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Pac-12 would consider Las Vegas for football title game

Updated March 24, 2017 - 9:04 pm

Las Vegas might be in the mix for another conference title game, and this one doesn’t involve a basketball.

Speculation about the Pacific 12 Conference football championship game moving to Las Vegas’ proposed 65,000-seat, $1.9 billion domed stadium grew on Thursday when Oregonian columnist John Canzano tweeted about his conversation with Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott.

Canzano met with Scott during halftime of the Oregon-Michigan NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 basketball game Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri.

“Pac 12 is thrilled with the basketball tournament in Vegas. Larry Scott tells me he’d explore the football title game there (with) new stadium,” Canzano tweeted.

The Pac-12 basketball tournament set an attendance conference record of 86,910 during the four-day event at T-Mobile Arena this month. The title game between Oregon and Arizona drew a sellout crowd of 18,927.

The Pac-12 football championship game has been played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, since 2014, and has struggled to draw fans. The announced attendance for the Washington-Colorado game in December was 47,118, but that didn’t appear to be the case on TV with a half-empty stadium.

A Pac-12 official said Scott wasn’t available to comment for this story.

The possibility of Las Vegas hosting the Pac-12 football title game was brought up during Scott’s news conference at T-Mobile Arena this month.

“We’re very happy with our partnership with Levi’s Stadium (and) with the 49ers,” Scott said. “That event has been a big hit with our teams and our student-athletes. … We don’t fill that venue right now, and I think that’s always going to be a challenge for us. The drivability, the cost, the passion of the fans. But something that we’re striving for.

“So we’ve got more years left in our relationship with the 49ers. We’re very happy with that relationship. When that contract expires, I guess the first evaluation that we’ll have is do we want to continue to stay in a neutral site versus going to a home-hosted model.

“But we’ll evaluate in the context of what other opportunities, of course, there are going to be in the market. Certainly in Los Angeles with the Rams, it’s going to be spectacular what gets built down there. If the Raiders move here (Las Vegas), they build something, certainly that would also be something we’d have to consider, would want to consider, given what the positive reaction of our fans have been around basketball.”

Contact Gilbert Manzano at gmanzano@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0492. Follow @gmanzano24 on Twitter.

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