Another day, another bit of Pac-12 media rights news. Let’s review: As Jeff noted on Wednesday, Apple TV+ is rumored to be in the hunt for the Pac-12’s media rights. That would definitely be ground breaking, and I have no idea if it will help or hurt the conference. That news came after the Pac-12 presidents had to release a statement basically saying, “Hey, everyone chill.”
Yesterday, Stadium’s Brett McMurphy reported that ION Television “has emerged as a potential Pac-12 partner.”
Apple still has not made formal offer for Pac-12’s media rights, but ION television has emerged as a potential Pac-12 partner, sources told @ActionNetworkHQ. ION TV is owned by E.W. Scripps Company, which has 61 local TV stations nationwide & launched Scripps Sports this year— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) February 24, 2023
The only thing I knew about ION Television before McMurphy’s tweet was that it played lots and lots of reruns of Blue Bloods, a fantastic show.
McMurphy’s tweet was clearly worded carefully, since “emerged as a potential Pac-12 partner” could mean anything from the Pac-12 is indeed interested, or ION expressed interest and the Pac-12 hasn’t responded. Still, it got fans wondering just what the hell is going on, and if the Pac-12 was going the way of the NHL when that league signed on with the Outdoor Life Network in 2005.
Alas, Stewart Mandel squashed everyone’s worries:
ION/Scripps Sports is not involved in the Pac-12's TV negotiations, a source with direct knowledge of the situation tells @TheAthletic.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) February 24, 2023
Did you notice that Mandel cited “a source with direct knowledge of the situation”? That’s key, here. McMurphy’s history has proven that he definitely has sources inside the game, but clearly not ones involved in the Pac-12’s media process. Mandel does.
But the ION Television news did give us this good joke, and I’m ashamed to have not thought about it myself:
ION said we’ve got more Blue Bloods than the PAC-12, we’re too good for them https://t.co/ldPAkuge7u— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) February 24, 2023
Rumors and joking aside, just what the heck is going on with the media deal? WSU President Kirk Schulz said the conference needs to get a deal done in mid-March, which is right around the corner. The longer the conference waits, the worse it looks.
These rumors—possibly planted by adversaries who like to create chaos for fun—might indicate a deal is imminent. Or they’re just another way to embarrass a conference that tends to do a good job of that on its own.
We have reporters believing the Pac-12 has waited too long and might have already missed the bus:
(listen to the podcast for more then what’s in this brief clip)
Whatever happens will happen, but the Pac-12 has allowed this to go on long enough that it’s getting a tad ridiculous out there, with conflicting reports, rumors flying around, and fans wondering if they’ll be able to watch games after this season. We should (hopefully!) find out soon.
Baseball drops one, romps in another
The Cougs suffered their first loss of the young season, but followed it up with a domination of (future conference foe?) San Diego State.
Final from opening game of the Tony Gwynn Legacy in San Diego. pic.twitter.com/onYytsrqyv— Washington State Baseball (@wsucougarbsb) February 24, 2023