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Paul Finebaum: ‘It’s Over for Pac-12 If Conference Inks Apple Deal’

The Pac-12 is urgently looking to ink a new media rights deal to ensure it will have a broadcast home when its current contract with ESPN and FOX Sports expires prior to the 2024 regular season. Recent discussions are centering around a potential partnership with Apple TV+ as speculation and reports hint that a resolution could be reached soon. Yet the conference is quickly losing members, with three schools departing for other Power Five conferences next year. 

The University of Arizona is also mulling leaving the Pac-12 for the Big 12 conference. It could further compel Arizona State University to consider a move, although it is reportedly not doing so at this time. The University of Utah is also being considered as Arizona weighs a substantial choice, compelling it to hold a Board of Regents meeting on Tuesday to discuss its future. Big 12 schools are set to receive $31.7 million each annually under its new six-year media rights contract with ESPN and FOX Sports worth a reported $2.3 billion, which begins in 2025.

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“That streaming deal was a bit underwhelming financially, especially to start, but, and it will be gauged by the Big 12’s $31.7 million deal kind of as the fiscal barometer, there’s a potential with subscriptions for the Pac-12 to eventually eclipse that throughout the deal,” reporter Pete Thamel said. “That’s obviously a huge ‘but’ in a giant variance of how many people would sign up to watch Pac-12 football.”

While appearing on ESPN’s morning program, Get Up, college football analyst and radio host Paul Finebaum expressed his sentiments on the situation. He simply said, “It’s over,” regarding if the Pac-12 chooses to agree to a heavy streaming component within its next contract.

“Nobody is signing up on Apple to watch the Pac-12 because there’s nothing to watch once you lose Colorado, UCLA and USC,” Finebaum said. “I don’t want to be the guy that keeps burying this league because I think I did it the other day, but I’m going to keep doing it. Somebody needs to shovel dirt on this league and end this charade.”

The Pac-12 does not desire to add any more member schools until the completion of its media rights contract, a prime source of revenue for the conference. Commissioner George Kliavkoff and conference leadership are under the microscope as member schools, media pundits and college football fans await a protracted decision.

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