Finally, mercifully, the Pac-12 has moved the home of its annual championship game to a neutral-site location that makes sense. On Wednesday, conference commissioner Larry Scott announced that the 2020 and 2021 host site for the Pac-12 Championship Game will be located in Las Vegas at the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders.
"Our Pac-12 universities and entire conference are thrilled to have our 2020 and 2021 football championship event take place in one of the most anticipated new venues in sports," said Scott in a statement. "Highlighting and showcasing our programs on one of the biggest stages in a major destination market is a tremendous opportunity for our student-athletes, universities and fans, and consistent with our mission to create the best possible experiences for student-athletes. We are excited to work with our new partners in the Raiders, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and MGM Resorts International for these events."
Putting aside the P.R. aspect, it's a smart move to get the game away from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, which has hosted the Pac-12 title game for the past five years. Among the chief criticisms of Levi's stadium were access and attendance. The conference reportedly had interest in putting the game in Los Angeles as well.
But, logistically, the Raiders' stadium in Vegas will be closer to the airport -- but, then again, everything in Vegas is closer to the airport. And while transportation is an improvement over Santa Clara, the other, more significant aspect of moving the title game is that Vegas is actually a tourist destination. Fans from both sides can arrive there easily and inexpensively.
The Pac-12 Championship Game did campus site hosting for its first three years. While NFL stadiums (generally) won't have the same pageantry and appeal as on-campus games, Vegas is about as good an option as there is for west coast fans.