ACC, Pac-12 discuss ‘loose partnership’ to include ‘championship game’ in Las Vegas

The ACC and Pac-12 have discussed a so-called “loose partnership” that could end the season with the conferences playing a “championship game” in Las Vegas, sources confirm to CBS Sports.

The concept, believed to be proposed by the ACC, is seen as a way for ESPN, the conference’s common owner, to increase the value of their existing media rights deals.

The proposal is unlikely to have much impact given ESPN’s fixed cost with the ACC, which runs through 2036. The Pac-12 is trying to survive after losing USC and UCLA to the Big Ten in 2024. The rights to Pac-12 teams without California powers are now worth about $30 million a year, down from roughly $42 million for a program with the Trojans and Bruins in the fold.

John Canzano first reported The Pac-12 proposed Tuesday afternoon discussing a “loose partnership” with another conference, noting that it could play some regular-season crossover games in addition to the “championship game.”

Sources indicate that the proposal is seen as a “strength in numbers” move. While the 24 combined ACC and Pac-12 teams don’t have the clout of the combined 32 programs in the SEC and Big Ten, it does. Something To combat the growing funding gap between emerging super conferences and everyone else.

With the Big 12 and Pac-12 in flux, ACC schools are increasingly aware of the $50 million-a-year media rights gap compared to the SEC and Big Ten.

If the SEC chooses to expand again, it’s widely speculated that some combination of Clemson, Florida State, and Miami would fit.

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Big 12 is Up to six Pac-12 schools are considering adding to bolster itself, CBS Sports reported Tuesday. Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah are the primary teams targeted along with Oregon and Washington.

Meanwhile, the Pac-12 is trying to stay viable. On Tuesday, the league announced it would go to market early to negotiate rights for its remaining 10 teams. The Pac-12’s current deal with ESPN and Fox expires in 2024, though Fox is not interested in Pac-12 rights going forward.

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