George Kliavkoff begins his tenure as Pac-12 commissioner this week and USC athletic director Mike Bohn is particularly excited for things to get going.
When Kliavkoff starts on June 1, he will begin working with all Pac-12 teams, but especially those with nationally recognized brands like USC.
“I’m excited to partner with George and help execute a vision for the future of the conference,” Bohn told the Mercury News last week. “I don’t think anyone is in position to make declarative statements about the future. But I know what the Pac-12 can be when USC is at its best. We can take advantage of this opportunity to reset. George brings a brilliant skill set to the table.”
Bohn is hoping for a 'reset' after Larry Scott's tenure with the Pac-12 conference.
According to CBS Sports, "Scott made the tactical mistake of signing a 12-year deal with ESPN and Fox that expires in 2024. That has allowed his peers to renew deals for bigger money within that lengthy time frame. The Pac-12 Network was the only enterprise of its size in college sports without a network partner. Its underperformance was glaring. Scott could never land a deal with cable giant DirecTV. Scores of Pac-12 fans couldn't see their teams even in their own cities. In 2015, the network was available in 90 million homes, but only 15 million subscribers signed up."
In about 18 months, the Pac-12 will begin negotiations on a new media rights deal, which could help reshape the financial realities for programs like USC. Bohn knows that the Trojans happen to be in one of the biggest media markets in the United States, and wants to use that to their full advantage.
“USC wants to be a great partner, and we want to be a leader in everything we do,’’ Bohn said. “And whether it’s being in the Southern California market or our relationship with Notre Dame, we realize USC brings TV inventory to the Pac-12 that’s incredibly valuable."
Jon Wilner of Mercury News writes, "USC constituents have long been irked that the Trojans are responsible for more than 1/12 of the conference’s media rights value but receive an equal share of the annual revenue — revenue that has fallen far short of expectations because of the Pac-12 Networks’ financial performance."
There is no doubt that Bohn and Kliavkoff will work together to try and maximize the potential earnings for both the Pac-12 and the Trojans football program. And Bohn believes with USC's established brand, and Kliavkoff's new visions, there are only great things ahead for the western conference.
“With George’s leadership and vision, we can explore innovative revenue opportunities that we haven’t had before, said Bohn. "It’s dicey out there, but I know there are big opportunities.”
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