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The American Athletic Conference might have a unique opportunity to poach P5 teams as the Pac-12 continues to downward spiral.
Commissioner Mike Aresco.
Now is the time.
Time to take a page from Brett Yormark’s playbook and become the aggressor. It’s time to assert yourself while the window of opportunity is open.
The Pac-12 is on the ropes. Dazed and confused. Moments away from receiving the final knockout punch.
Colorado announced last week it would be joining the Big 12 in 2024. Since then, rumors and reports have surfaced that up to 7 additional teams could defect from the Pac-12.
Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah are closely linked to the Big 12 as expansion targets while discussions are heating up between the Big Ten and Oregon and Washington. The Big Ten is also showing interest in California and Stanford.
So…Mike, if you’re listening, pick up the phone and call Oregon State and Washington State.
The teams in your conference are the ones the Pac-12 will look to poach in a final act of desperation. Maybe it’s time for you to do your best Cobra Kai impersonation. Strike first. Strike hard. No mercy!
Neither Oregon State nor Wazzu has a guaranteed conference media deal beyond 2023-24, and neither is on the Big 12 or Big Ten’s priority list.
As it stands today, the AAC could offer more exposure and possibly more revenue than the Pac-12. Pete Thamel and Heather Dinich reported, “Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff on Tuesday presented the conference’s presidents and chancellors with a potential, primarily subscription-based Apple streaming deal for its television contract.”
In other words, to watch Pac-12 football in 2024, one must have an add-on subscription via Apple TV+, and the conference’s revenue distribution would depend on the number of subscriptions sold. Hence the reason all teams mentioned above are seriously considering other suitors.
And if the Pac-12 loses more teams to other conferences, that already horrible deal suddenly gets even worse. In a previous article, I discussed the three reasons an institution changes conferences. The reasons are increased revenue, exposure, and access.
We know the Pac-12 would not be able to compete with the AAC’s exposure under the rumored deal with Apple TV. Yes, the AAC deal includes a nice chunk of streaming, but it is through ESPN+, which includes many other viewing options. The AAC also gets solid linear coverage for top-tier games on ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2, and ESPNU.
The key question is, what about revenue? When the dust settles, will the Pac-12 be able to guarantee the same revenue range as the AAC ($7.5-$11M) to the remaining schools?
Obviously, this is strongly dependent on who stays and who goes. But if Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, and Washington all move on to greener pastures, I don’t see how the Pac-12 secures a deal that guarantees that amount.
Therefore, I’m urging Commissioner Aresco to kick the tires on Oregon State and Washington State.
What have you got to lose?
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