Pac-12 title game moving to Levi's Stadium: http://t.co/hpNRstK788— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) May 14, 2014
One of the reasons the Pac-12 had trouble deciding on a neutral site game a few years ago was the lack of an appropriate site. Candlestick Park and Oakland Coliseum in the Bay Area are not good stadiums; CenturyLink Field in Seattle and Mile High Stadium in Denver are just not fun places to host neutral site games in December; the Rose Bowl was redundant (a game in the Rose Bowl for the right to go to the Rose Bowl?); Sam Boyd Stadium in Vegas is too old, and University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale was too remote.
However, with the clear logistical struggles that come with trying to host a conference title game in a week, the new San Francisco 49ers stadium in Santa Clara is just the perfect spot. It’s centrally located between North and South, it’s right next to conference headquarters in San Francisco, it provides modern amenities and a state-of-the-art stadium experience, and will probably provide the best attendance for any neutral site location.
The biggest question: Will the Pac-12 now reconsider renegotiating its TV contract for a permanent Saturday game?
A Friday night game at a neutral site just seems like a bad idea. There will not be enough turnaround time for the slot, ensuring that there will be a less-than-ideal stadium crowd for the game. The Pac-12 will have to deal with once every other year, when the TV rotation turns to FOX (ESPN shows the game on Saturday night.).
TV money means a lot (and the Pac-12 is certainly getting top dollar with giving FOX Friday night programming), but it might be best to move the game to Saturday afternoon/evening at some point. What are your thoughts?