Any Pac-10 football fan under Tom Hansen knew one big thing about our TV deals. They sucked. They sucked hard.
A number of games were not televised excepted on the premier cable channels that even sports bars would have trouble finding (in 2000 that arrangement might have been acceptable; in 2010 is untolerable). We had a handful of ABC primetime telecasts (most of them relegated to regional West Coast coverage while a Big Ten/Big 12 game took up the majority of markets), we had some games on Versus (perhaps the network LEAST equipped to cover college football, ever), and (worst of all) we had the majority of our games distributed with Fox Sports Net. Unless you were the USC Trojans, you were guaranteed to have a good chunk of your games being broadcast only in your regional area, while alumni scattered elsewhere throughout the nation would have to fend for highlights and replays.
Well, commissioner Larry Scott is doing the best he can with the TV contract he has, and he again is making a proactive move to improve the national visibility of the conference. Variety with the report.
Under the moniker "Fox Sports on FX,'' a minimum of 13 games will come from the newly named Pac-12, plus the Big 12 and Conference USA. Fox Sports, which will produce the contests, already has deals with those conferences and will be sharing the games with its corporate sibling.Games will air Saturdays, both during the day and in primetime.
In terms of a flagship cable network to cover a college football conference, FX is far superior to Fox Sports Net. Its subscriber base is wider, and its nationwide distribution is pretty much on par with the rest of the major sports networks. If you can't get ESPN (which is tied up heavily in the SEC, Big Ten, ACC, & Big East), FX is a solid second place location. Additionally, this could improve the potential for the remaining broadcasts on Fox Sports Net to get picked up nationally, and ensure maximum visibility for the majority of the conference games.
In any case, this provides a good step in the right direction for better national television distribution for Pac-12 football. Last year, Scott experimented with putting multiple games on the ESPN contract from ABC regional broadcasts to ESPN national telecasts; even though the start times were at absurdly late hours, they did ensure more eyeballs could tune into watch the best that West Coast football had to offer.
But having these games on during the primetime and afternoon slots will trump even the exposure the conference can get with the Worldwide Leader. Bravo Commish. The next step will be to get the best deal for the TV rights for the new conference after the current one expires in 2011-12, and perhaps FX's role might be expanded even further ...