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The Daily Wildcat

 

Pac-12 announces details of TV network

Greg Byrne formally accepted the UA athletic director position on March 24, 2010. Byrne plans to use some of the revenue generated by the Pac-12 Network to improve Arizona?s facilities.
Greg Byrne formally accepted the UA athletic director position on March 24, 2010. Byrne plans to use some of the revenue generated by the Pac-12 Network to improve Arizona?s facilities.

The Pacific 12 Conference will have its own family of television networks beginning in August 2012.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott announced the launch of the networks in a partnership with four of the nation’s largest cable operators — Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks — at the Pac-12’s July 27 media day in New York.

“”This is the start and a critical foundation for us,”” Scott said. “”In addition to the sports, we expect academic programming … it’s just a great platform for our schools from a branding perspective.””

Each of the six pairings of schools in the conference — Northern California, Southern California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and the Mountain regions — will have its own regional network in addition to the national network, totaling seven different branches of the Pac-12 Network.

“”What’s such a perfect match about this is that we’re using the unique architecture of the Pac-12 Conference with our natural rivals,”” Scott said.

The network will also be available on customers’ digital devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

“”This is certainly a monumental step for the Pac-12 Conference,”” Scott said. “”This is really catering to the very tech-savvy audiences that we know want to follow us.””

At least 850 live events will be shown on the family of networks annually, including 350 on the national feed and 500 on the regional feeds. All football and basketball games not carried by national telecast partners, such as ESPN or Fox, will be available live.

All conference championships will also be televised, as well as more than 650 Olympic sporting events. The network will also show each of the conference’s 12 spring football games.

“”This is going to cover so many of our Olympic sports, and give the student-athletes that train and work just as hard as everybody else opportunities to have their skills and abilities highlighted,”” said UA athletic director Greg Byrne.

He added having every football and basketball game, along with other shows centered around Arizona athletics, available nationally is a recruiting tool that will help recruiting efforts both in the Phoenix area and around the U.S.

Byrne said that Arizona programming on the Pac-12 Network will give prospective recruits more of an inside look at the program, which will lead to them feeling more of a connection with the school.

“”I just had a young man in here the other day from the east, and I told his folks that ‘if your son comes to the University of Arizona, you’re going to be able to watch him compete because of what’s going to happen with the Pac-12,'”” Byrne said. “”We want to have the best and brightest from the state of Arizona stay right here and go to Arizona, but the reality is that we have to recruit nationally.””

If no additional carriers of the family of networks emerge, it will reach nearly 40 million cable subscribers. But the possibility remains that satellite providers will reach an agreement with the conference, extending the network’s reach across the country.

Scott said the West Coast is a “”corridor of innovation,”” and each of the cable companies that the conference has partnered with are “”cutting-edge and forward-looking.””

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Byrne said that because of the Pac-12’s recent $2.7 billion contract with ESPN and Fox, the conference has the ability to turn its focus toward long-term earnings.

Byrne said that any earnings from the Pac-12 Network “”won’t be this fiscal year.””

However, Byrne said that an extended revenue model allows schools to put much more thought and planning into any upgrades they might make.

“”In our planning and priorities, we’re looking at it over a 10-to-15-year period,”” Byrne said. “”Obviously we can’t take care of all our facilities with one broad stroke. It’s going to have to be organized and detailed with what our needs are.””

But Byrne said that he has cautioned Arizona’s coaches against getting too excited about an increase in revenue.

“”When you’re dealing with increased costs in room and board, insurance and travel,”” Byrne said, “”that money can disappear quick as can be.””

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