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Pac-12 Begins Negotiations for Next TV Rights

Cal will be interested in what those talks produce -- if anything

The Pac-12 announced Tuesday that it is beginning negotiations for it next media rights agreement.

With USC and UCLA gone in 2024 and the other 10 schools investigating whether to remain on the Pac-12 or look for another conference, the conference does not seem to have much negotiating strength at the moment. This may be an effort to satisfy some members that want to know what the Pac-12's TV possibilities are.

The Pac-12's current TV deals with Fox and ESPN end in the summer of 2024, which is also when USC and UCLA are scheduled to join the Big Ten. In terms of TV negotiations, that is not much time.

As the current agreement holders, ESPN and Fox have a window of exclusive negotiating rights with the Pac-12 for a period of time. Presumably, conference commissioner George Kliavkoff has spoken to Fox and ESPN officials informally to gauge what they are looking for and where the Pac-12 stands. This announcement suggests a more formal negotiation will begin.

However, it's difficult to believe any substantive talks can be held until the dust settles and it becomes clear which schools are staying in the Pac-12, which will be leaving by 2024 and which will be added. 

Fox and ESPN will have a large say in what conference modifications take place.

There have been reports that representatives from Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah will be talking to Big 12 officials this week to determine whether those schools can join the Big 12.

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Meanwhile, the Pac-12 is looking for schools to add to the conference.

Cal is in a difficult situation because there does seem to be a logical landing spot for the Bears in another conference.  Cal will be following the progress in the TV negotiations closely, but those talks may determine the future existence of the Pac-12.

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News also points out Cal and Stanford will face a hard choice when athletes get direct payments.  That day is coming and it's not far in the future.

Cover photo of George Kliavkoff by Kelley L. Cox, USA TODAY Sports

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