The Big 10 and Pac-12 already share a special relationship in the form of tie-ins to the Rose Bowl, where the two conferences have faced each other 62 times.
And now Big 10 commissioner Jim Delany and Pac-12 commish Larry Scott are expanding the partnership for an annual inter-league game for each school in the two leagues. While the details are yet to be worked out, two things are certain: The partnership will start in 2017 and the TV rights will cost a fortune.
Imagine ABC/ESPN or FOX having the ability to broadcast Ohio State-Oregon, Michigan-USC or Wisconsin-Stanford during September. You can bet TV executives are already drooling over the possibilities. And considering that FOX is paying the Big 10 $24M per year for the broadcast rights to the conference’s football championship game, you can bet a 12-game slate between the two conferences will draw well over $100M per year.
Yes, there are also downsides. For example, the Rose Bowl could be a repeat of a regular season game. And reaching the BCS Championship Game will be extremely difficult with this partnership on top of the league’s new championship games.
But considering the excitement and dollars this deal will generate, it’s a complete no-brainer for both sides.