Big 12 in talks with Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah as Pac-12 future media rights remain uncertain

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The Big 12 recently renewed contact with four Pac-12 schools — Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah — as television contract negotiations for the Pac-12 continue, sources confirm to Dennis Dodd from CBS Sports. March will be a critical time for the Pac-12 to either deliver a new contract or risk losing their league’s top members.

After previously talking about starting a realignment but going radio silent for a long time, sources say all four schools have been in contact with the Big 12 recently, sources said to Dodd. Interest in the “Four Corners” schools leaving for the Big 12 has picked up in recent weeks as Pac-12 media rights negotiations are stalledmoving into the ninth month.

Interest in Pac-12 media rights is relatively low, and the league is the only Power Five conference without a long-term television deal. Most of the major networks have pulled out, leaving ESPN as the only major serial provider still in the running. Amazon and Apple TV+ have long been considered as streaming partners, but the level of interest and willingness to pay for a large package of games is unclear.

The Big Ten (CBS, Fox, NBC) and SEC (ABC/ESPN) agreed to massive contracts securing their rights through the 2030s. The ACC is locked into an exclusive contract with ESPN through 2036. While the Pac-12 entered the market first, the Big 12 got its rights owners (ESPN, Fox) to negotiate a new deal early , allowing the Big 12 to skip the Pac-12. 12 and reach an agreement that will strengthen their media rights through 2031.

Suddenly, potential rival networks and streaming partners for the Pac-12 have already shed significant capital sports rights and may not have the desire for a smaller league without USC and UCLA.

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark has he made no secret that he is interested in expanding west, and moving into the Pacific Time Zone has created a conflict between him and his Pac-12 partner George Kliavkoff. The rivalry came to a head at Pac-12 Media Day in Los Angeles when Kliavkoff faced off against Yormark and the Big 12.

“I’ve been spending four weeks trying to fend off grenades that have been thrown in from all over the Big 12 trying to put the rest of our conference down,” Kliavkoff said. at the time. “I understand why they’re doing it. When you look at the relative media value between the two conferences, I get it. I get why they’re scared, why they are trying to unbalance us.”

All of this comes less than a year after USC and UCLA announced plans to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, putting the Pac-12 in a precarious position. Both schools are expected to make at least $30 million more annually by joining the Big Ten.

For the “Four Corners” schools to consider leaving the Pac-12, it would likely lead to either extreme uncertainty over Pac-12 media rights or a large revenue gap between the agreement reached by the league and the current one for the Big. 12.

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