Pac-12 media deal: Commish presents Apple offer with no agreement reached by conference leaders

The top choice among the available options was the Apple offering, which offered multiple choices to members of the league, as reported by ESPN, the first news outlet to cover the Apple agreement. According to sources, if specific subscription targets are achieved, Pac-12 teams could greatly benefit from this arrangement, which includes enticing incentives within the streaming-focused primary package proposed by Apple.

In the 2024-25 season, a new agreement would start once the current media rights deal between ESPN, Fox, and the Pac-12 comes to an end.

Some believe that Apple’s offer to the Pac-12 stands at $20 million annually as a baseline for school funding. However, if Pac-12 programs accepted, they would earn $10 million less per year than their Big 12 counterparts. Nevertheless, the annual payouts could potentially increase through incentives to make them more competitive with the earnings of ACC and Big 12 teams as part of their respective deals.

Utah, Arizona State, and Arizona are now considering making moves similar to the Big 12. They are not appearing financially lucrative enough for other teams in the league. This decision comes after Colorado abruptly decided to leave its former home, the Pac-12, amidst uncertainty surrounding future media rights and the Big 12. The formal presentation came after five days.

Despite the passing of more than a year, the Pac-12 league had not presented a media firm with a deal to deal with the rights of schools until Tuesday. In June 2022, UCLA and USC announced their plans to join the Big Ten in July 2024, prompting Kliavkoff to authorize negotiations for a new television contract for the Pac-12.

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The Pac-12, as a whole, is placing its bets on transitioning to streaming. Despite not necessarily requiring the support of a major linear carrier, the Pac-12 ultimately became the first Power Five conference to do so in the era of realignment, starting from 1992.

It is unclear whether such an offer is feasible. Industry sources suggest that it might be more prudent for the Pac-12 to consider accepting the approximate $20 million per school amount, which comes from a linear partner in a shorter-term agreement that would provide the conference with greater coverage and adaptability.

In an emerging industry, Apple intends to utilize the Pac-12 to promote subscriptions to Apple TV+; the financial aspects of an Apple agreement would apparently place the Pac-12 in a pay-for-play framework.

If the Pac-12 was added to the Apple TV+ platform, the streamer said that as part of the deal to make sense of the “incentive,” schools in the Pac-12 would annually earn more passes in various league thresholds. Additionally, the source from the industry mentioned that the streamer would require a million new subscribers to offer this package, which costs $15.

The MLS Season Pass costs $14.99 per month or $99 per year. During promotional offers, around one-third of individuals receive unrestricted access to the streaming service. However, MLS’s recent agreement with Apple has attracted approximately 700,000 subscribers. MLB.Tv offers all out-of-market MLB games for an annual price of $94.99, with an estimated two million subscribers (according to industry insiders’ rough estimates). Let’s compare these numbers to other sports streaming platforms.

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Pac-12’s main concern is the mentioned fact, as Netflix stands at 8% and Amazon Prime Video stands at 3% in contrast to Apple TV+, which accounts for 1% of the total video minutes consumed on all platforms.

A more mature viewership tends to lean towards the NFL because Amazon managed to engage with the primary target group below the age of 50. Nevertheless, the ratings for “Thursday Night Football” on Amazon decreased as the 2022 NFL season advanced. This is not the case at the moment, but it is a challenge that will eventually shift in favor of streaming. The direct-to-consumer industry represents only 52% of total video minutes consumed, when combined.

Currently, the Pac-12 is the sole Power Five conference that is not committed to a contract until at least 2031.

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