Mitchell: Are FOX, ESPN Out For Revenge Against Pac-12?

Aug 4, 2023, 10:49 AM

ESPN Layoffs sports streaming...

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 05: A view of the logo during ESPN The Party on February 5, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN)

(Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN)

SALT LAKE CITY – Saying the Pac-12 is in trouble is the biggest understatement in sports right now. The league lost its huge Los Angeles market in the Summer of 2022 with USC and UCLA leaving and many more are following suit.

Colorado left for the Big 12 and very likely is Arizona to follow the Buffaloes. Washington, Oregon, Utah, and Arizona State all have some sort of option to leave the Pac-12.

Then there is the reported media rights deal that is primarily with AppleTV+  and pays a paltry $20 million a year plus some incentives.

The Conference of Champions is in a lot of trouble and might go back to the Pac-12 Networks when former commissioner Larry Scott went all-in with his league owning all of the content and network.

This is the opposite of what other conference networks have done with FOX partnering with the Big Ten Network and ESPN creating the ACC and SEC Networks.

Scott’s future failed as the Pac-12 Networks were hardly distributed which led to a shortfall in revenue.

Unrivalaed’s Scott Mitchell has a theory about the possible demise of the Pac-12. Are executives of FOX and ESPN wanting to get back at the conference for not partnering with them for their league network?

“I guarantee you someone behind the scenes in television at ESPN and Fox said, ‘Hey, listen, if you put them on, you’re dead. You’re dead to me. You’re dead to me,'” Mitchell said. “And they go, ‘Don’t mess with us. ESPN and FOX said, Don’t mess with us. Don’t try to create a new network. Don’t try to compete against us, or we will bury you.’

“What I believe really killed the Pac-12 was USC and UCLA leaving,” he added. “So all you do is you’re at FOX, you’re at ESPN, and you go, ‘Big Ten, I know you’re not thinking about this, but I’ll tell you what would be really interesting to us is if we could have USC and UCLA’. So you go out and get them, and we’re going to make it a part of your deal. And we’re going to make your deal insane, north of $70 million per year,” Mitchell explained.

Keep in mind, this is tongue-in-cheek. But like all good humor, it’s based in small truths.

Those same higher-ups at television networks only care about money and the Pac-12 couldn’t get it done. This is why we are looking at the potential demise of the Pac-12 with over half the league either gone or close to being gone.

Tune into Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 3-6 p.m. on 1280 AM and 97.5 FM, or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

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Mitchell: Are FOX, ESPN Out For Revenge Against Pac-12?