The Pac-12 is in preliminary discussions to move the conference championship game to Levi's Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara. Larry Scott confirmed this to Sports Illustrated earlier today and it seems like this has a good shot of happening.
The Pac-12 has let the school with the best conference record host the conference championship game the last three seasons. Oregon hosted it in 2011 (beating UCLA), Stanford hosted it in 2012 (beating UCLA), and Arizona State hosted it in 2013 (falling to Stanford).
There are probably plenty of reasons for moving the conference championship to a neutral site.
1. The conference wants a central location close to their conference offices that will reduce the cost of travel and overhead for setting up at a site so far away from the Bay Area. Levi's Stadium is right in the middle of the Conference footprint.
2. Levi's Stadium offers modern luxury suites, which will allow the conference to sell even more premium ticket packages for the event that might not be possible at a collegiate stadium. Knowing where you're going each year provides clear relief.
Conference leaders see multiple positives in moving the game to the Bay Area, including the fact that Pac-12 schools all have strong alumni bases nearby. They also see the modern new stadium, replete with technological bells and whistles such as luxury suites and wireless Internet, as an added bonus.
The league found difficulties for schools hosting the game on short notice. Ticket sales were rushed, and athletic directors voiced concerns about potential issues with luxury boxes and season tickets holders needing to be moved to make room for corporate entities. With a game branded in one city -- just like the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta -- the league can sell tickets to the event year-round, not exclusively as a game tied to two specific schools.
What are your thoughts on the Pac-12 potentially moving their conference title game to Santa Clara?