Teresa Gould in 2022. Oct 25, 2022; San Francisco, CA, USA; Deputy commissioner Teresa Gould speaks during Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day at the Pac-12 Network Studios. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While the 2024 college football schedule is largely set, it’s still unknown where home games involving two FBS teams will be broadcast. That would be the Oregon State Beavers and Washington State Cougars, who will be the only remaining members of the Pac-12 for the 2024-25 academic year. The “Pac-2” have a set lineup of opponents thanks to a scheduling alliance with the Mountain West, and they announced their schedules Thursday (along with the rest of the Mountain West), but their media rights are up for grabs.

This is mostly about football, as the schools have joined the West Coast Conference as affiliate members for most other sports (Oregon State will go independent for baseball). So just what kind of offers are there out there for Oregon State and Washington State football? Well, that’s uncertain. But, not surprisingly, new Pac-12 commissioner Teresa Gould (who officially took that role Friday; she had been the conference’s deputy commissioner since 2018) talked those up in a Zoom call with media Thursday. Here’s more on that from Ralph D. Russo of The Associated Press:

Gould said “probably the most important and urgent piece of my role is to partner with the leadership on both campuses to forge that future path for their two campuses and their athletic programs.”

Among her first priorities is landing a media rights deal for the schools.

“So I’ve been partnering with our two athletic directors, Scott Barnes (of Oregon State) and Pat Chun (of Washington State), and I will say, not surprisingly, there’s great interest in the football products at Oregon State and Washington State,” Gould said. “So we are working hard to try to consider the options that are on the table to televise all of the home games at Oregon State and Washington State.”

The 2024 home games for the Beavers are (in chronological order) Idaho State, Oregon, Purdue, Colorado State, UNLV, San Jose State, and Washington State, so that’s three Power 5 opponents if Washington State is still counted, two if they’re not. For the Cougars, the home games are Portland State, Texas Tech, San Jose State, Hawai’i, Utah State, and Wyoming. It is unclear who has the media rights to next year’s neutral-site Apple Cup clash; Washington hosted the game in 2023, but this one is the first of five under a new deal, with the following four set to be played on campuses. If WSU does control those rights, that’s a nice boost to their package, as that would be the second Power 5 opponent on their lineup after Texas Tech.

Of course, a conference representative like Gould is obviously going to be high on the rights she’s trying to sell. But it is somewhat believable that there’s “great interest” here. Oregon State was ranked in the AP Top 25 throughout the 2023 season (with a high of No. 10, which they hit in the Week 12 poll) and finished 8-5 (counting a Sun Bowl loss to Notre Dame), only missing out on the Top 25 in the final post-bowls ranking. Washington State was ranked for four weeks in September and October, rising as high as No. 13 in Week 6, and finished 5-7. There’s some uncertainty ahead for both programs given conference realignment and questions about the Pac-12’s future (which likely played a role in Beavers’ head coach Jonathan Smith leaving for Michigan State in November), but these are programs with not just strong overall history, but decent recent history. And their 2024 home schedules aren’t bad, featuring a lot of Mountain West schools, but also Oregon, Purdue, Texas Tech, and possibly Washington if the Apple Cup is included in WSU’s rights package.

There’s also value from scarcity. These rights are available at a time when very little else this fall is up for grabs. And while they would be just a drop in the bucket for the likes of ESPN and Fox considering the college football tonnage those networks already have, they could still be appealing there, especially in late-night windows. (All of these games are set for Saturdays, so there are no Friday night or midweek specials to consider here.)

But these rights might be even more attractive to networks or streamers with less tonnage, such as NBC and Peacock, or The CW. And they could appeal to those with no current college football. That includes linear networks like Scripps Sports’ ION, but also streamers like Apple and Amazon, with Apple even previously making the Pac-12 an offer before last summer’s final round of defections.

And another potential boost for networks or streamers without much college football is that Gould said the conference will operate the Pac-12 Networks’ studio operations for at least the 2024-25 academic year (although the linear networks themselves appear to be going away). While it’s unclear just how many people those operations will keep (the networks already had significant layoffs this year, and other people may jump given the uncertainty about their future), there’s certainly a lot of game production experience and capability there. So if that’s desired by whoever winds up with the rights, the conference seemingly has the ability to offer that.

We’ll have to wait and see just where these media rights wind up and how much revenue the schools get from that. As with many college media rights, there will be a balance to be struck between exposure and revenue. And we’ll see just how tangible this “great interest” does prove to be. Many comments to that effect from executives have not led to much.

But the remaining Pac-12 schools do seem to be offering a decent football package. And there should be at least a good bit of interest in it. We’ll see where it lands.

[The Associated Press]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.