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October 10, 2018

Larry Scott

San Francisco, California

LARRY SCOTT: Women's Basketball Media Day. Our coaches and student-athletes for what promises to be an exciting day previewing what will I'm sure be another exciting season. After amassing the most NCAA tournament wins in the conference over the last three years, including different teams in the Final Four, 13 over that time period. I don't think there's much doubt that the PAC-12 is amongst the elite conferences in basketball at the moment. More over, the depth has been clear in terms of how broadly we have four different PAC-12 teams have appeared in Final Fours over five of the last six years, nine different PAC-12 teams, 75 percent of our league over the last seven years. We produce elite WNBA talent, two first-round draft choices for the last two years and on every level. So I'm confident that this success is going to continue this season based on the elite recruiting talent that's coming in to the league as well as some of the returners that we have on our teams. We've got three Top 20 recruiting classes amongst our schools, and nine of the 12 all PAC-12 selections from last season are returning, including PAC-12 player of the year, Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Herbard at Oregon.

The conference has been deep and competitive. Oregon edging out Stanford for the PAC-12 regular season championship was another example of the last five years the conference title has not been decided until the final weekend, which shows the depth and competitiveness of the league which has made it a lot of fun to follow.

This year we've got a change in terms of how the PAC-12 women's basketball season will end with our championship moving from Seattle to Las Vegas. The event will be played at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. We've had now in our seventh year the men's basketball tournaments in Las Vegas and our partnerships down there and our experience with the men we're confident it's going to be a great experience for the women's basketball tournament. We're very thankful to our friends in Seattle who did a really fabulous job in terms of building up the women's basketball tournament there, Seattle Sports Commission, KeyArena, Force10 Marketing. I think we've come to really enjoy enthusiastic and very knowledgeable crowds there, and they've really helped elevate the stature of this tournament at a time where the play on the court and the competitiveness has been incredible. So we look forward to building on that success as we move to Las Vegas this season. Particularly.

Pleased that another feature of our PAC-12 women's basketball this year will include the PAC-12 networks being there with live on site studio and coverage throughout the week which is something we tried for the first time with the men's basketball tournament last year in Las Vegas. It was very well received, had a lot of energy, excitement and access to fans through the networks. And we're delighted to be able to bring that to help elevate the women's basketball tournament, provide more exposure and access there.

Speaking of exposure, it's going to be another very, very strong year with 101 women's basketball games telecast this year on the PAC-12 networks. That's regular-season games and all but the championship game from the PAC-12 women's basketball tournament, ESPN, our media partner will be telecasting five women's basketball games this year, four regular-season games and of course our championship game from Las Vegas. This is really comprehensive and unprecedented coverage of women's basketball, not just the games themselves, but the studio shows, the analysis, the stories about our student-athletes and behind-the-scenes features shows a commitment and is really a great example that highlights the mission-driven focus of the networks and why it was created in the first place. To be able to provide these platforms, this exposure for some of our sports which are so elite and so successful, it's a big help to our schools in recruiting, and big asset for our fans as well.

Before I take any questions that you've got, I want to take a brief moment to reflect on the overall success of the conference at a time that women's basketball is doing so well. It also coincides with the overall success of our schools and programs. The PAC-12 has led the nation in NCAA championships for 13 straight years, in 17 of the last 18 years as well as 52 of the last 58 years. When it comes to women's sports again the PAC-12 is known for unprecedented success. Since 1982 when women's NCAA championships started being recorded, PAC-12 has claimed 183 women's NCAA titles across 14 different sports. That's 80 more than the next highest conference. The PAC-12 leads the nation in NCAA titles for nine different sports, and individual women's student-athletes have won 778 individual NCAA titles, also the most of any conference. We're very proud of the broad-based excellence that the conference represents, very proud of our leadership in women's sports and the excellence our student-athletes, coaches and schools represent, and delighted that women's basketball is a great example of that right now.

So appreciate your support for women's basketball throughout the season. Look forward to seeing you at games and of course at our tournament in Las Vegas in March, and happy to answer any questions that you may have.

If not, we'll move on, to our student-athletes and coaches. Oh, do you have one, Bruce?

Q. I have a couple. One was if you could just go over again the moving the tournament to Las Vegas and what the thought was behind that, and will it be any conflict with the men or do you expect some kind of benefit to having them both there?
LARRY SCOTT: So the impetus for the move is a major renovation at KeyArena in Seattle. We're really delighted with the way the tournament has gone in Seattle, but there's a major overhaul of the KeyArena going on now and it's going to be out of commission for a couple of years, at least I believe. So we had to consider alternatives. We looked at a lot of different options. Las Vegas was a natural. There was some real interest amongst our coaches and athletics departments and given our seven years of recent history and partnerships down there and Las Vegas's recent commitment to a WNBA team, the Aces and early success that's having, we felt that the ingredients were right, for at least two years. So we're going to be in Las Vegas for at least two years while KeyArena is being renovated and then we'll see from there.

We don't expect any conflict with the men, but we're actually hoping for some synergy in that the week will take place the weekend before. So the women's final championship game will be on Sunday and the men's tournament starts on a Wednesday. So we're hoping from a promotional standpoint, possibly fan standpoint that provides some synergy.

Q. Totally different topic. I was just wonder if you had an eye on the trial that's going on in New York with the men and your reaction to it so far?
LARRY SCOTT: Yeah, certainly we're monitoring it very closely. Certainly a lot of concern about some of the allegations that have been made and we're looking forward to seeing what the outcome is there.

Q. (No microphone)?
LARRY SCOTT: Yeah. So two things primarily. First we're working very closely with our schools to make our fans aware of the change and will be some very proactive and specific outreach and marketing initiatives targeting fans to try to get them so come experience Las Vegas. We've had some great success with the men's tournament, with football bowl game that we've had there. So we're hopeful that fans pond and are excited and interested in seeing what the women's basketball tournament is like in Las Vegas.

In tandem with that, we expect a big local marketing effort in Las Vegas. There's been a big focus on women's basketball as the Aces, the local WNBA franchise has been started, and our partner for the event, MGM Grand are the owners of the Aces. So they've got now a developed database. They've had -- they've been in the market for a while with various marketing, ticket sales activities. And we think they're the ideal partner for us to try to tap in to the women's basketball fanbase that's in Las Vegas. Any other questions? Okay. Great. Thanks for being here and have a great day.

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