From our man live at the Pac-12 Network announcement on Wednesday afternoon in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market come the key points of what we now know about the Pac-12 Network, including some hokey PR-speak from the official release distributed at the event:
- Pac-12 Network is a misnomer. It’s really the Pac-12 Networks. 6 regional networks–Northern California, Southern California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Mountain–will join the national network in the 7-channel group. Each will show a good deal of unique programming, allowing each network to focus on non-revenue-generating sports from the local schools.
- It’s digital, but not as digital as we hoped it would be. Fans with traditional television access to the Pac-12 Networks can access them on computers and mobile devices (with geolocation verification), but it looks as though they will access a digital simulcast of what’s happening on television. It’s not bad, but it’s not innovative at all. The exact excerpt from the conference:
… it includes “TV everywhere” rights, permitting the networks to be viewed outside customers’ homes on any digital device, such as smartphones and tablet computers, creating a virtual “Pac-12 Everywhere.”
- The deal was struck with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks. Time Warner appears to have played the biggest role in the formation of the arrangement. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott praised Melina Witmer, a Time Warner senior executive, as the deal-maker, and awarded her a custom Arizona jersey (Witmer graduated from UA in 1984) and a photo op with Wildcats head football coach Mike Stoops just after the conference ended.
- The networks will supposedly broadcast 850 live events per year, with 350 on the national channel and 500 on the various regional outlets. Every football and men’s basketball game will be broadcast either by partners ESPN and Fox or by the national network.
- 40 million Americans will have access to Pac-12 Networks, and that number will increase substantially if Scott reaches an agreement with satellite providers to carry the networks on DIRECTV and Dish Network. Scott says he anticipates such an agreement in the future.
- Here’s something that makes sense, but could become a total joke awfully quickly:
Pac 12 Networks will feature extensive educational, academic and lifestyle programming from the Pac-12 Institutions, some of the most renowned and recognizable higher education institutions in the world. Programming will extend beyond athletics to other subjects of interest to students, faculty, alumni and fans of the Pac-12 universities.
- Let’s not get carried away. The Pac-12 has some great educational institutions, but its academic prowess as a group won’t knock anyone’s socks off. And come on: this is all about sports and money.
- The event kicked off with this brand-new, cool-but-super-self-congratulatory video: