The Pac-12 is in talks to make Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. — the new home of the San Francisco 49ers — the permanent site of the conference championship game, according to an SI.com report.
The change, if approved by conference presidents and chancellors in June, would go into effect for the 2014 season.
The first three Pac-12 championship games were held on campuses — Arizona State in 2013, Stanford in 2012 and Oregon in 2011.
From the SI.com report:
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.
Different cities have pitched Pac-12 about hosting over the years, including Phoenix, Las Vegas and Seattle. As of now, however, Levi’s Stadium is the clear frontrunner. Santa Clara sits about 40 miles south of San Francisco. The new stadium, which will open in August with an expected capacity of 68,500, will host two college football games this season: Oregon-Cal on Oct. 24 and the Fight Hunger Bowl in late December. It will host Super Bowl L in 2016.
Conference coaches and athletic directors are meeting in Phoenix this week, and Bud Withers has more details here. One notable item from Withers: The Pac-12 will now make its annual July football media day a two-day event. The SEC hosts a three-day media days event.