Pac 12 Media Deal: Which Pac 12 Teams Are Left After Mass Exodus?

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Lamont Thompson of Washington State blocks Ken Simonton of Oregon State during a game at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Washington

In the NCAA world, a handful of conferences dominate the landscape in terms of popularity and success. For a long time, one of those conferences was the Pac-12. Despite the conference’s lengthy and successful history, it’s crumbled due to media deals or lack thereof. 

Here’s a look at the history of the Pac-12, its sudden collapse, and which schools are still in the conference in the aftermath. 

Pac 12 history

Best Colleges wrote about the demise of the Pac 12. It’s the end of the road for a conference that has had a historic run. The Pac 12 began in 1915 as the Pacific Coast Conference. It had four founding colleges. There was Cal, the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, and what would eventually become Oregon State.

Over the years, it developed its elite reputation as schools in the Pac 12 produced some of the best pro athletes the world has seen. USC was the home of many Heisman Trophy winners. UCLA dominated college basketball as it’s won the most national championships out of any school. Additionally, Stanford, USC, and UCLA are the top three in terms of schools with the most collegiate titles. 

Those accolades and the rich history and rivalries that have been built by those schools quickly came apart, though. Last year, UCLA and USC announced they were leaving the Pac 12 for the Big Ten. In Fall 2023, almost every Pac 12 school announced their departure from the conference. Some are joining the Big Ten. Others are going to the Big 12, and two are going to the ACC. 

Pac 12 media deal

The main reason for the collapse of the historic conference mostly came down to money from media deals. College sports is a lucrative business. Last year, the Big Ten signed a 7-year contract, worth about $7 billion, with several broadcasters. That deal could send each school $100 million a year from media rights alone.

The Pac 12 currently has a $3 billion deal with Fox and ESPN. But it’s set to expire. The conference had been trying to ink a new deal, but nothing of substance has come up yet. Plus, the current deal didn’t net the schools that much money. Pac 12 schools made less money than other elite schools

One deal the Pac 12 tried to ink was with Apple. The streaming deal had incentives that increased payouts if the conference could get enough subscribers. CBS Sports reported that it had a base pay of $23 million per year per school. Each school could’ve gotten $50 million if Apple TV got five million new subs.

This was a competitive offer, but the schools wanted a traditional media model. So most of them left.

Pac-12 teams: Where does the conference stand now?

After USC and UCLA announced their departure, Colorado announced its exit for the Big 12. After being presented with the Apple TV deal, Oregon and Washington announced they were joining the Big Ten as well.

Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah also announced they were joining Colorado in the Big 12. Less than a month later, Cal and Stanford announced they were departing for the ACC.

The Pac 12 is not entirely dead. Oregon State and Washington State remain. There are also five affiliate schools, although they are not full members. It’s not clear what media options the historic conference faces, but right now, the Pac 12 is not in the best position.