Larry Scott, Pac-12 Net waits its turn to get on the AT&T/DirecTV merged radar

For the last three summers, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has had to stick to the mantra that a wider distribution deal for the conference-owned networks was just on the horizon.

After the government approved the merger of AT&T with DirecTV last week, Scott’s game plan can take a more of a vertical approach.

“They’re delighted with it, and obviously, they’ve now got to digest a $49 billion dollar acquisition, but I’m confident we’ll be a priority, and there will be discussions that take place hopefully very soon,” Scott told reporters at the conference’s annual media day at the Warner Bros. studios in Burbank this morning. “I’m optimistic that we’ll have positive conversations.”

(Scott’s response to the question comes at the 20 minute mark in the video above)

DirecTV has been the biggest-name TV provider to hold out since the network launched in 2012, citing a business strategy that intends to back away from the rising costs of sports-related networks. It is the reason that the company continues to resist carrying the Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. channel as well.

Pac-12 negotiations with DirecTV became even more strained the satellite dish service’s primary competitor, Dish Network, was given the title of “official dish provider” of the conference. Dish was among the first to come on board with the Pac-12 Network when it launched, along with Time Warner Cable and Comcast.

AT&T Uverse is also one of the major providers of the Pac-12 Network, and Scott said there are more than 70 agreements with individual distributors for the national and regional networks.

Verizon FIOS and Charter are with DirecTV currently holding out.

If Scott gets a chance to restart negotiations with AT&T on behalf of DirecTV service, it should have something of a domino effect in getting others on board, perhaps prior to the September college football launch.

“I can’t sit here and predict what may happen when, because those conversations have not been able to take place heretofore,” he said. “But I’m delighted for our partners, delighted for us.”

One of the latest reports estimating the cost of sports networks has the Pac-12, in only some 12 million-plus homes to date, asking for 39 cents per subscriber, the same as the Big Ten Network and half of what the SEC Network has been charging. That 39 cent figure is more in the ballpark of Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network.

Should a Pac-12 distribution deal get done to put the network in the 20 million homes of DirecTV, which also has the Big Ten Network, might it undercut the monthly rate per customer that other companies are paying? Scott said he is not concerned how the business end will work out for everyone.

“I certainly don’t anticipate a change in our existing relationships,” he said. “Our distribution is (already) terrific and well established and we are happy with it. I can’t speculate on how conversations will go with AT&T but I expect them to come soon and I expect them to be positive. But aside from that I really can’t hypothesize.”

== Our story on the Pac-12 Network distribution from the eyes of Pac-12 Networks president Lydia Murphy-Stephans
== The Pac-12 Network plight as it stood in 2013
== Could the Pac-12 Network sell equity shares in its business to help raise more money for its partners?
== How Colorado fans are as much wondering about the future of the conference distribution as L.A. might be.

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Weekly media notes version 07.30.15 — Buying into some summer reading before sand, sunscreen ruin the book’s return-policy conditions

KPCC's John Rable snapped this photo of author Molly Knight as he interviewed her during a Dodger Stadium sit-down.

This doesn’t count as a selfie, but it may as well be: KPCC’s John Rabe snapped this photo of author Molly Knight as he probed her during a Dodger Stadium sit-down for “Off Ramp.

What’s on the front burner for Sunday’s column:

Where can you get flossing and a floor show in the same visit? This La Habra dentist may have the one-stop answer for you Friday morn.
Molly Knight impressive meet-and-greet tour has already landed oodles of interviews and personal appearances to promote her new book, “The Best Team Money Can Buy: The Los Angeles Dodgers Wild Struggle to Build a Baseball Powerhouse.” So why not add a dentist chair?
There’s no shortage of money-clip marketing done here.
Like here. And here. And here. And here, and here and here. Also, here, here, here and here.

