Larry Scott spent his summer making sure your future Falls, Winters, and Springs were chock full of Pac-12 sports.
Now, this isn’t news but it’s undoubtedly worthy of a reminder, especially as we roll out of the OOC schedule and into Pac-12 play. You see, I live in San Francisco and have not had television access to three of Cal’s ten games and two of Stanford’s nine. Additionally I couldn’t watch an Arizona football game while home for Thanksgiving. These anecdotes also don’t account for games that are aired on obscure networks like MountainWest Sports and Root Sports.
When the Pac-12 Network debuts – August 2012 – fans of the Conference of Champions will have unprecedented access to their favorite teams. By unprecedented, I mean every football and men’s basketball game will be aired. Nationally.
Pause. Let that sink in for a second. Get excited.
Guaranteed 330 games broadcast across four providers (Time Warner Cable, Cox, Bright House, and Comcast). The math puts that at 45 million households or roughly the population of Ukraine. There are continued negotiations with the satellite providers and subsequently more households.
There will be six regional networks – Pac-12 Wash, Ore, NoCal, SoCal, AZ, and Mtn – meant to deliver content specific to those teams. Example: Pac-12 classics. Arizona is heading to Seattle this weekend to battle Gonzaga. What’s that I see on P12-AZ? Oh, it’s a replay of the 2003 Second Round, NCAA double-OT thriller featuring Arizona and Gonzaga. Can you say Friday nights on the couch?
No matter whether you’re in Gainesville, Columbus or Austin you’re going to see every single game that you want to. If you want to watch Utah-Idaho State (this Friday’s match-up), you can! If you want to watch Cal-Presbyterian (a non-broadcast football game), you can! You’ll also get to watch 40 women’s hoops games and select Olympic sports. Pac-on.
Then there’s the monetary aspect. The contract is a $3 billion deal spanning twelve years. Some elementary division shows us that’s at a little more than $20M per school, per year. In layman’s terms: lots.
(Everything you want to know about the deal can be found here. Jon Wilner at Mercury News owns it)
And if you don’t think that’s significant, already without a single television dollar collected, Washington State shelled out 214% more money to new head football coach Mike Leach than newly ousted head coach, Paul Wulf ($11M vs. $3.5M). For a little more perspective, the new deal will pay each school about 285% more annually ($20.8M vs. $5.4M).
Of course these figures are big picture. Finitely, there will be buildup to the large sums with the bulk of the payout on the back end of the 12 year deal. Semantics.
What I’m getting at is, unlike a Ben Howland suspension, the Larry Scott deals will be impactful. From the way your school spends to the games you’ll get to watch, your Pac-12 life is about to drastically change.
The intangible benefit of the increased revenues and national exposure is what this will do to the talent levels secured by Pac-12 schools. Is it any coincidence that the SEC has the best football programs (or at least reputations) while simultaneously holding the richest television contracts? The ACC and hoops? Expect the Pac-12 to shake the low talent stigma and reality, a slight erosion of East Coast Bias (especially if Scott can secure web-based broadcasting like espn3), and a few more trophies on the West Coast.
Increased money, increased eyeballs, increased everything.
And if that’s not enough for you, after recently being let go by CBS, Gus Johnson has joined Fox and subsequently will call Pac-12 football and basketball games. You’ll recall that he did a helluva job with last year’s Pac-10 Championship basketball game (COLD BLOODED) and if you watched this year’s Pac-12 Championship football game, you know he can make anything exciting.
Now, if you can’t get behind the dollars, the air time, and Gus, well then, you’re not a fan, have no business watching even the Olympic sports, should probably find a new hobby, and not call me up.
I’ll be busy watching the game.