Sources: Pac-12 Looks To Change Football TV Schedule, Play Fewer Night Games
The Pac-12 is "in discussions with its network partners to change programming practices" and avoid another football season "with an overwhelming number of night games," according to sources cited by Jon Wilner of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Pac-12 officials were "not happy with the ’13 broadcast schedule and are working with their partners to find an acceptable resolution for all parties involved." One source called the conference’s approach “fair but firm.” The Pac-12 "spent three months listening to complaints from fans and school officials," and Commissioner Larry Scott is "keenly aware of the frustration." Wilner noted the launch of FS1 in August was "part of the problem," as games that were on FX in the afternoon in '12 "often became night kickoffs on FS1 in ’13." Fox will "keep putting Pac-12 games on FS1 to generate ratings," but there is "another issue at play in the Pac-12's Night Game Nightmare: The window of exclusivity." Under the terms of the contract, Fox "must show at least eight games on its over-the-air network" and ESPN "must show at least two" on ABC. Those broadcasts "have to be of the game-of-the-week variety and include a window of exclusivity" from 3:30-7:30pm PT. If Fox broadcasts a game at 4:00pm, or if ABC shows a game at 5:00pm, "then no other Pac-12 games can be televised" until 7:30pm, which is a "serious problem for the Pac-12 Networks." If a 3 1/2-hour "chunk of the day -- prime viewing hours -- is off limits 10 times during the season, then the Pac12Nets have limited options: Show games early, or show them late" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 2/10).