Wait, there may be some replication there. But here’s a “fake” one that seems real. This is very real. As is this. And this.  And one more. Also this. Also, here. Don’t want overlook this. And this one. For sure, this one. And one more.
Hold it, that last one is just a link to a piece about the author’s late-night chatting on Twitter with the Dodgers’ Brandon McCarthy. 419lq2q72qL
Friday, aside from the dentist, she’s also doing the Rich Eisen show.
So, does all the pub match the content that has made it an favorite in the clumsy “Sports and Outdoors” category? The author’s website may not agree. Especially with all these blue-highlighted hyperlinks.
(But, really, in this piece, why did she have to tell everyone the Scott Avenue entrance to Dodger Stadium was open now. Can we keep that secret? Just for that, we’ll reveal that Knight has apparently sold her life rights in a screenplay about how she and a friend went on a 24-state “dating” road trip to try to find Mr. Right. What every serious sports journalist should do).
We’ll get into “Money” as well as more summer sports reading material that we’ve been harboring for some time.
Meanwhile, where can you find some good baseball reading material when you’re not looking for it? We found a lot of it recently in comedian Greg Proops’ book, “The Smartest Book in the World.” Ron Kaplan of found more here.

What’s worth mentioning here, now and later:

== You may have noticed Steve Mason and John Ireland in the 7-to-10 a.m. national ESPN Radio spot this week — also simulcasting on ESPNU — instead of their usual noon-to-3 slot for KSPN-AM (710). Next week, Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley will be abandoning their 4-to-7 slot at KSPN and doing the same national 7-to-10 a.m. earlier call to work.
In the wake of Colin Cowherd’s dumbfounding departure from the network, would it be connecting dots that either Mason-Ireland or Kellerman-Wiley are on the short list to become the “next” thing on a regular basis, or this just filling in a temporary gap?
“As for one of our local shows being in that time slot, I don’t know,” said KSPN program director Mike Thompson. “I think they have earned the right based on ratings and performance at least to be asked.”
There is no tangible timetable out there as to when ESPN Radio will officially name a successor to Cowherd, but with the NFL season inching closer, the sooner appears to be a better business move than the better.
During the week of Aug. 10-17, ESPN Radio will use Michelle Beadle with ESPN LA’s Ben Lyons, who is also a correspondent with the Derek Jeter Players Tribune. From Aug. 24-28, the spot will be filled by ESPN Chicago’s Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman.
And all of that, some guess, is so ESPN has a backup plan in case Dan LeBatard finds it highly questionable for him to move his agenda around to take it. LeBatard’s current ESPN Radio program can be heard on the Angels’ KLAA-AM (830) from 1-3 p.m.
“ESPN Radio has an extensive pool of talent from our national network, local stations and ESPN television,” said David Roberts, the network’s VP of network audio content.  “We’re excited to take advantage of this opportunity to give national radio exposure to our local hosts.” And then there’s the ever-pliable Larry Burnett, whose media career has taken him from Bristol, Conn., for ESPN “SportsCenter” to L.A. for the old Prime Ticket “Press Box” with stops along the way doing play-by-play for the WNBA Sparks and Lakers’ D-League.
We recommend finding him on a new sports-talk show that he’s joining on San Bernardino-based KCAA-AM (1050) that debuts Friday at 6 p.m. with Lakers coach Byron Scott as one of the guests.
The hour-long “Open Season” show will have Burnett teamed up with L.A. sports-talk legend Fred Wallin and Mark Mancini as a weekly edition in hopes of picking up momentum — and sponsors — moving forward.
“We are at a stage in our careers where we are not really beholden to anyone, so we can probably say some things that others aren’t, put a different twist on different stories, and make it a great hour of radio,” said Burnett, who’ll work out of the company’s Burbank studios.
Burnett made a connection with the station through morning show host Gary Garver and started doing sports updates for him. The station that’s best heard during the day with a reach from Lancaster to Palm Spring has a lineup that includes Art Bell, Richard Trenton (aka, “The Poorman”) and Don Imus.
It’s probably best to access it online at Continue reading

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Play It Forward July 27-Aug. 2: The trade off before the Dodgers-Angels series is a looming deadline

Cole Hamels, who threw a no-hitter in his last outing at Chicago, could be in a Dodgers' uniform by this weekend against the Angels.

Cole Hamels, who threw a no-hitter in his last outing at Chicago, could be in a Dodgers’ uniform by this weekend against the Angels.

