Pac-12 Nets Looks To Elevate Rights Value With New Investors
Pac-12 Networks President Mark Shuken said the conference's ultimate objective is to "elevate the value" of its media rights between now and '24 -- when its current deals expire -- which means "identifying as many potential partners as are out there," according to Jon Wilner of the San Jose MERCURY NEWS. Shuken noted Apple just "announced it’s in the business of owning a media service," while Amazon "just hired" programming exec Marie Donoghue from ESPN in August. He said the Pac-12 has "inbound interest from other entities" as potential equity partners. Shuken said some interest "might be just financial and some might be synergistic, but other entities wanting to buy in is a heck of a good sign" for Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott’s initial concept, which is to retain 100% ownership in Pac-12 media rights "because the world’s coming to us." Shuken said future Pac-12 media deals could include "some traditional carrier partners and some non-traditional carrier partners," and he is fascinated by "how the content is ultimately sliced and diced." Shuken also said the Pac-12's timeline with its current deals expiring in '24 is "pretty good," noting there are a "few big things in the media marketplace that will help inform our strategy before we’re up, the NFL rights probably being the most significant" in '22 (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 4/9).
COAST TO COAST: With the ACC Network set to launch in August, Syracuse AD John Wildhack noted carriage deals are already in place with Altice, Verizon and DirecTV, the latter two of which provide a "national footprint." Wildack said, "There’s a number of digital, MVD players, who have signed on as well. That’s important too. You’re seeing more digital players in the marketplace." He noted the "biggest provider" in Upstate New York is Charter/Spectrum, which he said is a "deal that ESPN will negotiate between now and the start of the network." Wildhack: "We’re very hopeful that will be successful. I think it bodes well that (ACC Network) is part of the Altice renewal, the Verizon renewal." He said the ACC Network "will be more than a regional network," as the goal is to be a "nationally-distributed network." Wildhack: "The goal is as broad a distribution as possible. The concentration is certainly within the ACC footprint. I’m optimistic. There’s a lot of work to be done and these negotiations are incredibly complicated" (SYRACUSE.com, 4/8).