To kick off its 2017 college football season, the Pac-12 started Media Days by announcing the conference would keep its football championship game in Santa Clara through at least 2019, extending the current deal two years.
In 2020, it’s time to move the thing to Las Vegas.
As part of this new deal the Pac-12 announced, they have the option to keep the game in Levi’s Stadium for 2020, which I like to think is the backup plan in case construction of the new Las Vegas stadium is delayed.
The Oakland Raiders move to Las Vegas in 2019, and the new stadium that is located just off The Strip is set to open in 2020.
A Pac-12 game is already scheduled for that new stadium. The Arizona Wildcats’ 2021 game vs. the BYU Cougars that was originally slated to be played in Sam Boyd Stadium has been moved to the Raiders’ new home.
So let’s get the Pac-12 Championship Game there too.
It’s not like this is the first time the Pac-12 would upgrade its conference postseason by moving something to a city without a member institution. We all remember when the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament was played in STAPLES Center and how much of a disaster that was. Now look at that event in Las Vegas. It just sold out the massive T-Mobile Arena in its first year in that venue.
With the P12FCG’s lowly attendance and excitement level since moving to Santa Clara in 2014, there has been some clamoring for the original setup of having the game at the school that finished with the better record. There’s also the idea of moving to the new Los Angeles Stadium that will be completed in 2019.
But I don’t think this new deal’s ending date is an accident. It’s the ultimate setup for a far superior football weekend experience. There’s no reason the Pac-12 shouldn’t do this. Attendance will be better. Exposure will be better. There is no drawback.
And honestly, don’t you want two reasons to go to Vegas for a weekend each year instead of one?