Details/TV: At Dodger Stadium, Friday-Sunday, SportsNet LA, Fox Sports West, FS1:
By the time this first meeting of Los Angeles vs. Los Angeles takes place on Friday evening, the MLB non-waiver trade deadline will have come and gone hours earlier in the day. There’s a chance that the Dodgers and Angels may have done most of the roster refreshing they anticipated in the days leading up to this weekend leadership retreat – unless the plan includes going all the way up until late August to really pull the trigger on a trade (re: 2012). Could no-hit man Cole Hamels’ next start be with the Phillies on Thursday at home, or on Saturday for the Dodgers? Will David Price throw for Detroit on Tuesday and then go to L.A. for his next appearance? Or will the Rangers’ Yovani Gallardo, who got knocked around by the Angels last Saturday night, be back again this Saturday to pitch against them in a Dodgers’ uniform? (Yes, it’s the same Gallardo who has a 1-11 career record with a 6.45 ERA in 19 starts against playoff rival St. Louis).

Yoenis Cespedes, a 29-year-old star from Cuba in his third big-league season, has put up a .287 average with 15 HRs and 57 RBIS this season so far with Detroit, his third team.

Yoenis Cespedes, a 29-year-old star from Cuba in his third big-league season, has put up a .287 average with 15 HRs and 57 RBIS this season so far with Detroit, his third team.

As for the Angels’ pursuit of a left fielder with some wood, would the Tigers’ Yoenis Cespedes work as a late-season rental? Or Ben Zobrist? Or Jay Bruce? They can’t be thinking that the way to plug a hole at third base is to work an exchange that brings them Juan Uribe, can they? However things match up, there’s the Dodgers likely decision to have Zack Greinke come back after usual rest to start this series against a team that once has his property rights for 13 starts in 2012 before he came over to the Dodgers. Greinke is just 1-5 with a 4.07 ERA in nine career starts against the Angels.  More numbers to chew on: Mike Trout is hitting .232 in 56 career at-bats (14 games) against the Dodgers with two homers, 5 RBIs and 12 strikeouts. Albert Pujols’ career marks against the Dodgers, folded into a .314 average in 84 games, is 18 homers and 59 RBIs.
Also keep in mind: These two will play three more against each other Sept. 7-9 in Anaheim.
Friday’s game is at 7:10 p.m. (SNLA, FSW), with 1 p.m. starts on Saturday (FS1) and Sunday (SNLA, FSW).


Ronda Rousey heads to Rio de Janerio for her next MMA bout against Bethe Correia in UFC 190 (Saturday, 7 p.m., PPV) …  Prior to the Dodgers-Angels series, there’s a three-game set in Houston for the Angels to play (Tuesday-Thursday, FSW) and the Dodgers hosting Oakland (Tuesday and Wednesday), where Clayton Kershaw (8-6, 2.51) looks to have five full days of rest before he continues with his 29 consecutive scoreless inning streak …  American Pharoah returns to the track to run in the $1 million Haskell Invitation in New Jersey on Sunday (Channel 4, 2:50 p.m.) …More info at this link.

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It’s Out of the Question: Dodgers, Angels have no trade embargo, right? Then go for it

The Dodgers' two-headed sharknado can only take them so far, right? Another fine illustration by Jim Thompson at and on Twitter @sportsbronze

The Dodgers’ two-headed sharknado can only take them so far, right? Another fine illustration by Jim Thompson at and on Twitter @sportsbronze

It’s not OK to keep using the OKC as an ATM machine for the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Dodging another one-and-done situation with the Triple-A SWAT Unit, the Dodgers show desperation now in finding another arm or three for this rotating starting rotation.

Kershaw and Greinke and everyone gets cranky. Particularly during this pregnant pause in Greinke’s childish pursuit of zero tolerance. Planned parenthood can be a no-win situation.

And holy halo, the Angels are mighty desperate for some outfield help, preferably with some power. Because Vernon Wells ain’t walking through that door.

The team has a depth chart up on its website. It lists Cowgill, Joyce, Robertson and Kubitza. It reads like a Pacoima law firm that represents slip-and-fall victims. By gosh, Josh Hamilton even feels lousy about it.

