George Kliavkoff is the new Pac 12 commissioner. Kliavkoff is currently the president of entertainment and sports at MGM Resorts. He was announced Thursday after as the replacement for the outgoing Larry Scott Thursday afternoon by the conference’s executive committee. Scott’s contract was slated to end in about three weeks, after he was told in January that he would not be given a new contract when his expired in 2022. With that being the case, the conference executive committee chose to give him just six more months, or until the end of the academic year, while it searched for his replacement.
Kliavkoff has also been Executive Vice President-Business Development of MLB Advanced Media LP, Principal at RealNetworks, Inc., Director at JAUNT, Inc., Chief Digital Officer for NBC Universal Cable, Inc. and Board Member at Comcast Ventures LLC.
The current TV contracts for the Pac 12 end in 2024. Negotiations are expected to begin by mid 2023. It is the biggest task for anyone coming into the job. The conference once had the biggest TV package in college sports history. In 2011, Scott came to a $3 billion dollar agreement with the college sports TV networks. It was landmark. But it was also for a glacier-like 12 years. It only took two years before other NCAA conference surpassed the dollar figure and did so with shorter term deals. It allowed them to be more nimble and adapt to the ever evolving media landscape, while the Pac 12 was stuck with an outdated model.
Scott also strapped the conference with the Pac 12 Network. It was broken up into regions along the conference’s footprint, as well as having an overarching network channel. He committed millions in revenue to each school from the new TV outlet. Those dollars never came to be. He failed to sign critical distribution agreements with Directv, and then lost AT&T when the mega media company bought Directv. The network failed to have the critical mass that would draw advertising dollars and last Summer it started gutting operations.
The new TV deals has long been the top priority in choosing the new commissioner. George Kliavkoff is a dark horse selection whose name was never mentioned among the front runners by those tied to the selection process. He clearly has the management experience, but working in the college sports environment over the course of the long term is new for him.
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