SBD/August 16, 2012/Media

Pac-12 Networks' Debut Gets High Marks For Professional Look

The Pac-12 Networks' launch last night “looked better than The Mtn. looked on Day 2,100,” according to Scott Pierce of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. The Pac-12 Nets' studios “aren’t built out of cardboard” and neither “are its studio hosts.” The shows, the graphics, the highlights packages, the football preview show “all had the sheen of a professional production.” Pierce: “The Mtn., this isn’t.” Pac-12 Networks' viewers “got an HD signal from the get-go, not years later.” Yesterday’s launch was “chock full of bragging about the ‘conference of champions,’” but “what else were you expecting from the Pac-12 Networks?” There was “lots of talk about the online elements -- dubbed TV Everywhere” but there was “no talk about the lack of a deal with either DirecTV or Dish Network” (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 8/16). In Arizona, Patrick Finley noted the Cox Communications HD feed in Tucson “did not air the first minutes of ‘Pac-12 Live,’ though the standard-definition feed did.” The hi-def feed “was activated around 9 p.m.” (AZSTARNET.com, 8/15). The nets yesterday also “named Jeremy Bloom their latest football analyst” (AZSTARNET.com, 8/15).

GREAT SCOTT: Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said of launching the Pac-12 Networks, “A lot of change went into putting us in a position to get that major deal with ESPN and Fox to be able to launch your own TV network. … A lot went on behind-the-scenes before we were in a position to optimize our media rights value. Down the road, people will look back and see our ability to launch her own TV networks as the real dramatic game changer. From day one, we’re going to have full national cable distribution … and have enough subscriber fees to completely fund it ourselves and to own it completely ourselves. Pretty unusual.” The net “will pay for itself without touching the ESPN/Fox money that’s going to the schools. We did not have to take an equity partner.” The “equal revenue sharing” among the schools “is so important from my perspective in that the hallmark of any successful conference or league is strength and competitive equity from top to bottom” (“Sportfolio,” Bloomberg TV, 8/15).

SOLID START
: SB NATION’s Avinash Kunnath wrote, “All in all, this was a solid debut for a conference network that's just beginning to find its footing; it showcased the best of the Olympics and gave us a glimpse of the football that's on its way.” The early signs are that “the programming is definitely giving the conference the type of early look they've long deserved” (SBNATION.com, 8/16). CBSSPORTS.com’s Dennis Dodd wrote when the Pac-12 Networks debuted in San Diego yesterday, there “were more subscribers in that market to the Big Ten Network.” This is “not to disparage the Pac-12 Network or elevate the Big Ten Network,” rather it is “a call for calm.” The Pac-12's network launched “like a digital hydra.” There are “seven of them bound for glory and riches, the Pac-12 believes. A source said that the net “projected an eventual subscriber base of 15 million to 18 million, about a third of the Big Ten Network.” Dodd: “What’s the number, today, at launch? Maybe 10 million” (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/15).

TWITTER REAX: On Twitter, numerous fans and viewers posted tweets requesting that their TV providers carry Pac-12 Networks, and some even received responses. Cal women's basketball assistant coach Kai Felton: "Okay @directv if you don't pick up #Pac12Networks I'm going w Comcast. Hurry up already! You've only got until 9/1! #IWantMyPac12Networks." Univ. of Arizona Public Affairs Manager Sara Hammond: "Hey @Dish - Pac12 Networks launched tonight. Where ARE you?" Official Dish Network customer support Twitter feed: "@ArizonaWildcat We do not have any information on the Pac 12 Networks at this time. We have added a request for you!"
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