Even though I don’t have a rooting interest in a Pac 12 team, I am fascinated by what’s going on out there in that conference.
There is a great article from OregonLive.com that details the Pac 12 hiring of PR Firm to help with their brand. Here are a couple of highlights from that article.
The Pac-12 football programs, which finished 3-4 this bowl season, were left out of the College Football Playoff for the third time in five seasons. The men’s basketball programs went winless in the NCAA Tournament last March, and just posted the worst December by a Power 5 Conference in the last 20 seasons. The conference currently has no men’s teams ranked in the Top 25.
Also, the conference itself operates with significantly higher expenses. Some of that is due to the fact that the Pac-12 also fashions itself a media company, producing its own content and retaining ownership of the network.
Conference commissioner Larry Scott recently pitched his bosses a plan that would sell a 10-percent equity stake in the conference’s media rights to private investors for $500 million. The hiring of FleishmanHillard is designed to help position the conference for that possible offering.
It wasn’t that many years ago ACC struggled with their own negative public perception, and I think Pac 12 can learn some lessons from the ACC.
The Pac 12 has to think it terms of a multi-year fix. It took the ACC several years of quality football including national championships by Florida State (2013) and Clemson (2016). There was 5 year streak of winning Orange Bowls, and the 2016 9-3 Bowl record.
That said the next couple of years can setup the ACC for years to come. It has to start by winning on the football field in the big OOC games. It’s also imperative the ACC has a legitimate BCS Bowl Team or even a national championship participant.
The Pac 12 has to stop rationalizing itself. The Big 10 went east. The ACC went North. The SEC went West. Even the Big 12 took a chance East with West Virginia. The Pac 12 has only direction to go and that’s East. Regional conferences are a thing of the past.
The missed a big chance some years ago when Oklahoma and Texas were looking west. I don’t think there are many Eastern options anymore. What the Pac 12 can do is get the the Pac 12 Network distributed out East. There are plenty of people in the East like me that will football just because it’s football. I don’t get the Pac 12 Network, and there are games I would have watch. It’s almost more important right to get distribution than a carriage rate. This is the same in basketball. People need to get eyes on Pac 12 sports.
Drop the Pac 12 ownership of the Pac 12 Network. The Pac 12 needs to get on with a major distributor like FOX or ESPN period. The yet launched ACC Network is already picking up distributors because of their tie in with ESPN. It’s almost assured it will get better distribution than the Pac 12 Network. It was a good effort by the Pac 12 to go it alone, but it didn’t work. It’s time to punt on the current model.
In the end nothing will help the Pac 12, not expansion, not a network, not anything, will help the PR mess. The OregonLive article said it best…
The product always speaks loudest.