Sports

Pac-12 elects MGM executive Kliavkoff as next commissioner

Pac-12 hired George Kliavkoff as the next commissioner for the meeting on Thursday, replacing Larry Scott with another college sports outsider and imposing a rebuild on the league’s football brand.

Kliavkoff has been President of MGM Sports & Entertainment in Las Vegas since 2018.

Michael H. Schill, President of the University of Oregon and Chairman of the Five-Member Search Committee, called Kliavkoff “an experienced and pioneering sports, entertainment and digital media executive.”

Kliavkoff previously worked with Major League Baseball Advanced Media and Hurst Entertainment & Syndication and was also Chief Digital Officer of NBC Universal Cable.

“He’s a very new prototype of the sports commissioner,” Schill said. “He’s the kind of person we need for the last decade and decades after that. George imagines what’s possible with the Pac-12, even if he’s not working for a day. What is possible in the next era of new technology and media? “

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The president of Pac-12 University conducted a secret search with executive search firm Turnkey ZRG for almost four months.

Among the well-known names in college sports, there are several names that Pac-12 will consider. For example, former NCAA executive and NFL quarterback Oliver Luck, Ohio State University athletic director Jean Smith, and Texas AD Chris Delconte.

Instead, Pac-12’s next commissioner, like the last commissioner, will attend the meeting without any experience as a college sports manager.

“With today’s announcement, I believe we are moving from the best entertainment jobs to the best sports jobs,” Kliavkoff said in a video conference with reporters. “I made this jump because I am passionate about the mission of the Pac-12 Conference, promoting financial results, protecting and expanding scholarships, and supporting other educational goals of member institutions.”

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The Pac-12 has built a foothold in Las Vegas, a sports hotspot, with two relatively new professional teams (NHL Golden Knights and NFL Raiders) and a new soccer stadium.

Pac-12 has already hosted a men’s and women’s basketball tournament in Las Vegas, and its football championship will be held at the Allegiant Stadium for the first time this season.

Kliavkoff said there were three priorities when officially taking over the commissioner in July.

“First, we protect and support student athletes. Second, we make decisions to optimize the revenues of our affiliates, including renegotiating media distribution transactions. And third, revenue-generating sports. We will do everything we can at the conference level to make our team more competitive, especially in soccer. “

Kliavkoff said it supports the expansion of the College Football Playoff and the implementation of consistent name, image and portrait guidelines throughout the NCAA sport.

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“We believe that both the expansion of the CFP and the NIL Act will be beneficial to both college sports fans and student athletes and could be a significant competitive advantage for the Pac-12.” He said.

Former Boston University rower Kliavkoff is also a member of the WNBA Board of Directors.

Scott announced in January that he would resign at the end of June. Pac-12 said the leadership change was mutually agreed upon by Scott and the president of the university, but it became clear that his term was likely to end before the contract expired in June 2022. ..

Scott’s 11-year tenure as Commissioner began with the conference signing a billion-dollar innovative television contract, while Pac-12 is part of the Power Five conference’s peers in terms of revenue and exposure. I had a hard time catching up with.

Pac-12 launched a television network under Scott, but it didn’t become a dollar box like the Big Ten Conference and Southeastern Conference.

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Scott, who came to Pac-12 from the Women’s Tennis Association, was often criticized for not being in contact with college sports campus-level decision makers and spending a lot of money on conference rooms. ..

Kliavkoff has taken over the commissioner and Pac-12 Football is struggling to make a national claim.

Since the launch of CFP in 2014, the conference has only placed two teams in the College Football Playoffs. Scott began pushing for more playoffs later in his tenure and now seems to be heading in that direction.

“My football job begins with meetings with athletic directors, coaches, and new colleagues in the conference office,” said Kliavkoff. “I personally believe that the solution to improving Pac-12 football is a combination of addressing structural issues and a recruitment-focused approach.”

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Contributed by AP sports writer Anne M. Peterson.

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Pac-12 elects MGM executive Kliavkoff as next commissioner

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