The Pac-12 is about to become global.
Thanks to a contribution from a sponsor in China, the Alibaba Group, the Pac-12 has made a two-year commitment that will lead to one Pac-12 team playing in China for each of the next two years.
It will all start this November, with Washington vs. Texas.
Then, in 2016, there will be two additional teams that will be make the trip to Asia as the Pac-12 tries to improve on their global footprint.
“I definitely see a lot of potential for our activities to grow and the interest to grow,” Scott said to Sports Illustrated. “Exactly where that takes us is really hard to say. There’s a lot of potential to expand in a lot of different ways. There’s a great foundation of interest, bringing the best from America to China.”
While the Pac-12 is bringing basketball to China, it looks like it could be quite some time before we ever see the conference shipping off some football teams for a game.
Not only would it be more of a financial burden, but there just isn’t as much familiarity with the sport overseas.
“Football is going to be the toughest and is maybe not a high priority because it is not played [over there],” Scott said back in 2012. “We have a lot more immediate focus on sports like basketball, volleyball, golf, tennis, track and field, gymnastics — all sports where they excel at too. Football really isn’t a high priority and if we were to play a game internationally, I’m not sure China would be the first, most logical place. There are other places where it’s much more indigenous.”
Regardless of whether or not football ever finds it’s way to China, it’s great to see that the Pac-12 is working on bringing some quality collegiate sports to another audience.
It will also be a great experience for the student-athletes who get to make the trip.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports