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Pac-12 Basketball Media Deal: TV Rights Split Between ESPN & Fox Sports Net

Obviously, when it came to negotiating the new Pac-12 TV contract, the primary impetus was going to be on the new football rights. And they seemed to do very well--more nationally televised games on ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU, ABC, FOX, and FX, plus the potential of a Pac-12 network covering up all avenues to distribute all the games and make sure they're all televised in some capacity somewhere.

But what about college basketball? Well, the changes are even more drastic. (HT mattsarz)

  • Originally zero games were guaranteed for ESPN under the old Pac-10 contracts. That'll be upgraded to an incredible 46, with perhaps up to 28 on ESPNU. ESPNU isn't as well-established and might mean Pac-12 fans have to upgrade their cable/satellite packages, but it does promise more national coverage as opposed to FSN regional telecasts.
  • Fox Sports Net will see its allottment of games halved. I would guess there would be a focus on more national games and less regional telecasts.
  • The Thursday/Saturday schedule is going to be expanded to more of a Wednesday/Thursday/Saturday/Sunday schedule. That'll ensure more available national TV slots.
  • The Pac-12 Tournament will be split up, with ESPNESPN2 airing one half of the bracket, FOX/FX the other half, and the two networks alternating the final on a yearly basis.
  • The Pac-12 TV and digital network will be broadcasting the remaining games. All of them!

While the contract isn't as freakishly awesome as the Pac-12 football TV deal, it's pretty close. Every game being broadcast, with at least half the games gaining a national audience is a big step up from the archaic way FSN handles their business. Pac-12 basketball will finally have a place of its own.