Canzano: Setting the stage for Pac-12 Media Day
Getting you caught up...
I saw Pac-12 Conference Commissioner George Kliavkoff an hour before he was scheduled to take the stage at Friday’s Media Day. He was walking alongside Andrew Walker, the conference’s vice president of communications.
Huge day for Kliavkoff and his team.
The conference needs the commissioner to cast a strong figure and change the narrative. That’s his No. 1 duty today. I don’t know how much he’s going to talk about the loss of USC and UCLA to start the day, but if that’s what we’re all talking about at sundown, it amounts to a loss.
Three things Kliavkoff must do:
• UNIFY: Unify the conference. Or at least present that front. The Pac-12 made the decision to hold its athletic director meetings via video conference. One of them, Scott Barnes at Oregon State, was out sick. But I think it may have also been a strategy move, designed to keep the ADs from being interviewed about their respective universities and competing agendas. Kliavkoff needs to pull the remaining 10 members of his conference together.
• INFORM: The public is desperate to get an update on the Pac-12’s quest to land a media rights deal. ESPN and Fox are in an exclusive, 30-day negotiating window. They get to bid first. Kliavkoff is likely to take the rights to market when the period ends on Aug. 4, but we need an update that creates some structure for this process. In the wake of all the unrest and uncertainty, ambiguity isn’t his friend.
• LEAD: Kevin Warren of the Big Ten did a lot of grandstanding as part of his media day events this week. Kliavkoff needs to punch back in measured ways. This is his first true test as commissioner. Kliavkoff needs to exude confidence, strength and vision.
I asked one Pac-12 AD whether unequal revenue sharing might be on the table. Would they split media distributions unevenly among the 10 remaining members? Or maybe give a program that qualifies for the College Football Playoff a larger share of that massive distribution?
The AD said: “We’re not there yet, but I imagine we would not leave anything on table in terms of talking about all revenue distribution models, which btw was going to happen at 12 (teams) too if I had to guess.”
I’m going to update frequently today — (read my second post here). For those of you who are subscribed and receive my columns directly in your email in-box in real time, please forgive me in advance. You will receive more than one post from me today. It will be unusual, but I don’t want you to miss a thing.
The event occupies two floors at the Novo Theater. The print media and TV media that cover the conference have been situated on the third floor. That’s where the main stage sits and the Pac-12 has dressed it up nicely.
Radio row is on the fourth floor. It has a lounge-like vibe, complete with mood lighting, couches, and pillows. When I popped in, shortly before 7 a.m., they were piping jazz music through the speakers.
I’m the only media member who covers the Pac-12 who not only writes a column, but hosts a daily radio show. As a result, I’m set up on both the third and fourth floor and will be running between them for most of the day.
I’ll be present on the third floor at 8 a.m. when Kliavkoff takes the stage, but I’m not likely to ask a question. I have the commissioner 1-on-1 later in the day, and I’ll save them for that fourth-floor setting. Kliavkoff is among the 34 scheduled 1-on-1’s that I have. My statewide radio show 3-6 p.m. today will be a rich experience, but my plan is to also share some of what I learn in those 1-on-1’s with you here.
Chip Kelly? Dan Lanning? Jonathan Smith? Lincoln Riley? Kyle Whittingham?
“Make sure you hydrate,” a friend of mine texted.
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