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Pac-12 hires MGM executive George Kliavkoff as next commissioner

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The Pac-12 has hired MGM Resorts sports and entertainment executive George Kliavkoff as its next commissioner.

Kliavkoff succeeds outgoing commissioner Larry Scott, who has led the conference since 2009.

The Pac-12 presidents and chancellors unanimously voted for Kliavkoff’s appointment, the conference said in a statement. His contract begins July 1.

“At each step of his career, George has navigated complex, quickly changing environments and has been a successful consensus builder. George is a visionary leader with an extraordinary background as a pioneering sports, entertainment and digital media executive, and we are delighted and honored that he has agreed to become our next Pac-12 Commissioner,” said University of Oregon President Michael H. Schill, chair of the five-member search committee. “He is the new prototype for a sports commissioner. While George has deep sports experience, his biggest asset is his ability to listen, connect with diverse groups, find common ground, collaborate and navigate an evolving landscape. We believe George’s overall skills and experience will become even more prevalent in college sports leadership.”

Kliavkoff served as President Entertainment and Sports at MGM since October 2018. His role at MGM included managing operations, finance, strategy, booking, marketing and sponsorship for the company’s entertainment and sports venues.

Kliavkoff has been involved in organizing the Pac-12 Men’s and Women’s basketball tournaments, both played at MGM-run properties in Las Vegas.

“I am thrilled to be the Pac-12 Commissioner. This is a challenging time for intercollegiate athletics, but I believe these challenges also create significant opportunities,” Kliavkoff said. “I loved being a student-athlete, and I’m passionate about the doors that college sports and higher education open for young women and men. My job at the Pac-12 will be to help manage the balance between continued academic excellence, student-athlete well-being and an even higher level of athletic achievement.”

Before MGM, he was president and CEO of Jaunt Inc., an augmented and virtual reality start-up whose clients include MLB, NBA and the NFL.

His sports media experience dates back to 2003, when he served three years as Executive Vice President, Business for MLB Advanced Media.

Kliavkoff moved on to executive positions at NBC Universal Media and Hulu and spent seven years as Co-President of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication.

Kliavkoff is a graduate of Boston University and the University of Virginia School of Law.