While there is plenty of buzz surrounding the possibility of shipping a number of college football games across the Atlantic Ocean, it is only fitting that the Pac 12 turn their eyes across the Pacific Ocean for exporting their product. Pac 12 commissioner Larry Scott says the conference is open to exploring possible football and basketball games across the Pacific Ocean in the future.
“In talking with the presidents and trying to determine the strategy for the conference going forward, it became clear to me that globalization was a big deal for the schools,” Scott told Pac-12 Networks, as quoted in a story by Bryan Fischer on Pac-12.com. “Given the West Coast position of our conference, our schools are already the gateway to the Pacific Rim. There’s already a heavy Asian influence and it’s only natural for us [as a conference] to look West with so many of our schools already doing it.
Any country in particular? You bet.
“And when you think of Asia and the Pacific, China is the highest priority,” Scott said.
The strategy makes plenty of sense for the Pac 12. The conference offers the top brand of college football and basketball on the west coast of the United States and with the growing athletics focus in Asia, especially in eastern Asia, it only makes sense to market the product with a potential untapped fan base, and recruiting soil. The conference is already seeing an increase in applicants from Asian countries throughout the conference, according to Fischer's blog entry, and we know Scott will pull no stops in expanding the conference branding.
The ACC previously has been linked to potential games in football and basketball in Europe, and Ireland appears to be heading toward future football games, including Penn State vs. Central Florida in 2014. The NFL has continued to commit to playing games in other locations as well, focusing a majority of the efforts in Europe in addition to a game in Mexico or Canada from year to year.
College football outside of the United States appears to be growing traction from coast to coast (and beyond I suppose). Some still feel this takes away from the charm and allure of the sport, at least at the college level, but the overall focus is to find new ways to expand the growth of the game and promote American football abroad. While football is clearly the dominant sport in this country, it has a very long way to go before becoming a main sport outside of the country.
“People outside the U.S., not just China but generally, are not that familiar with U.S. college sports,” Scott said. “There’s a lot of education that needs to be done about college sports in general and the Pac-12 specifically. In China, I would like the Pac-12 to be seen as the elite athletic conference in the United States with some of the best-known brands.”
Where do you fall on this entire idea? Pac 12 football in Asia? ACC football in Europe? Where would you send the sport for an exhibition or series of games? Or is it all a bunch of nonsense and commissioners and university presidents should focus more on the game closer to home?
Helmet sticker to Bryan Fischer on Pac-12.com.