First the concrete stuff:
Now the anonymously sourced update (only the first four items are pertinent):
OU/UT to Pac commentary
Reactions and TLDR; after the jump
On a side note, I'm not sure how many people caught it, but our volleyball coach said it in his interview here on ATQ that all the volleyball games will be televised next year. If the network is going to be devoting that kind of coverage to volleyball, you can bet they'll be televising as many baseball games, softball games, track meets, and whatever other random athletic events they can get on film (maybe even water polo, Gorby). Think of how much this'll help recruiting. You can tell kids in non-revenue sports that they'll be easier to watch on tv than their professional counterparts. Crazy.
The big items in both of these stories is the Pac-12 networks and their future. If the estimates from the first article are anywhere near correct, the networks are going to be bringing in some real skrilla for the conference. It's worth noting that Larry Scott has so far delivered actual revenue above estimated expectations on all other occasions I can think of. Keep in mind this is without the possible addition of the Oklahoma and Texas schools that would basically make us the left of the Mississippi conference while opening up another time zone and bring in millions of more households on basic cable.
It's eye-opening to see how the distribution numbers for the (unlaunched!) Pac-12 network stack up to established channels, without any more deals having even been struck. It's amazing to me that the Pac-12 networks will in all likelihood have greater carriage numbers than the NFL Network, before they're even launched (and look at all the problems the Longhorn Network has had in securing agreements).
The most interesting thing out of the second article was the statement that ESPN "would welcome" the horns moving and a re-branding of the network. I've never seen this said anywhere else, it makes sense when you think about it, and that would remove one of the largest roadblocks to a Pac-16 happening. The Dodds and Scott tidbit was a cool peek behind the curtain as well.
Putting everything so far together:
1. OU and OSU are mentally in the Pac-12 already. Bob Stoops waxed poetic about being able to play in Cali earlier this week and Boone Pickens said he sees the future of OSU as being in the Pac on Saturday. If those two are on board and saying these things, it's a good signal as to the way their schools are leaning, which is also backed up by past anecdotes. In a lot of ways, OU is now the one calling the shots in the Big-12ish.
2. Texas Tech just wants to end up in an AQ conference and would jump as fast as humanly possible to the Pac. This inference is made from reading their message boards and the school telling UT to pound sand instead of allowing them to televise their football matchup, so no actual "sources" (see #6 as well). They also seem like fairly nice and interesting people. Makes me wish even more they hadn't stupidly fired Mike Leach. Anyways, they're in.
At this point if even Missouri or Texas Tech were to leave the Big-12ish, which either of whom would do so in a heartbeat, there's no way the remaining schools could even pretend to be able to or want to keep the conference together, especially OU. OU leaving would be the giant steel beam breaking the paraplegic camels' back.
3. This means the Big-12ish is dead if and when the Pac wants it to be. So, Texas is left with the options of Pac-12, B1g-10ish or independence, in roughly that order at this point. Texas doesn't want to be independent because of the scheduling difficulties for both football and their non-revenue sports (it would absolutely kill them in non-revenue sports) and other reasons listed in the second article. A good portion of their rivals would be in the Pac and they have historically flirted with joining the Pac a few times before, so if it comes down to it, you would have to think they would lean to joining the Pac (see #6 as well).
4. With ESPN amenable to the move, there's really no reason it shouldn't be able to be worked out. This is like the NFL labor negotiations, there's just too much money that'd be left at the table for the parties to not be able to work it out. I see UT as being forced to share their network with TT and distributing the proceeds to everyone equally. UT saves face by getting to keep their ESPN branded network and actually having it available for people to see. ESPN gets more content, a better price and lots of guaranteed distribution. Larry Scott gets the schools he has always wanted and a lot more households for his media empire.
6. Profit. $$$$$$$$. A Pac-16 would stand to make significantly more from the Pac networks because of more content through extra football and basketball games, along with more quality olympic sports. They's also get access to a huge chunk of extra households because of greater nationwide cachet, another time zone in the footprint, and increased basic cable tier distribution. Finally the network would have far greater national clout and leverage and the dish companies and other carriers would have no choice but to come in the fold then, as if they did already, and at a higher price to boot.
Scott has also mentioned that there are stipulations built into the tv contract with Fox and ESPN re: increased payouts if the conference were to expand. We know Scott has said all along he thought the conference would end up expanding again. Knowing this, it's a reasonable bet that with the negotiating prowess of Scott the conference would actually see a bump in revenue per team in this situation, not just an overall increase to keep the status quo, especially since Scott knew if he expanded it would be almost certainly with Texas and Oklahoma, two very valuable schools. You're not gonna get them for status quo.
At this point, the Pac-12 is estimated to likely be raking in $30 million+ per school in a few years. I would be very surprised if a Pac-16 was making less than $40 million+ per in that time frame. So yeah, $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.
If at this point you're still wondering about motivation for any of the schools involved, read #6 again.