If the Pac-12 wants to hit its desired annual rights payment in its next media rights deal (previously reported as more than the $31.7 million per school annually the Big 12 just got from ESPN and Fox), the conference may need to “commit to conference expansion,” per Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports.
San Diego State and SMU are reportedly the conference’s top targets, with commissioner George Kliavkoff already visiting San Diego State and visiting SMU on Wednesday.
Dodd also reports that “significantly more than half” of the conference’s football games would be behind a streaming paywall in their next media rights deal, with Amazon having heavily been linked to a share of the conference’s media rights in the past. Existing rightsholder ESPN is also expected to renew with the Pac-12, though there have been some bumps in those talks.
The additions of San Diego State and SMU would give the Pac-12 more inventory to sell to media partners. A ten-team conference would max out at 45 conference games and just 75 football games in total, and the rights to some of those nonconference games would likely be held by other networks. A 12-team conference, playing a nine-game conference schedule, would max out at 54 conference games and 90 football games in total (with the same caveat about nonconference games applying).
Would those extra nine conference games and (at most) six nonconference games be enough to push the Pac-12 to the next level?