Saturday September 25th, 2021 4:49PM

Pac-12 picks MGM executive Kliavkoff as next commissioner

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

The Pac-12 hired George Kliavkoff to be the conference's next commissioner Thursday, replacing Larry Scott with another college sports outsider and charging him with rebuilding the football brand.

Kliavkoff has been the president of sports and entertainment for MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas since 2018.

University of Oregon President Michael H. Schill, the chairman of the Pac-12's five-member search committee, called Kliavkoff “a highly experienced and pioneering sports, entertainment and digital media executive.”

Kliavkoff, 54, has previously worked with Major League Baseball Advanced Media and Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, and was also the chief digital officer with NBC Universal Cable.

“He is very much a new prototype for sports commissioner,” Schill said. “He is the sort of person we need for this decade and the decades beyond. Even without serving a day in the job, George has thoughtfully challenged us to envision what is possible for the Pac-12. What is possible for the coming era of new technologies and media.”

The Pac-12 university presidents conducted a secretive nearly four-month search with the executive search firm, TurnkeyZRG.

Some familiar names in college sports were among those speculated to be up for consideration by the Pac-12: former NCAA executive and NFL quarterback Oliver Luck, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith and Texas AD Chris Del Conte to name a few.

Instead, the Pac-12's next commissioner — much like its last —- comes to the conference with no previous experience as an administrator in college sports.

“With today's announcement, I believe that I am transitioning from the best job in entertainment to the best job in sports,” Kliavkoff said in a video conference with reporters. “I made this jump because I'm passionate about the mission of the Pac-12 Conference, to drive financial results, to protect and expand scholarships and support the other educational goals of our member institutions.”

That the Pac-12 found its new commissioner in Las Vegas is no coincidence.

The conference has been building a foothold in Las Vegas as it becomes a hot spot for sports, with two relatively new professional teams (the Golden Knights of the NHL and Raiders of the NFL) and a brand new football stadium.

The Pac-12 has already been staging its men's and women's basketball tournaments in Las Vegas, and its football championship is set to be held at Allegiant Stadium for the first time this season.

Kliavkoff said he has three priorities when he formally takes over as commissioner July 1.

“First, we will protect and support our student-athletes. Second, we will make decisions to optimize revenue for our member institutions, including renegotiating our media distribution deals. And third, we will do everything we can at the conference level to make our teams more competitive in revenue-generating sports, especially football," he said.

Kliavkoff said he supports expansion of the College Football Playoff and the implementation of consistent name, image and likeness guidelines across NCAA sports.

“We think that both CFP expansion and NIL legislation are good for college sports fans, good for our student-athletes, and can be a significant competitive advantage for the Pac-12,” he said.

Kliavkoff, a former Boston University rower, has also served on the Board of Governors of the WNBA.

Scott announced in January he would be stepping down at the end of June.

Scott’s 11-year tenure as commissioner began with the conference landing a transformational billion-dollar television deal, but the Pac-12 struggled to keep up with some of its Power Five conference peers when it came to revenue and exposure.

The Pac-12 launched a television network under Scott, but it never became a cash cow like those in the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference.

Scott, who came to the then-Pac-10 from the Women’s Tennis Association, was often criticized for being out of touch with campus-level decision makers in college sports and overspending on the conference office.

Kliavkoff said a meeting with all the Pac-12 athletic directors is already in the works as well as a plan for him to visit each campus.

He takes over as commissioner with Pac-12 football struggling to assert itself nationally.

The conference has placed a team in the College Football Playoff only twice since it began in 2014. Scott began pushing for playoff expansion late in his tenure, and now it seems to be heading in that direction. Kliavkoff pledged to help get it over the line.

The Pac-12 has not had a football national champion since Southern California in 2004 and a men's basketball champion since Arizona in 1997.

Kliavkoff called those droughts the conference's greatest weakness.

“We know where our bread is buttered,” he said. “We’re focused on the revenue sports and winning in football and men’s basketball.”


AP Sports Writer Anne M. Peterson contributed to this report.


