By Michelle Brutlag Hosick
The Pacific-10 Conference will become the Pacific-12 when Utah and Colorado join the league, Commissioner Larry Scott announced Monday. During the same New York City press conference where he shared the name change, Scott unveiled a new branding campaign for the conference, including a new website and updated logo.
Both the Utes and the Buffaloes are set to join the league by 2012. Utah, which moved from the Mountain West, and Colorado, which came from the Big 12, make up half the schools that switched leagues in recent months (Nebraska moved from the Big 12 to the Big Ten and Boise State went from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West).
The Pac-10 last changed its name in 1978, when the addition of Arizona and Arizona State modified the former Pac-8.
Scott, who said the new conference moniker will make the league “mathematically correct” when its new members join, has said the Pac-10 is finished expanding – for now. The expanded conference is expected to negotiate a new television contract over the next year that will increase revenues for its members.
The new website features a dynamic look with more original content and a focus on streaming video. Schedules, scores and standings will remain a mainstay, but fans will also be able to follow the conference via social media sites Twitter, Facebook and flickr.
The logo, while still bearing the conference’s current membership number, now reflects an updated geographic footprint, with the mountains and the ocean both represented. Designed by Portland-based Mutt Industries, the logo uses a sleeker font inside a shield. It will be displayed on all playing surfaces and uniforms.
“With our universities and students on the cutting edge of innovation and digital media in their research, studies and daily lives, we think it’s appropriate that the Pac-10 lead the way in using these new media and technologies to more effectively bring our competition and stories to our fans,” Scott said.
The changes – and the festivities in New York City that included a group of conference representatives ringing the opening bell at the NASDAQ – are part of an effort to update the conference’s less-than-aggressive image and broaden its fan base, Scott said.
Washington President Mark Emmert, who will become NCAA president later this year, told Sports Illustrated the league had always had a “very good reputation” that stood for academic quality and integrity.
“We certainly wanted to keep all that in place because it’s essential and central to who we are,” Emmert told the magazine. “But it also had a bit of a stodgy, a little bit self-satisfied image that we wanted to change. We wanted to demonstrate that out West, people are engaged in innovation and creativity. We are the home of Microsoft and Google, and we do build airplanes. We do all sorts of exciting and dynamic things out West. … Yet the conference wasn’t really a reflection of that energy.”
Scott said he is doing what Emmert and the other presidents charged him to do when the hired him away from leading the Women’s Tennis Association last year – reinvent the conference.