SBD/April 11, 2014/Media

Pac-12 Could See More Regional FB Games On Its Networks As It Cuts Night Contests

Thirty-three Pac-12 games began at 7:00pm PT or later so they could air nationally
The Pac-12 is "moving toward a reduction in night football games next season," but that could "come at a cost: More regional telecasts on the Pac-12 Networks, which potentially could limit availability to viewers throughout the league," according to Jon Wilner of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. The conference and its schools "weren't happy with the number of night games last season," with 33 contests beginning at 7:00pm PT or later so they could air on ESPN, FS1 and Pac-12 Net. In a "show of good faith, ESPN and Fox agreed to eliminate the window of exclusivity" and cap the number of night games at a "slightly higher total than they showed in '13." However, the Pac-12 would have had to cut the "minimum number of national telecasts." The conference turned down that offer, with sources saying that removing the exclusive window "would not reduce the net total of night games." The sources added that Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott was under "significant pressure from Pac-12 presidents/chancellors to reduce the total." Wilner wrote walking away from the proposed deal created a situation for the conference "in which the number of night games could rise in coming years." But sources said that the Pac-12 is considering an alternative way to cut night games by moving an "undetermined number of games" that would have been on the Pac-12 Networks at 7:00pm or 7:30pm "to the early-afternoon windows." The "only way to make it work" without violating the exclusivity clause is to "create regional broadcasts" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 4/10).
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