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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

August 10, 2012 at 12:22 PM

More on the Pac-12 Networks Wednesday launch

When you click on the Pac-12 Networks for its maiden voyage Wednesday evening (provided your cable company has hooked up with the conference, that is), you’ll see a studio show called Pac-12 Live.

That will feature host Ashley Adamson and former Pac-12 players Ronnie Lott, Glenn Parker, Coy Wire and ex-coach Rick Neuheisel, assessing the 2012 season.

Summer Sanders will review some of the Pac-12’s best performances at the London Olympics, and there will be a primer on the basics of the Networks and the league’s TV Everywhere concept. At 7 p.m., an hour after the launch, there will be a show previewing the football season, and after that, a re-run of the Oregon-UCLA league-title game from 2011 (in case you simply can’t get enough of that).

The details emerged from a Friday-morning conference call with Gary Stevenson, president of Pac-12 Enterprises.

“Excitement is at a peak level,” Stevenson said of the Networks launch. “It’s like a bunch of horses that want to get in the gate and start running.”

And no, nothing yet on any developments with two big carriers, DirecTV and Dish Network. I asked Stevenson if the distribution could be considered a success without one or the other.


“We’re perfectionists,” Stevenson said. “We’d like to have every distributor out there and that’s our goal. But if you take a look at our distribution (Stevenson says it’s currently available to 48 million homes, or 45-48 percent of the U.S. market) at launch, compared to just about every other (network) in history, that distribution, with three of the top five cable operators in the country, is terrific.
“One thing is indisputable. We haven’t heard from anybody that fans don’t want this content. At the end of the day, consumers get what they want in television, and we believe we have what they want. And quite frankly, the distributors agree with us.”
Stevenson conceded he didn’t expect everything to be settled for Wednesday’s launch, but “I do believe as we talk about content, that our fans who are customers of those distributors will get what they want.”
Other highlights from the Stevenson call:
— If you’re trying to find a locator to direct you to the specific channel which will carry the Networks on your system, it may not yet show up on the Pac-12 website (Pac-12.org, going to Pac-12.com at noon Wednesday), because they’re coming in to the league randomly. He says that “Monday or Tuesday,” those should be loaded in more complete form on the site.
— First live event will be the Stanford-Santa Clara women’s soccer game next Friday.
— Stevenson wouldn’t discuss the range of subscription fees assessed by cable operators.
— He reaffirmed that within the league footprint, cities in or very close to Pac-12 campuses would get the Networks on basic cable. For those, say, in Sacramento, it comes via digital basic (at a higher cost).
— Stevenson again boasted of the quality of the football programming, saying the Networks had first or second choice in the “draft” with Pac-12 partners ESPN and Fox in seven of the 13 weeks of regular-season football. Included are early games like Fresno State-Oregon, Oklahoma State-Arizona, Houston-UCLA and Cal-USC.
— There will be one national network and six regionals, and Stevenson said he didn’t think every carrier within the league footprint would carry the national on either a basic or sports tier. Some, he says, will opt to carry only the regional network, which will include all the live events shown on the national offering, plus 45-50 of each of the two schools (like Washington and Washington State) paired with each regional network.

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