Earlier this morning, the Pac-12 officially announced their new television deal with ESPN and Fox as well as the creation of a Pac-12 television network and a Pac-12 Digital Network which includes a promise of "TV Everywhere" which will allow games to be distributed through tablets, cell phones and computers. This new television deal goes into effect with the 2012-2013 academic year.
Below are some highlights of the press release issued by the Pac-12 regarding what will be broadcast and where:
• 44 regular-season football games televised annually on select ESPN and FOX broadcast or national cable networks, including ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, FOX broadcast network and FX.
• 10 regular-season football games per year will be on a combination of the ABC and FOX broadcast networks with full national clearance with a substantial commitment for prime time coverage. 34 regular-season games on national cable networks, FX, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.
•The remaining regular-season football games, an average of approximately three
games per week, will be featured exclusively on the Pac-12 Network
• The Pac-12 Football Championship Game, starting with FOX Sports in 2012 (FOX already has rights to the inaugural 2011 game) and then rotating between FOX Sports and ESPN each year. The game will take place on a Friday night prime time.
• 68 regular-season men's basketball games, appearing on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and Fox Sports Net.
• The balance of regular-season men's basketball games, over 120 each year, will be featured exclusively on either the Pac-12 Network or Pac 12 Digital Network.
• The Pac-12 Digital Networks will feature several hundred other live Pac-12 athletic events on an annual basis, not covered by ESPN, FOX Sports or the Pac-12 Network.
Again, this is a big step up from having football games only available on a regional basis on ABC and with some not even in high-definition. Basketball may be getting the biggest boost in exposure since they league is moving away from the Thursday/Saturday set of games and is now going to have games on any given day of the week. This allows for many more basketball games to be shown on television.
It is interesting to see the Pac-12 will host their football title game on a Friday night in primetime, and it does make some sense since championship weekend will be crowded with four major conferences having a conference title game.
There will be no shortage of ways to watch Pac-12 sporting events for the next 12 years.