It’s been a whirlwind 48 hours for the Pac-10. Yesterday they seemed certain that they’d be welcoming the Texas And Oklahoma Contingent into their fold. A day later, they find out they might have just been a pawn in Texas’ bid for a sweeter deal from the Big 12. Washington State blog Coug Center isn’t too surprised that things ended the way they did. Like most areas in college sports, the few folks who have all the power don’t like giving any of it up.
This really shouldn’t surprise anyone. After all, a football playoff has made sense for about three decades, and look at how slowly that’s moved. People in power do not like to give up that power, and the potential Pac-16 represented a seismic shift in power. It’s far too simplistic to blame this on one school or one television network, because it’s really, really obvious that it took more than that to make this thing fall apart. So don’t do that.
Coug Center also ponders how much ESPN and Fox were a part of those shadowy central figures that helped broker the deal to keep Texas in the Big 12.
All of this means the TV deals ESPN and Fox just laid out become instantly outdated. That $2.25 billion paid to the SEC? Chump change. Everything would have to be renegotiated, including the SEC deal that was deemed historic just a short time ago.
If ESPN killed the deal, it was to protect their contracts with the SEC and ACC. If the Big 12 collapses, the SEC would have to counter, taking parts of the ACC and Big 12 to become a 16 team league.
If Fox killed the deal, it was to prevent a bidding war for the Pac-16. Fox will almost never outbid ESPN. They just don’t have the financial backing that Disney brings to the table with ESPN. However, Fox can bid both the surviving Big 12 and Pac-10(12?) deals in an effort to control the Western market in more bite-sized portions.