In an innovative arrangement providing unprecedented exposure for its athletic and academic programs, the Pac-12 Conference announced today the creation of Pac-12 Networks, which will include a national network and six regional networks, in conjunction with four of the nation’s largest cable operators: Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks.
University of Utah officials enthusiastically embraced the news delivered by Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott during the Pac-12 Bicoastal Media Tour.
“This is an incredible opportunity for the Pac-12 institutions to promote not only their outstanding athletic programs, but their equally impressive academic departments,” said Interim President Dr. Lorris Betz. “The Pac-12 Network will initially be available in millions of homes and the deal was constructed to allow for continued and rapid growth nationwide. Commissioner Larry Scott did an outstanding job and has moved forward with the support of the Pac-12 presidents.”
“We are excited about what this will mean for all of our men’s and women’s teams and to our fans around the country,” said Utah Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill. “With its innovative approach, the Pac-12 Network has the potential to reach a huge market and ensures that all of our football and men’s basketball games will be televised nationally. I am equally as excited for the opportunities the Pac-12 Network will provide for our other sports, which will receive an unprecedented amount of television exposure. The scope of this television deal shows the immense power and prestige of the Pac-12 Conference and its popularity across the country. We have long felt that our sports programs at the University of Utah were well deserving of national exposure and I’m pleased to say it is now a reality,” added Hill.
In addition to broadly distributing the Pac-12 Networks, the four cable operators are utilizing iN DEMAND to provide certain production and operations services to the Pac-12 Networks, which will continue to be wholly owned by the Pac-12 Conference.
The deal complements a major national broadcast and cable agreement announced in May. At that time, the Conference announced the creation of Pac-12 Media Enterprises, the first step in creating the TV networks announced today. Pac-12 Media Enterprises is also expected to eventually announce distribution arrangements covering satellite and telco transmission.
The transformative arrangement, set to begin in August 2012, marks the first time a U.S. collegiate conference or any other programmer has launched a collection of networks across a variety of platforms rather than a sole network. 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.”
Six regional networks will be established in Northern California, Southern California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and the Mountain regions.
Expressing his excitement with the new agreement, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said, “As we explored the potential for a Pac-12 network, it became clear that we could customize programming towards local interests and provide our students, alumni, and many fans the widest possible range of events with the best opportunity to see the schools they care about most.”
Under the agreement announced today, Pac-12 Networks eventually will telecast a total of 850 live events annually – 350 on the national feed and 500 on the regional feeds — including every football and men’s basketball game that isn’t carried by national telecast partners. Additional events will include spring football, and every sport played by Pac-12 programs, including all conference championships. Pac-12 also will be working to launch additional content on broadband.
The agreement will provide unprecedented exposure for women’s sports, as well as exposure for both men’s and women’s programs that have been traditionally underserved on television. This includes extensive coverage of Pac 12 athletes in Olympic sports, where the Pac-12 has had more success than any other U.S. conference. Over 200 Pac-12 athletes competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and if the Pac-12 were its own country it would have finished sixth in the total medal count.
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.
Through this agreement Pac-12 Networks will be available nationwide to almost 40 million cable customers. Within the Pac-12 Conference’s six-state footprint, Pac-12 Networks will be broadly distributed and available to Pac-12’s far-flung alumni and fans across the country.
Terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.
For more details and information on the four cable companies involved in the new deal, please see http://www.pac-12.org.