In L.A., Thuc Nhi Nguyen writes the Pac-12 Networks' TV strategy has been "mercilessly criticized from a football standpoint as viewership lags behind the other major conferences and revenue is down," but at the same time, women's basketball "credits the same network for its growth." Five of the conference's women's basketball coaches agreed that the Pac-12 Networks is a "powerful recruiting tool, especially on the national stage." Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said, "Honestly, there's a high correlation between Pac-12 Networks, the TV station, and the respect that the conference has been getting" (L.A. TIMES, 1/17).
FACEBOOK WATCH THIS: VARIETY's Todd Spangler reports UFC has "upped its investment in original content for Facebook." Under a new one-year deal, UFC is "producing three original shows for Facebook Watch." All of the content will be "tied to 20 UFC events over the next year and available for free at UFC's Facebook page." The content starts "rolling out this week ahead of UFC 246 on Saturday." One of the new original shows, "Quick Hits," is a "live-streaming interview show hosted by Laura Sanko from the arena during the preliminary fights." Another, "The Check-In Show," is an "on-demand series with athletes or personalities about the upcoming weekend's event." Finally, "Fighter Commentary" will show UFC athletes "providing commentary on their past fights" (VARIETY.com, 1/17).
SUPER BOWL PLANS: THE ATHLETIC's Joseph Person cited a source as saying that Panthers TE Greg Olsen is "set to work" with Fox during the Super Bowl week in Miami, as well as its "pre-game show." The source said that Olsen then will "serve as a color analyst for five XFL games as part of Fox's coverage of the upstart league." Person noted Olsen has also been "offered full-time broadcast opportunities with multiple networks, a no-brainer given the rave reviews he received from his work in the booth during the Panthers' bye week in October." However, those talks are "on hold while Olsen figures out whether he's going to be calling games or playing in them this year" (THEATHLETIC.com, 1/15).