The Pac-12 is moving to the next stage in its hunt for an equity partner.
The Pac-12 announced Monday that it has hired The Raine Group, an investment bank with experience in sports media, to advise the conference on its media rights strategy.
Basically, Raine is charged with playing the role of matchmaker, helping the Pac-12 identify a long-term strategic partner. That partner, in turn, would provide immediate cash to the schools and help the conference position itself for upcoming media rights deals.
The Pac-12’s current contracts with ESPN, Fox and the Pac-12 Networks’ distributors (Comcast, Cox, etc) all expire in the summer of 2024, meaning negotiations for the next round of deals could begin as early as the fall of ’22.
News of a potential investor was made public last month in a report by the Oregonian, which indicated the Pac-12 was looking for an equity infusion:
In exchange for $500 million, the investor would receive 10 percent ownership in a newly-created holding company (dubbed ‘Pac12 NewCo’) that would manage all the conference’s media rights. The schools would retain the remaining 90 percent.
You’ll never guess the justification for the move. Okay, you will.
In a news release issued early Monday announcing The Raine Group’s advisory role, DiStefano mentioned the need “to provide maximum support for our University athletic departments and our student-athletes.” [Emphasis added.]
See? They’re doing it for the kids. If Larry’s heart is pure, what could go wrong?