Pac-12 Network Expands Cable Reach - DirectTV To Follow?

July 24, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Jim Mora (left), running back Johnathan Franklin (center) and free safety Tevin McDonald talk to reporters during PAC-12 Media Day at Universal Studios Hollywood. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Ever since announcing the Pac-12 Network, the conference has been working to get as many outlets as possible on board. With the college football season now just a month away, two new regional cable carriers have reached agreements to carry the networks. From Ted Miller's ESPN blog.

Pac-12 Enterprises has reached agreements with a pair of Northwest cable carriers, Frontier Communications -- FiOS TV -- and Bend Cable Communications, to cary the Pac-12 Networks, it was announced Wednesday.

The new agreement allows FiOS TV from Frontier subscribers and BendBroadband subscribers to receive the Pac-12 Network when it launches on Aug. 15.

Bend Cable - logically given its name - covers Central Oregon, while Frontier Communications offers cable TV and internet in Oregon and Washington. These are not the biggest carriers that had lacked a Pac-12 agreement, but the new additions are only part of Scott and Co's goal, as Jon Wilner discussed at his blog.

During last week's Pac-12 Media Day, Wilner sat down with the President of Pac-12 Enterprises (the conference's media arm) about the state of the TV networks. Between that interview and discussions with various officials from the conference and a few Pac-12 schools, it seems likely (though not certain) that the conference will reach an agreement with DirectTV to carry the networks by the start of football season. The extended piece from Wilner is worth reading in order to get a feel of some of the background for the network. Among other details, he clarified how "home markets" for the regional networks will work - which cities and regions will have which Pac-12 channels available and on which tier of service.

There has been some confusion about the level of service in various geographic areas. Think of the situation in terms of zones:

Zone 1 (home markets) will have the Pac12Net on a basic tier.

Zone 2 (within the league’s footprint) will have the Pac12Net on a digital tier, which can be more expensive than basic.

Zone 3 (outside the footprint) will have the Pac12Net on a sports tier.

Portland and Denver count as Zone 1, but San Diego and Sacramento are Zone 2 … Las Vegas is Zone 3.

Given that the Oregon schools and U of Colorado are based in smaller towns, it makes sense that Portland and Denver are considered Zone-1 markets, as they are the nearest major cities for these universities. No word on Eastern Washington and/or Idaho's treatment wrt Washington State, or if Seattle will pull double duty. Otherwise, it seems that the portions of the Pac-12 states (AZ, CA, CO, OR, UT, WA) outside of a university's main media market will be Zone 2, while media markets not part of a Pac-12 state will be Zone-3.

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