter less than KU and Colorado because KC and Denver are bigger tv markets. And lets not even mention the Texas markets. If St. John's had a football team they could drag to the Pac 10 for the NYC market, they would. I think everyone knows it's about TV money.  But as for the 40% penetration?  This proposed set up is only about 25%.  Which is a very good number.....I don't think any conference expansion set up anywhere could reach 40%. 

I'd agree with you on Iowa State.  And for the most part, I think you're correct on Colorado.

But, as for KU....geographically, you're right, but I'm not so sure you are when it comes down to delivering actual viewers. 

KU (and KSU) won't deliver the entire KC TV market, they share a lot of it with Missouri fans, there's considerable dilution.  

On the other hand, Oklahoma (and Oklahoma State ) will deliver the full Oklahoma City and Tulsa markets, which is a larger number than KU and KSU can deliver from the KC market. 

 





Since: Nov 10, 2009
Posted on: May 11, 2010 2:52 pm
 

Pac-10 and Big 12 talk about future partnership

Unfortunately, under any kind of expansion there is no way to keep everyone happy or to keep all traditional games.  Same is true for the Pac 10 schools;  under the proposed set up, Cal and Stanford are in different divisions and that is a huge game for both.  And I'd think the Northeast Division would need a little bit of a boost, which Texas Tech would provide.  

But, imo overall it's a very solid set up and very workable.

True about there's no way to keep everyone happy, but TTU out would eliminate three in-state rivalry games, instead of just one between Cal and Stanford. You could also add a standing game between the Northwest and Southwest and Northeast and Southeast divisons, somewhat like what the SEC does. ie: OU and Texas play every year regardless of the fact they're in different divisions, and OU would play an additional team from the Southeast division and just rotate between the other four. This also keeps more games between the old conferences. I also like OU, OSU, K-State, ISU, and ku all in the same division because it keeps most of the original Big 8 together (CU was in it yeah, but CU made the old old Big 7 the Big 8). Plus OU and OSU more than make up for switching with TTU and CU.

But this is neither here nor there since this is all a giant daydream at this point. Fun to think about, though!



Since: Jul 31, 2008
Posted on: May 11, 2010 2:02 pm
 

Pac-10 and Big 12 talk about future partnership

I like that idea a lot, except switch CU and TTU in the Northeast with OU and OSU in the Southeast. No way would any of the Texas school be split (state politics), the way you did it cuts three big rivalry games for TTU and you know they wouldn't schedule BU, UT and TAM in non-conference games, that would be brutal. Putting OU and Okie State in the Northeast with K-State, ISU, and ku would still allow OU to have their RRR game with UT, I mean, they did it for like 90 years w/o being in the same conference, they can do it and be in a different divison. This keeps natural rivals together, while allowing for one BIG rivalry to contine with ease. This would generate tons of cash, and that's all these AD's and conference chairs really care about... see yah later mizz-who and unl!! Unfortunately, under any kind of expansion there is no way to keep everyone happy or to keep all traditional games.  Same is true for the Pac 10 schools;  under the proposed set up, Cal and Stanford are in different divisions and that is a huge game for both.  And I'd think the Northeast Division would need a little bit of a boost, which Texas Tech would provide.  

But, imo overall it's a very solid set up and very workable.



Since: Nov 10, 2009
Posted on: May 11, 2010 10:29 am
 

Pac-10 and Big 12 talk about future partnership

I like that idea a lot, except switch CU and TTU in the Northeast with OU and OSU in the Southeast. No way would any of the Texas school be split (state politics), the way you did it cuts three big rivalry games for TTU and you know they wouldn't schedule BU, UT and TAM in non-conference games, that would be brutal. Putting OU and Okie State in the Northeast with K-State, ISU, and ku would still allow OU to have their RRR game with UT, I mean, they did it for like 90 years w/o being in the same conference, they can do it and be in a different divison. This keeps natural rivals together, while allowing for one BIG rivalry to contine with ease. This would generate tons of cash, and that's all these AD's and conference chairs really care about... see yah later mizz-who and unl!!



Since: Jul 31, 2008
Posted on: May 11, 2010 10:25 am
 

Pac-10 and Big 12 talk about future partnership

Obviously, you don't know your history.  Look at the number of games that have been played between UT/OU and UT/A&M.  Aggies and Horns have played way more games.  Aggies have been a thorn in the Horns side for years, most recent being 2008.  When A&M becomes a contender again (and that's soon forthcoming), Thanksgiving night will have total relevance again.  Besides, Texas' two top schools are practically joined at the hip.  Where one goes, so will the other so I suggest you deal with it. Yes, UT and A&M are joined at the hip by the Legislature in Texas.  An unfortunate fact for the Longhorns as they forced to carry dead weight around with them.  C'sest la vie.   

Here's the facts.  OU's biggest rival is UT.  And vice versa.

A&M's biggest rival is also UT.  But, it's not vice versa.  Therein lies the difference.



Since: Jul 31, 2008
Posted on: May 11, 2010 10:10 am
 

Pac-10 and Big 12 talk about future partnership

The Super West Conference

4 divisions, 5 teams each:

Northwest: Washington, Washington St., Oregon, Oregon St., Stanford
Southwest: USC, UCLA, Cal, Arizona, Arizona St.
Northeast: Colorado, Kansas, Kansas St., Iowa St., Texas Tech
Southeast: Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Baylor

Each division has inter-divison games (4), cross-division games on 3-year rotation (4), and 4 games open for rivalries or other opponents.

Each division winner advances to 2-round conference playoff.

Pass the cash.
Damn good idea.  And very workable.  Might want to limit the cross division games to 3 per year to make sure the max # of conference games is 9, but that's a minor discussion point.






Since: Oct 26, 2008
Posted on: May 10, 2010 8:21 pm
 

Pac-10 and Big 12 talk about future partnership

Hello to CPryor06.  The number of games between Texas and A&M is greater because they have previous conference ties.

A&M has to go where Texas goes.  Texas doesn't care really, except they are not as mobile with have to bring the Aggies along.

You are right about other things though the thorn may be in Bevo's hoof.  A&M is neither a contender nor relevant.  I am not sure what "total relevance" means, but you make a good point that as of now, the game is merely Thanksgiving dessert with the Aggies playing the part of a guest who is trying to make their season count and get some national attention while playing a much sought after dinner date, TEXAS.

The Aggies lead in one department.  The are the champions of "the season forthcoming" which usually turns out to be the season that never was.




Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: May 10, 2010 8:18 pm
 

Picture this...

The Super West Conference

4 divisions, 5 teams each:

Northwest: Washington, Washington St., Oregon, Oregon St., Stanford
Southwest: USC, UCLA, Cal, Arizona, Arizona St.
Northeast: Colorado, Kansas, Kansas St., Iowa St., Texas Tech
Southeast: Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Baylor

Each division has inter-divison games (4), cross-division games on 3-year rotation (4), and 4 games open for rivalries or other opponents.

Each division winner advances to 2-round conference playoff.

Pass the cash.



Since: Oct 26, 2008
Posted on: May 10, 2010 8:09 pm
 

Pac-10 and Big 12 talk about future partnership

Funny about those cycles, the UT's and OU's have a lot shorter down cycles than the Baylors and A&M's do.  Baylor fans don't really believe they will see the day they win the Big 12 in football.  Heck, they were ecstatic to win a conference game or two in a single season. How long did that take?  What is their all-time Big 12 conference football record?


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