The Pac-12 media rights drama hasn’t reached a conclusion yet.

Following Colorado’s exit to the Big 12 last week, the pressure has ratcheted up even more for the Pac-12 to complete a media deal.

On Tuesday, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff and university presidents gathered for a meeting about the conference’s media rights negotiations but left without an agreement, according to Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellenger.

Another meeting will be held soon with the “expectation of eventually concluding a deal,” Dellenger reported.

Though no exact dollar figures have been reported from the meeting, the “primary deal” presented, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, was a primarily Apple TV streaming deal. The deal with Apple, which broke into televising live sports earlier this year with Major League Soccer, would have incentivized tiers based on subscription numbers, according to Thamel.

On ESPN’s “SportsCenter” Tuesday afternoon, Thamel provided a glimpse into what the payout from the Apple TV deal could be.

“With the Apple deal, they would align themselves with a prominent streaming partner and the money, although initially may be below where the Big 12 is expected to start — $31.7 million — there’s potential through subscriptions via Apple TV to go past that Big 12 number,” Thamel said.

Without concrete financial numbers, here’s what it could mean for the majority of Pac-12 games to be on Apple’s streaming service.

Though more and more consumers are “cutting the cord” — with traditional cable and satellite providers losing 5.88 million subscribers in 2022, according to the Leichtman Research Group — college football is still consumed through traditional TV and is putting up massive ratings.

Ten years from now, or even five, the TV landscape could be entirely different, with streaming likely playing a prominent role in live sports. But as of today, it could be considered a risk for a conference to put the majority of its games behind a streaming paywall.

Pac-12 day of truth? Further Big 12 expansion could bring about big changes

Every big-time college football matchup is still on network TV, be that ABC, Fox, the ESPN networks or FS1, and the vast majority of Power Five football games are on linear TV, with a small number of games exclusive to streaming services like ESPN+.

To get an idea of what a Pac-12 Apple TV media rights deal might look like, one could look at Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass, which holds the rights to every single MLS game.

MLS Season Pass is a standalone service from Apple TV+ (the streaming service that has TV shows like “Ted Lasso”) and costs $99 per year for non-Apple TV+ subscribers and $79 per year for AppleTV+ subscribers. It includes every MLS game with no blackout restrictions and MLS studio shows.

Select MLS games are available on Fox, providing a linear TV aspect, but the games televised on Fox are also shown on MLS Season Pass, meaning there’s no exclusivity for Fox.

The positive aspect of a streaming deal like this is if you’re a Utah fan and mainly have cable to watch Utes sports, you would save money by cancelling cable and switching to the Apple Pac-12 subscription service.

But would the negatives outweigh the positives?

It remains to be seen what, if any, linear TV aspect would run concurrently with an Apple streaming deal. Not having a large presence on traditional TV to give its schools exposure to the widest audience available would be problematic.

“Sources told ESPN that the deal is a primary streaming deal, which could give schools some pause, as a linear (TV) aspect was always going to be a critical piece of the deal going forward,” Thamel said.

Working on the assumption that Apple would have rights to the best games, locking the Pac-12’s marquee games behind a subscription paywall could mean viewership of the conference drops.

Fans of Pac-12 schools will pay an Apple TV subscription fee, but it takes more than fans of the schools playing to gain big TV ratings — you have to have a national audience. Will the average college football fan living in Ohio, who already has a cable TV subscription to watch football, also subscribe to Apple’s Pac-12 streaming service?

It’s a challenging sell, and that’s before you consider that the Apple TV base deal might still pay schools less than what the Big 12’s media deal does.

“According to sources, the first year of what’s expected to be a relatively short-term contract with Apple would start in 2024-25 and begin relatively low relative to the league’s hopes,” Thamel wrote. “But the deal, sources said, would incrementally improve and potentially be competitive with its peers in the Big 12 and ACC down the road, provided certain subscription numbers are met.”

Remember, the Big 12’s $31.7 million per member media deal has them featured on ESPN and Fox. Even if the Apple TV deal was more than the Big 12 with the majority of games being streamed, there still might be hesitancy from Pac-12 university presidents about agreeing to the deal because of the potential lack of marquee games on linear TV options.

The combination of a potential lower base deal than the Big 12, a majority of games locked behind a streaming paywall, and an unpredictable total payout amount each year from the Pac-12 (the Apple TV deal reportedly would have incentivized tiers based on subscriptions numbers, leading to budget uncertainty from university presidents and athletic directors) could make the deal tough to swallow.

If the conference wants to stick together, a deal like this may be the best they’re going to get this late in the game, when the SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 have all signed lucrative deals with linear TV partners and have filled a lot of their inventory.

But all it might take is one school not signing the deal and bolting to another conference, like the Big 12, to throw the Pac-12 into disarray.

The clock continues to tick for the Pac-12.