Larry Scott is a college sports pioneer. In less than three years he's upgraded one of the worst TV contracts in the history of major conference sports to one of the best. This is what we all wanted from the beginning from the new leadership: A chance to watch every Pac-12 football and basketball game from everywhere. And it looks like we'll have that opportunity.
Most of the major details are covered in this New York Times article by Richard Sandomir, but here are the bullet points (which will be constantly updating as new details trickle in).
- It will launch approximately a year from now: August 2012. It's a 12 year deal.
- Its flagship will be one national network to be distributed to 40 million homes (out of 110+ mil that own TVs) subscribed to four cable operators (Time Warner, Comcast, Cox, Bright House). If you live outside a Pac-12 market, you will probably have to subscribe to a sports package and pay an extra fee, similar to the Big Ten Network.
- The Pac-12 does not give up equity. They keep all of it. Larry Scott should now be sent to negotiate all future hostage situations, including kidnappings and the debt crisis.
- The Pac-12 claims they're not done yet. There could be more coming down the road, perhaps with regards to digital/online distribution.
- Negotiations with satellite and telephone companies are underway, as well as other smaller cable companies scattered throughout the West Coast. For now you must be within the footprint of 1 of 4 partners to get the network until other carriage deals are reached.
- It's likely that he big Pac-12 games the conference reserved for itself from ESPN/FOX should ensure that demand will be high enough for the majority of cable providers will sign up for the conference, and the national demand could ensure the same from DirectTV and Dish. Just my thoughts on the issue.
- If you are verified with your provider, you should be able to watch it on any platform--TV, Internet, phone, iPad, holodeck...
- Six regional networks: Pac-12 Northern California (the one we're concerned with), Pac-12 Southern California, Pac-12 Washington, Pac-12 Oregon, Pac-12 Arizona, Pac-12 Mountain to be distributed to the various Pac-12 markets.
- The regional networks will carry all the national network programming, which includes the remaining 35 football and 100 men's basketball games not picked up on the ESPN/FOX contract and 40 women's basketball games.
Hence if you live in a Pac-12 market, you should in theory be able to watch any Pac-12 football or men's basketball game. This presumes we don't follow the Big Ten Network model of broadcasting simultaneous sporting events, but I'd guess if Cal is playing at a high level in either sport, our chances of a national telecast would be very high on any given week (compared to now, where they are very, very low).
- At the worst (if we go back to sucking), we will be able to watch all Cal football and basketball games regionally, but I'd say even at the worst, at least 50% of our games will be national telecasts.
- Information relevant to local Cal fans via Jon Wilner: Comcast will carry Pac-12 Network in NorCal/Bay Area on Digital Starter (which is the most basic form of cable that includes ESPN/TNT and various other sports affiliates). Comcast will retain full "TV Everywhere" rights and have video on demand content (not much different from our current arrangement with CSN California).
- There will be 850 sporting events on TV, so the remaining 650 events will be mostly of the Olympic variety. For a school like Cal that has enjoyed great success in Olympic events, this is a positive development.
- 350 events will be nationally televised, which means half of the events will be of the non-revenue variety. The remaining 500 will be televised locally, so I'd estimate an extra 80 Cal Olympic regular season sporting events could be televised (which is a nice upgrade from ZERO).
- At the moment the network does not plan to broadcast high school football games. I'm guessing they'll be watching what the NCAA does with the Longhorn Network, and if it's perceived as permissible the conference will move forward.
- High definition telecasts will be a priority, and I'd presume all the football and basketball telecasts will be in HD.
- All 12 spring football games will be on the Pac-12 Networks. Cal spring football on TV, how sweet it is.
- Journalism schools from the Pac-12 conference members could be involved in broadcast productions. Talk about being proactive and leveraging our strong academic tradition!
- A Spanish-speaking version of the P12 network is possible, especially given the strong LA market.
I'm happy. I feel like I've got swag. Do you got swag?