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Pac-12 Turns to MGM Exec George Kliavkoff as New Conference Commissioner

Pac-12 Turns to MGM Exec George Kliavkoff as New Conference Commissioner article feature image

Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: George Kliavkoff

With media, hospitality and betting playing such a role in sports, it’s no surprise that the Pac-12 hired George Kliavkoff.

Kliavkoff, who served as president of entertainment and sports at MGM Resorts for the past three years, has a vast media experience at MLB Advanced Media, Real Networks and NBC Universal. That’s important for the Pac-12 because the conference’s network failing to get full carriage under last commissioner Larry Scott’s tenure was its greatest pain point.

So too is understanding the betting world, as legalized sports betting becomes more pervasive, and hospitality, as the gameday experience must be more appealing than ever with the quality of the at-home experience equaling or bettering it.

“He is the new prototype for a sports commissioner,” University of Oregon President Michael H. Schill, chair of the five-member search committee, said in a statement. “While George has deep sports experience, his biggest asset is his ability to listen, connect with diverse groups, find common ground, collaborate and navigate an evolving landscape. We believe George’s overall skills and experience will become even more prevalent in college sports leadership.”

There’s been big turnover at the top at many of the nation’s college conferences recently. The Big Ten went with an NFL outsider in Kevin Warren in 2019 and the ACC went with Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips late last year.

Kliavkoff is not native to the conference. He graduated from Boston University and has a law degree from UVA.

“I am thrilled to be the Pac-12 Commissioner,” he said. “This is a challenging time for intercollegiate athletics, but I believe these challenges also create significant opportunities.”

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