More AP college football: and

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Sports - College Football, AP Sports - NFL, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
© Copyright 2021
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Packers add QB depth with Bortles as Rodgers saga continues
The Green Bay Packers have signed Blake Bortles as they attempt to add quarterback depth while MVP Aaron Rodgers’ future with the team remains uncertain
4:54PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Pac-12 picks MGM executive Kliavkoff as next commissioner
The Pac-12 hired sports entertainment executive George Kliavkoff to be the conference’s next commissioner, replacing Larry Scott with another college sports outsider
4:51PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Yankees' Torres positive for COVID despite being vaccinated
New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres has tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated and having previously contracted the coronavirus during the offseason
4:50PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Bo Bichette leads resilient Blue Jays past Braves again, 8-4
Bo Bichette hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the ninth inning and the Toronto Blue Jays rallied yet again to beat Atlanta 8-4 and sweep six games from the Braves this season
3:52PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP source: T-wolves sale to Lore, A-Rod up for NBA approval
Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has reached agreement on his $1.5 billion sale of the club
3:22PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Cubs get OK to boost attendance to 60%
The Chicago Cubs have been given the go-ahead to boost attendance to up to 60% of Wrigley Field’s capacity when they begin a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds in late May
2:27PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills
An additional week of regular-season games will benefit NFL fans right from the start
1:28AM ( 15 hours ago )
Brady-Prescott kicks off NFL season plus a return to London
The NFL is returning to London in October and Tom Brady begins his pursuit of an eighth Super Bowl title against Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys when Tampa Bay hosts the league’s annual kickoff game on Sept. 9
9:04PM ( 19 hours ago )
Amazon cloud technology aids NFL in schedule making
The process of building the NFL schedule used to be a painstaking one with executives spending months slotting the games one by one on a board until there was a final product for the commissioner to approve
8:53PM ( 20 hours ago )
AP Online Football
Nevada's Bosetti homers in NCAA-record 9th straight game
Nevada’s Tyler Bosetti has homered in nine consecutive games, breaking an NCAA Division I record that stood for 30 years
10:42AM ( 1 day ago )
South Dakota pitcher's prosthetic arm found at recycler
A college baseball player from South Dakota whose prosthetic arm was stolen from his vehicle has gotten it back after it was found at a recycling plant
6:52PM ( 1 day ago )
Stephen Curry's late 3 lifts Warriors past Jazz 119-116
Stephen Curry made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 14 seconds left moments after missing from deep, scoring 36 points to lead the Golden State Warriors past the Western Conference-leading Utah Jazz 119-116 on Monday night to keep hold of the eighth seed in the playoff race
1:40AM ( 2 days ago )
College Sports
Stories on pandemic, Black coaches, among AP award winners
Well-reported stories on a wide-range of topics from the pandemic, plight of Black coaches and insightful human interest features stood out in the annual contest for AP staffers judged by the Associated Press Sports Editors
11:48AM ( 1 week ago )
The Latest: Bucs take QB Kyle Trask to conclude 2nd round
Tampa Bay made Florida Heisman Trophy finalist Kyle Trask the first quarterback taken during the second day of the draft with the final pick of Round 2
9:43PM ( 1 week ago )
The Latest: SEC dominates first 10 selections in draft
Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith became the sixth player from the Southeastern Conference, and third from Alabama, to be taken in the first 10 selections of the NFL draft
9:46PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - College Football
Packers add QB depth with Bortles as Rodgers saga continues
The Green Bay Packers have signed Blake Bortles as they attempt to add quarterback depth while MVP Aaron Rodgers’ future with the team remains uncertain
4:54PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Yankees' Torres positive for COVID despite being vaccinated
New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres has tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated and having previously contracted the coronavirus during the offseason
4:50PM ( 11 minutes ago )
For Muslims in America, Eid al-Fitr comes as pandemic eases
As they celebrate the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are once again seeking ways to balance social and religious rituals with coronavirus concerns
4:44PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Arizona Senate Republicans sign lease to continue vote audit
Republicans in the Arizona Senate have signed a lease to continue their slow-moving audit of the 2020 election results in Maricopa County
4:44PM ( 17 minutes ago )
‘Amazing’: Pilots, passenger uninjured after midair crash
The pilot of an airplane that collided with another midair near Denver requested emergency landing for engine failure, not knowing that his plane was nearly ripped in half
4:36PM ( 25 minutes ago )