The Pac-12 Network finally goes live Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. PT on Time Warner Cable. All subscribers out west will get the national network and one of the six regional networks depending on where they live. Everyone else will receive the national network in a sports tier package. As of today, TWC is the only cable provider that will distribute the channel during its debut – other providers such as AT&T U-Verse, Verizon FIOS, and both satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network, have no agreements yet.
Here’s the long term question for the Pac-12 and the network – can the network find its way to be a distinguished and successful conference network like the FOX and conference-owned Big Ten Network, or will it fall into oblivion like the Longhorn Network?
History of Pac-12 Broadcasting
Previous to the new networks, Pac-12 sports were scattered on various regional sports networks – some games were available on many regional networks as “national” broadcasts presented by Fox Sports Net, other games were picked up by the regional network exclusively. For example, Prime Ticket sometimes picked up UCLA games that weren’t picked up by other networks. FSN was considered the national broadcaster for the conference during football season. ABC usually showed a game each week, and a number of games were sub-licensed to other networks such as TBS, Versus, and later on ESPN and FX.
Pac-12 Broadcasting in 2012
The goal of the Pac-12 was to make more games nationally televised. Many “national” games on regional networks were pushed aside or joined in progress for local professional MLB, NHL, and NBA telecasts. This new TV contract that comes with the Pac-12 Network eliminates all games from the FSN, CSN, and Root Sports regional networks. FOX becomes the new main local network that will broadcast at least eight games; ABC will still broadcast two games (November 3rd’s Oregon vs USC matchup undoubtedly one of them in primetime).
On the cable side, ESPN is contracted with 20 games (across the main network, the deuce, and U) and will likely show a bunch of games in the 7:30 p.m. PT window. FX will show a maximum of 14 games. That means that all the other 35 games will be broadcast on the new Pac-12 Network.