Once again, you must credit Pac-12 Conference Commissioner Larry Scott for thinking outside the box. Instead of signing one company to run a Pac-12 Network, Scott gets four companies on board to create six regional sports networks that will offered inside the conference and a national network to be offered outside the league’s West Coast footprint. We’re talking Bright House, Comcast, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable. For now, I’ll post the press release. Later, we’ll analyze what this all means.
PAC-12 CONFERENCE ANNOUNCES FORMATION OF PAC-12 NETWORKS IN HISTORIC JOINT DEAL WITH COMCAST,TIME WARNER CABLE, COX COMMUNICATIONS AND BRIGHT HOUSE NETWORKS
Deal to bring 850 Pac-12 events annually to almost 40 million cable TV households nationwide
Agreement also includes six regional networks across Pac-12 footprint
NEW YORK –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.
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.
This 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. And 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.”
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.”
Scott praised Melinda Witmer as Chairman of iN DEMAND for bringing iN DEMAND and its potential to the discussions. “This is an example of how innovative organizations can collaborate to create something that is entirely original and that willserve the college sports fan better than anything that has existed before,” he said. “We look forward to taking advantage of our cable partners’ vast production, marketing and advertising resources to serve our fans both through the regional networks and the national network.”
Ms. Witmer, who is also Executive Vice President and Chief Video and Content Officer for Time Warner Cable, said: “iN DEMAND is proud to be part of this groundbreaking plan to bring millions of Pac-12 fans a unique blend of national and regional programming. This innovative deal demonstrates the strengths of the cable platform, and the unique ability we have to provide deep local, regional and national programming on multiple platforms and multiple devices – giving our customers the ability to watch their favorite teams anywhere. We are pleased to be associated with these leading universities, and look forward to working with them and the Conference to make this innovative arrangement a success.”
The six regional networks will be established in Northern California, Southern California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Mountain regions.
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 that are being announced today. Pac-12 Media Enterprises is also expected to eventually announce distribution arrangements covering satellite and telco transmission.
Regional and National Network Programming
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 game and every 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.
More on this later and this will be discussed on the Sports Media Weekly podcast which will be recorded tonight.