The PAC-12 won’t admit it, but it has been floundering on the scoreboard for quite some time and the impact of the PAC 12’s self-inflicted wounds is hurting the western conference’s pocketbooks.
It’s no secret the PAC-12 has been falling behind in revenue numbers compared to the rest of the Power 5, but as its media rights are set to expire in 2024, the time is now for commissioner Larry Scott to decide the future of the PAC-12’s viewing availability.
The reliance on late Friday and Saturday night football games has met mixed results for audiences and complete backlash from coaches, including the frontrunner Washington Huskies head coach Chris Petersen.
On top of that, PAC-12 basketball has been abysmal this season with expectations of a return to prominence completely shattered. Currently, no PAC-12 team is ranked in the Top 25.
Once more, the PAC-12 is mishandling its prized possession: the PAC-12 Network. The network is now unavailable to AT&T customers, slashing their audience by a large margin. And while unintentional, this past football season the network locked a large portion of the country out of a marquee matchup when (14) Washington State played (24) Stanford in a crucial late-season game for the Cougars just as they were gaining national attention.
With the ACC Network set to debut later this year, the PAC-12 could find itself officially bringing up the rear in college athletics.
In an effort to point towards a digital future with new opportunities at his disposal, Scott told Bloomberg that he is in a position to explore since the conference owns all of its media rights.
But the problem is the product, and asking the Amazons and Twitters of the world to invest in a product takes more than a historical name and a false slogan, “The Conference of Champions.” His conference continuously beats itself out of national title contention and as a result has little demand. AT&T proved that by dropping the PAC-12 Network in December. It is a red flag for TV networks that Scott will have to maneuver around as he negotiates with his digital partners-to-be.