After Larry Scott and the Pac-12 announced their plans to go separate ways in January, the conference immediately began to look for his replacement.
Fast forward four months, and the Pac-12 has found its new leader. The conference appointed sports entertainment executive George Kliavkoff as their new commissioner Thursday afternoon.
Now that the Pac-12 has filled its vacant role, let’s dive into three reasons why Kliavkoff is a good fit for the position when he begins on July 1st.
No. 1 - Kliavkoff Cares About the Pac-12
The first and main reason why Kliavkoff is a good fit as the Conference of Champion's new commissioner is because he actually cares about improving the Pac-12 and wants its student athletes to succeed.
"My job at the Pac-12 will be to help manage the balance between continued academic excellence, student-athlete well-being and an even higher level of athletic achievement,” Kliavkoff said in the Pac-12's press release.
To add, he already has ties and familiarity working with the Pac-12. While he was with MGM Grand, Kliavkoff oversaw the company’s sponsorship spend with professional and college sports leagues and teams, including the Pac-12 conference.
The sponsorship brings Las Vegas the annual Pac-12 Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments and the Pac-12 Football Championship Game. Thus he has prior knowledge about the conference he will be taking over.
No. 2 - Las Vegas Lifestyle
The next reason why Kliavkoff will succeed with the Pac-12 is because he can help save the conference money, while also aiding them in generating more revenue.
The 54-year-old has worked for a company whose main focus is gambling. Hopefully that means that the Pac-12 will embrace and promote sports betting, especially with sports betting industry becoming legalized in many states around the country. This could also mean that the conference can get sponsorships from major gambling companies that engage heavily in college athletics.
To add, the hiring of Kliavkoff may mean that the Pac-12 headquarters could finally move away from San Francisco, with Las Vegas as a very logical choice for the new location. Moving the HQ to Vegas could save the conference thousands of dollars per month, as they are currently located in one of the most expensive areas in the U.S.
No. 3 - Great Resume
The third reason why Kliavkoff is a great fit is due to his impressive resume. He brings expertise and leadership in live sports and entertainment, fan experience, content creation and distribution, and navigating complicated environments.
He comes to the Pac-12 Conference from MGM Resorts International, where he was president of entertainment and sports. Prior to that, Kliavkoff co-led the largest and most profitable division at Hearst Entertainment & Syndication.
Kliavkoff was the first chief digital officer at NBCUniversal, where he set corporate digital media strategy and developed new business models and markets, and was also the interim CEO of Hulu.
The decorated new commissioner was also the executive vice president of business for Major League Baseball Advanced Media and managed corporate development, business development, and baseball’s digital media subscription and licensing businesses.
"George is a visionary leader with an extraordinary background as a pioneering sports, entertainment and digital media executive," said University of Oregon President Michael H. Schill. "We are delighted and honored that he has agreed to become our next Pac-12 Commissioner.”
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