The big deal regarding the new Pac-12 football deal (running from 2012 to 2023) involves the return of ESPN as a major player in West Coast college sports. Many fans on the West Coast have griped about the lack of good access to their TV networks with Fox Sports as the primary distributor. That'll no longer be a problem with ESPN providing many national telecasts of their conference's games.
Here are the important details, courtesy of ESPN Media Zone.
- 24 football games will be televised on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, & ESPNU, i.e. the ESPN Family of Networks.
- The Pac-12 Football Conference Championship Game will be broadcast on an ESPN network channel in odd years (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021, 2023). The game will be on a Friday night.
- ABC will have two games, most likely on Saturday Night Football. This means the likely death of the Pac-12 afternoon regional game on ABC, which was generally only broadcasted to West Coast audiences.
- The Pac-12 will have eight Thursday/Friday night games, putting them right with the ACC, Big East and Big 12 for having their own exclusive nationally televised slots on weekday nights.
- ESPN/ESPN2 will carry additional Pac-12 football games, most likely in the late 10:30 PM ET/7:30 PM PT slot.
- The rest of the games will be televised on the FOX networks (click here for details) and the Pac-12 TV network (click here for details).
All in all, not a bad haul. Lots of nationally televised games, plus a lot more access to the online ESPN3 service that distributes games digitally (depending on your cable subscriber) and ESPN mobile that should broadcast games to your cell phone. This is quite a forward-thinking TV contract.
Pac-12 fans, what's your reaction to the new TV contract on ESPN. Do you love it? Like it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments!