Never let it be said that Larry Scott does not know how to leverage the marketing opportunities of his conference. While the Pac-12 coaches were hanging out at ESPN's Bristol, CT headquarters for day 2 of their media tour, Scott was in New York finalizing the deal for the creation and programming of the Pac-12 network. Commissioner Scott is set to make the official announcement in just a moment, but Jon Wilner has broken some of the key details via his Twitter. Some of the early key details:
- Pac-12 announcing creation of six regional networks and one national network.
- The network will debut in August 2012 to a nationwide audience (Wilner shares an estimate that the national Pac-12 network will reach 40 million households at its time of launch).
- The Pac-12 Cable partners are Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox and Bright House.
- Pac-12 Networks available "on any device so long as fans authenticated".
- As Wilner noted in one of his Twitter posts, the conference will retain full equity rights to the networks. This is a really big deal for the long-term financials for UCLA and the other schools of the conference.
Wilner has been all over the conference network since it's intended creation came out of last year's conference expansion talks. After hearing during yesterday's media event that details on the network-to-be were likely to be firmed up in August, he broke the news of this afternoon's announcement earlier this morning on his Mercury News blog, even making the correct guess of Time Warner as the conference's key media partner, despite Scott's public meetings with Fox Sports brass. We'll be updating as more information on the deal comes to light.
UPDATE (N): One of the cool things about Pac 12 owning and controlling the network is that it is potentially really good news all the Pac 12 non-revenue programs that have been so successful for the conference over the years.
UPDATE II (P): Today's announcement deals only with the cable television rights to Pac-12 sports and the network. Satellite TV operators were not part of this round of negotiations, but during the Q&A following the announcement, Scott did say that he looks forward to conversations with satellite operators to add to the conference's cable partnerships.
There will be a network for each of the six regions that have two schools: Washington, Oregon, Northern and Southern California, Arizona and Mountain. All will carry national programming, including 35 football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games and 40 women’s basketball games, as well as the Olympic sports at each school that traditionally have gotten little or no television exposure.
The regional networks will be carried locally, within their geographically proscribed areas, on basic and digital cable, and the national network will be shown on sports tiers that require an extra fee.
As it stands now, the Pac-12 will have networks for each region/traditional rivalry pair of the conference that will be carried in their respective home markets, as well as a main Pac-12 network that will be carried nationwide by Brighthouse, Comcast, Cox, and Time Warner Cable, albeit as part of their added sports package, such as (presumably) Comcast's Sports Entertainment Pack. And as I wrote that, Wilner just tweeted that Comcast will carry the Pac-12 network in Northern California as part of its basic digital cable package.
Scott's remark bulleted above stating that the network will be available on any authenticated device looks to point to the network being available as part of the streaming packages that the cable operators are beginning to offer, and/or presented by other streaming services in the future.
UPDATE III (N): As noted by P in the comment threads, Wilner tweeted about the possibility of the Pac-12 network looking into Spanish a version of the network, at least for LA/SoCal. Just awesome.