Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC announce historic alliance. This is what it means
The Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC officially unveiled their informal but highly anticipated alliance on Tuesday with ambitious goals but few details.
Created in the wake of the SEC’s addition of Texas and Oklahoma – and with rumors of further realignment and poaching within the Power Five – the three conference commissioners “felt responsible for stabilizing an environment volatile, ”said ACC boss Jim Phillips.
The alliance is not legally binding in any form or mode.
“There is no signed contract,” said Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff. “There is an agreement between three gentlemen and a commitment from 41 presidents and chancellors and 41 athletic directors to do what we say we are going to do.”
Tuesday’s development also did not provide details of the out-of-conference clashes; instead, the leagues are committed to creating attractive games in the future in men’s and women’s football and basketball.
According to the joint statement:
“The programming alliance will begin as soon as possible while honoring current contractual obligations. A working group of sports directors representing the three conferences will oversee the programming component of the alliance, including determining the criteria on which programming decisions will be made. The three leagues and their respective institutions understand that programming decisions will be an evolutionary process given current programming commitments. “
(The Pac-12 already has over 100 football games scheduled against other Power Five teams over the next decade.)
The alliance’s most immediate goal, according to sources, is to commit to delaying the expansion of the college football qualifiers until the 2026 season, when the next TV contract cycle begins.
“The Pac-12 is 100% in favor of the expansion,” Kliavkoff said. “(But) there are issues on the sidelines.”
These margins are potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
If the 12-team format is implemented before 2026, then ESPN, the current rights holder, would have the option to extend its deal through a non-competitive bidding process.
But if the expansion is delayed until the end of the current contract cycle (at the end of the 2025 season), the CFP could take the event to the open market and accept multiple offers.
The supply would not change (11 games over four rounds), but demand would increase, thus pushing up the price.
Additionally, a post-season event with multiple broadcast partners (Fox, CBS, etc.) could prompt each media entity to devote more resources to the regular season.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 will renegotiate their Tier 1 contracts over the next few years and would benefit tremendously from a landscape in which a large number of networks are motivated to invest in broadcast packages.
But with the problem of extending the playoffs comes a problem for the Pac-12.
Its long-term financial interests are best served by delaying the move and welcoming other networks into the bidding process.
But that strategy goes against the conference’s short-term competitive interests: the Pac-12 need the playoffs to expand tomorrow.
He spent four seasons without a CFP job and suffered a lot, especially in recruiting: Five-star West Coast prospects who care about trophies and glory are often drawn to powers in other leagues.
There is no ideal outcome for the Pac-12, and the alliance does not provide a solution.
But it is time for noble words to turn into meaningful politics.
“Don’t measure us by what we say,” Kliavkoff said. “Measure us by what we do. “