Big 12, Pac-12 nix talks about possible merger or partnership with Big 12 still considering all options

The Big 12 and Pac-12 have ended talks about a potential merger or partnership after several conversations between the conferences over the past two weeks. The Big 12 finally left the negotiating table on Monday night after considering their options, sources told CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd.

The Big 12 reportedly first approached the Pac-12 with the leagues discussing options including a full merger, pooling television rights or a programming partnership, according to ESPN. Ultimately, the Big 12 thought a merger might be the most beneficial, but decided they had better options because adding many Pac-12 programs wouldn’t help the league significantly increase its revenue from media rights.

Although direct talks between the Big 12 and the Pac-12 have ceased, it is still possible that the leagues could impact each other during the conference realignment. The Big 12 is still considering adding Pac-12 teams to its membership, a league source told Dodd Monday night.

The Big 12 had been involved in in-depth discussions with up to six Pac-12 schools set to join the conference: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah as well as Oregon and Washington. However, all parties appear to be in wait-and-see mode as Notre Dame (and NBC) make their decisions, those that could impact Big 12 media rights revenue.

The Pac-12 has been aggressive since USC and UCLA announced plans to leave the league in 2024. In addition to talks with the Big 12, the Pac-12 has spoken with the ACC about a possible programming partnership that could lead to the takeover of ESPN. parts of the Pac-12’s television contract to put more games in front of national audiences. However, several reports refute the idea that a partnership would be financially beneficial.

The Pac-12 Board of Directors has authorized Commissioner George Kliavkoff to enter negotiations for a new television contract as the league’s existing deal expires in 2024. The Pac-12 is in the midst of a window of 30-day exclusive negotiation with Fox and ESPN. . Until the TV figures are officially presented, the stakeholders involved are unlikely to make a binding decision.

“Because the Big 12 media rights cannot be negotiated until 2024, Pac-12 schools have no incentive to join the Big 12,” a Pac-12 source told ESPN. “The Pac-12 announced that they are staying together and are in the middle of media rights negotiations.”

The Big 12 will likely enter similar media rights negotiations a year from now, with its contract expiring in 2025. New Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark has stressed that maximizing television revenue will be his most important task at the over the next three years. Several Big 12 sources have said the league is only interested in expanding if it brings monetary value to the league.

“There is no higher priority than best positioning the Big 12 for their upcoming media rights negotiations,” Yormark said. “Everything we do must create momentum for these negotiations.”

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