So, about the Pac-12 Network, and its postseason hoops coverage …

In response to tweets like these we’ve come across this week, as the Pac-12 Conference men’s tournament begins Wednesday in Las Vegas, with eight of the 11 games on the Pac-12 Network:

Agree to agree: The Pac-12 would gain far more viewership if it sold off its marquee events — here, the tournament — to media partners Fox, FS1 (even FS2) and any of the ESPN channels. But the possession arrow points in its favor.
The network that has about 12 million subscribers also has to protects its valuables — and be confident that it has the distribution, talent and facilities to do network-quality coverage.
Because it does.
For the first three years, we missed all these games. We switched from DirecTV to Time Warner Cable (gulp) in April, 2015 to make sure it didn’t happen again (as well as securing the SportsNet L.A. option).
Fool us three times, it’s on us for Year 4.
For those who have no such options, that’s the real Catch-and-Shoot 22. No argument.


Pac-12_NetworkTo make things even a bit more confusing this time around, the Pac-12 has changed its targeting on how it distributes programming on its main network with its six regional channels. This “shift,” as they call it, started six months ago but it’s more dramatic now.
The key has been trying to get cable operators, and DirecTV, to simply add the Pac-12 Network national channel to basic service tiers — for no additional fee.
The response has been stiflingly slow to non-existent.
The L.A. market, especially, gets burned by this arrangement since, according to Pac-12 data, more alums from 12 conference schools live in this TV market than any other in their reach.
The Pac-12 Network national channel is now showcasing games of national interest; the regionals are dedicated to games that involve the teams of local appeal.
A USC or UCLA game goes on Pac-12 L.A. as well as Pac-12 national.
A Stanford-Washington game would go on Pac-12 Bay Area, Pac-12 Washington and, most likely, the Pac-12 national.
The reason the Pac-12 Network can now do this easier than when it first started was because of its accumulation of programming.
As distribution now is no better off than when Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott stated last September that the AT&T-DirecTV merger might make things better, Pac-12 Net president Lydia Murphy-Stephans tried to clarify some of the distribution strategy in an email exchange:
Q: Is there added confusion that can easily be resolved in how the Pac-12 Net wants to air games and get the message out to viewers?
18444954-standardA: 
It is important for the fans to know where to find their games, and with that in mind, we started working with our providers more than six months ago and recommended that they offer Pac-12 Network in all of their markets across the country in HD. The optimal model would be for Pac-12 Network to be offered side-by-side with the relevant Pac-12 regional network, the same way ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU are all offered. That would simplify things and give the fans access to all events.
Q: Can you explain why there might be resistance to adding the Pac-12 national network to cable systems or DirecTV?
A:
Each provider is different and has different wants/needs. Pac-12 Networks produces 850 live events each academic year and has more NCAA championships than any other conference. Our content is rich and we deliver compelling programming. We currently have 76 providers and some are already offering Pac-12 Network. We are hopeful all of them will do the same and give their customers the experience of watching all 12 schools compete in 26 sports.  However, we all know that providers often move slower than sports fans would like them to move. Therefore, if a fan is not getting the Pac-12 Network they want, we are encouraging them to contact their provider to request it.
Q: Is it disappointing that many in Southern California still don’t have access to any Pac-12 Net as the men’s conference basketball tournament begins – especially with USC and UCLA playing each other Wednesday?
A :
It is disappointing and I feel bad for the fans who do not have access to Pac-12 Network. We have been working with all of our providers for more than six months to get them to exchange the Pac-12 regional network with the Pac-12 national network so fans have access to all football games and the full championship events like the men’s basketball tournament this week.  It has been a remarkable basketball season in the Pac-12 and this promises to be a highly competitive tournament, as always. Pac-12 Network will have eight of the 11 games and we want nothing more than to have our fans see every one of them, but it is up to the providers to make it available to them.

So, for those who are still on the same page, Wednesday’s four games of the Pac-12 Conference men’s tournament havee Kevin Calabro, Don MacLean and Jill Savage on Washington-Stanford (noon) and Washington State-Colorado (2:30 p.m.) then Ted Robinson, Bill Walton and Lewis Johnson on USC-UCLA (6 p.m.) and Oregon State-Arizona State (8:30 p.m.).
Thursday, the Robinson-Walton-Johnson team have the USC-UCLA winner against Utah in the quarterfinals (6 p.m.).
Fox Sports 1 comes in with an 8:30 p.m. quarterfinal game between Cal and the ASU-OSU winner (with new Dodgers play-by-play man Joe Davis and Sean Elliott).
In Friday’s semifinals, Robinson-Walton-Johnson have one of the games at 6 p.m., with the other going to Fox Sports 1 (Davis-Elliott).
FS1 then does the title game Saturday at 7 p.m. (with Davis-Elliott).
You do know where to find FS1, right?

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  • pat schmidlin

    well i see the pac-12 network president is about as worthless as larry scott is. i am sick and tired of hearing “call your provider and demand the pac-12 network”. i am not switching from direct tv for one channel! larry scott needs to realize that the market will dictate it. he expects everyone to carry it on their basic packages, but obviously that doesn’t happen. he has been an absolute joke for a commissioner and all the money he has promised these school no one has seen! fire him now!