Pac-12 to dissolve San Francisco HQ, go distant & save tens of millions in lease

The Pac-12 on Tuesday announced it’s leaving downtown San Francisco next year when its lease expires.

Where’s the new headquarters? nowhere There will be no conference office in the traditional sense, only a facility for content production.

Most employees will be allowed to work in fully remote fashion, a move that will save millions in rent annually and generate additional revenue for the campuses.

The conference office has been in San Francisco for a decade and spent tens of millions of dollars on rent.

According to a news release, the decision is “designed to provide Pac-12 staff with the benefits of work flexibility while also envisioning regular opportunities for employees to come together in person within the Pac-12 geographic footprint, including at Pac-12 campuses to foster greater collaboration with member universities.”

The basics are as follows:

— Any employee whose job isn’t tied to a production facility can work remotely on a full-time basis, so long as they are based in the Mountain or Pacific times zones.

— Meanwhile, a small production facility will be established in a yet-to-be-determined location. The Bay Area is an option, but not San Francisco proper.

— The move will take place by next summer, when the current lease on Third Street expires.

The conference paid approximately $8 million in occupancy for the San Francisco office space in the 2020 fiscal year, according to the most recent financial documents available.

An undetermined fraction of that amount will support the production facility, with the remainder distributed to the schools — perhaps $500,000 to $750,000 per campus per year.

That’s comparable to the salaries for two assistant football coaches or, for some programs, an offensive or defensive coordinator.

It can fund recruiting.

Or pay for an FCS opponent.

Not surprisingly, the decision was approved unanimously by the university presidents and chancellors who form the Pac-12’s Board of Directors. (Heck, a few of them might offer to help pack up.)

“The Pac-12 is committed to best supporting our employees by providing a work environment that accommodates today’s modern world and gives our employees maximum flexibility to live and work where they want, while still fostering collaboration among staff and our valued member institutions,” commissioner George Kliavkoff said in a news release.

“We are also committed to ongoing best-in-class production of Pac-12 events. We are excited for what this new remote and flexible work environment can do to support our employees, and for the new ways it will allow for us to reinvest in our member universities so that they can best support student-athletes.”

Kliavkoff’s statement is revealing in that it suggests the conference will remain in the media business — “ongoing best-in-class production of Pac-12 events” — beyond the expiration of the lease.

In other words, the Pac-12 Networks arm is not being shut down.

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