Pac-10 will expand...to Asia?

SAN FRANCISCO -- Can you say “Rose Bowl” in Mandarin?

While first-year commissioner Larry Scott has made headlines of late for his role in possible Pac-10 expansion, he also said Sunday that he hopes to market the conference both nationally and internationally.

“I think we’re going to be the first collegiate conference to really have an international marketing plan, which I do envision in the future will include broadcasts of our contests and games internationally as well as competitions,” Scott said. “You’ll see our student-athletes playing in an organized way in Asia.”

Details of this new marketing initiative among others are expected to be unveiled next month at the Pac-10 football coaches media event, which will be held in New York of all places.

Instead of the usual airport hotel in Los Angeles, this three-day bicoastal tour for the coaches will kick off July 27 -- quite possibly at a New York cocktail party, according to assistant commissioner Dave Hirsch -- and then head to ESPN’s studios in Bristol, Conn., before finishing up back at the picturesque Rose Bowl.

As if that’s not enough pizzazz, the Pac-10 now wants to push itself as an international brand as well.

“The West Coast is the gateway to the Pacific Rim,” Scott said. “We’ve got a lot of student-athletes that have Asian roots in particular. Some of our schools have a very high level of brand recognition over in Asia, and there’s a lot of interest in our schools from Asia.”

UCLA, for example, saw its gear become somewhat of a fashion trend recently in China. According to the Daily Bruin, the school made $285,000 in income in 2007 through international licensing in Asia.

And as players go, Cal has already put together promotions revolving around 7-foot-3 men’s basketball player Max Zhang, a native of China who has become a fan favorite in Berkeley.

It’s no surprise, of course, that Scott would have a global worldview. His previous job for six years was chairman and CEO of the WTA Tour, and he successfully showcased women’s tennis to different regions and markets worldwide through tour stops and a new television deal.

“I was brought in from outside of intercollegiate sports because we’ve got a leadership group that has a very bold vision for what the Pac-10 can be going forward,” Scott said. “That’s why I’m here.”