Officials from the Big 12 and Pac-10 examined possible TV alliances as well as scheduling partnerships in football during preliminary talks 5/5 and 5/6 in Phoenix. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe and Pac-10 counterpart Larry Scott attended, along with conferences athletic directors. The talks came against the backdrop of possible Big Ten expansion.
“Larry and I have talked for several months in regards to collaborating to enhance media value and working in any ways that might aid the two leagues and be a helpful alliance,” Beebe said, confirming the talks, reported The Dallas Morning News.
Currently the SEC has $3 billion in TV deals with ESPN and CBS; The Big Ten has its own network and gives its schools about $22 million annually from TV deals.
Possibilities include working together on TV contracts or perhaps even a shared network. The two conferences feature 22 schools west of the Mississippi with strong bases in Texas and California markets.
Non-conference scheduling in football for “meaningful September games,” Beebe said, could enhance future TV negotiations. The conferences already hold a men’s basketball series.
Beebe said the conferences intend to keep separate identities.
“There’s no desire to merge the two,” he said. “We feel like 12 is the maximum number that operates well in football.”