While the Big 12 and Pac-12 looked for a merger decision that aimed to benefit them both, no verdict was reached and now conversations have ended, according to ESPN.
Officials from the Big 12 spoke with Pac-12 officials, sharing they weren’t interested in exploring the partnership any further.
When asked about why the deal didn’t work, a source told ESPN there were a “multitude of reasons,” including that the deal wouldn’t have driven a lot of revenue for the league.
Multiple calls occurred between the two leagues over the past two weeks. One of the options the Big 12 expressed interest in was a full merger with the Pac-12. Three options were presented by the Pac-12, which included “pooling rights, a scheduling concept or fully combining the leagues.” Of the talking points, only the full merger could have driven the value because of the “sheer numbers of schools and population areas.”
The full merger was given some thought by the Big 12 over this past weekend, though the conference ultimately decided against pursuing any of the options further. While both schools presented a merger as an option, the Pac-12 was “skeptical of the full merger because the leagues’ conference rights expire at different times.” Given the Pac-12 being in the midst of their own media rights contract negotiations, they had little motivation to join the Big 12.
As the Pac 12 looks to other options after the departure of their top brands in UCLA and USC, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff has been working hard to find alternate methods to generate revenue without the Los Angeles market, since UCLA and USC have opted to leave for the Big Ten.
One of those methods included conversations with the ACC for a potential scheduling arrangement, though that could also be financially underwhelming for the Pac-12.
With their media rights contract expiring in two years and with few opportunities presenting viable methods to generate revenue, the Pac-12 still appears to be the most vulnerable conference of the Power 5. Poachers could arrive for the Pac-12, as both Oregon and Washington are not bound by a grant of rights when the media rights deal ends in 2024. The Big 12 is also allegedly monitoring the potential to add Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and Colorado.
The Big 12’s own media rights deal expires within the next few years and their new commissioner Brett Yormark was quoted saying, “The league is open for business. We will leave no stone unturned to drive value for the conference.” He further stated the Big 12’s highest priority will be their upcoming media rights negotiations.