Apple TV+ has emerged as the frontrunner in the race to secure broadcast rights for Pac 12 college football when the conference’s current deal with ESPN and Fox expires next year, but it’s not as if the fledging network is facing stiff competition, according to the New York Post.
The next Pac 12 TV deal has been the subject of much speculation ever since the past commissioner—critics say—botched a potential deal and relegated the majority of conference matchups to the Pac 12 Network, which is not available to many fans. Then, when USC and UCLA announced last summer that they would be leaving the Pac 12 for the Big Ten, the conference lost the hugely valuable Los Angeles media market.
In this uncertain climate, the conference was then upstaged by the Big Twelve, SEC, and Big Ten, which all signed new TV deals with the major broadcast players, leaving only streaming options for the Pac 12. The question now for Angelenos is how to take it all in.
On one hand, the Pac 12 is the historic home of USC and UCLA, and it would be sad to see that history lose its relevance. What’s more, the TV deal is that much harder to sign with the Los Angeles schools bolting for greener pastures next year, so one could argue that there is a certain amount of culpability. However, the schools might never have left home to travel upwards of 2,766 miles for football and basketball games if they had felt supported under the stewardship of their conference.
According to Dr. Karen Weaver, Academic Director, Collegiate Athletics Certificate Program at the University of Pennsylvania, L.A. fans should feel relieved. “ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and ESPN, they filled up their inventory,” she says. “So the question becomes, where do you put the West Coast schools?” If fans want to be able to turn on the TV and find their favorite teams, they’d better not be rooting for a Pac 12 team, she adds, because Big Ten has TV pretty much sewn up.
During football season, she says, “every weekend, I think there will be at least one [former] PAC 12 team that will be in a marquee game.” The Big Ten “were absolutely forward thinking” when it created its own Big Ten Network from offerings for all of their athletic programs. “To this day, they have provided revenues that are consistently the highest revenues of any conference network in the country.” And they did this by increasing the number of games available for fans to watch at home.
Suffice it to say, L.A. fans should be happy that they don’t have to follow the Apple TV rumors in order to find out where to watch their favorite, new Big Teams teams.
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