Before the two Los Angeles of Los Angeles rivals meet next week at Dodger Stadium, knowing full well the non-waiver trade deadline is hours before that Friday first pitch, wouldn’t one of these following scenarios resolve everyone’s riddled rosters in a quick and quiet manner?

Start with pointing Scott Van Slyke toward the visitor’s dugout (as the Dodgers once did with Juan Uribe), allow Mike Scioscia to check his abacus, and then reciprocate with Matt Shoemaker. It’s beard for beard.

And no worries, SVS. They’ll do a bobblehead up for you come playoff time.

But look, there’s more: Carl Crawford for C.J. Wilson. As long as their massive overvalued salaries work for all the accountants and sabermetricians needed here.

Let’s really go outside the boundaries: Yasiel Puig for … the Dodgers have no trade embargos with Cuban players now, right? Let’s have Mike Butcher finish that sentence. (And what’s keeping the Angels from hiring Bud Black back as their pitching coach?)

One side trip worth considering: What if the Angels were so intrigued/remorseful with having Howie Kendrick return to second base — just as the Dodgers are about to activate Hector Olivera, someone they could plop down at 3B and move Justin Turner to 2B? Could a Kendrick-for-Andrew Heaney swap work — again?

Maybe it’s too far-out for Farhan Zaidi. And Bill Stoneman isn’t going to lose that rock-and-a-hard-place stare. But does all this depend on whether the departed Jerry Dipoto runs all the numbers from Arte Moreno’s mother-in-law house before any of this gets to the next level of discussion?

More from Saturday’s It’s Out of the Question column …


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Weekly media notes version 07.23.15 — How ESPN plans to specialize its undertaking of Special Olympics World Games 2015

Former Special Olympics athlete and coach Dustin Plunkett poses with the Special Olympics' Circle of Inclusion during a recent ceremony at the StubHub Center in Carson. Plunkett is helping organize this year Special Olympics World Games, which will feature thousands of athletes from over 100 countries competing in more than two dozen sports when it begins Saturday. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Former Special Olympics athlete and coach Dustin Plunkett poses with the Special Olympics’ Circle of Inclusion during a recent ceremony at the StubHub Center in Carson. Plunkett will be involved in ESPN’s coverage of the Special Olympics World Games, which starts Saturday with the Opening Ceremonies from the Coliseum.  (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

What we anticipate writing about for Sunday’s weekly media column:

A billboard promoting the Special Olympics World Games, from the 405 freeway near LAX.

A billboard promoting the Special Olympics World Games, from the 405 freeway near LAX.

The 14th Special Olympics World Games, spanning nine days in Southern California with the events beginning Saturday, has a powerful media partner with ESPN committed to not just covering it an event, but giving credence to it as an athletic endeavor.
A daily 30-minute recap of the events will start on Sunday, with Dustin Plunkett, a former Special Olympics World Games athlete and coach and global messenger, involved in the ESPN production as a reporter.
We’ll get into the details about the content of those shows and who is involved.
Here is also a link to the Los Angeles News Group continued coverage.

What we feel is prudent to get out into circulation now:

Eunice Shriver awards metals to those competing in the Special Olympics in 1968.

Eunice Shriver awards metals to those competing in the Special Olympics in 1968.

== Prior to the Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies on Saturday — ESPN starts at 5 p.m. with the special by Robin Roberts, then at 6 p.m. with the official event, which is then repeated from 9 p.m.-to-midnight on Channel 7 — a  documentary called “Brave in the Attempt” airs.
Maria Shriver is the executive producer on this half-hour piece that focuses on her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and the creation of the Special Olympics in 1962 based on her sister, Rosemany Kennedy’s struggle with inclusion — airs on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Maria Shriver was on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” this week to talk about it (video above).
Peabody- and Emmy-winning filmmaker Fritz Mitchell is the director for the Shriver Films company producing the story, whose title comes from the Special Olympics Athlete Oath:  “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me brave in the attempt.”
The film will appear on starting Tuesday and re-airs several times throughout ESPN’s coverage of the Special Olympics World Games, concluding with the closing ceremonies on Aug. 2.
Roberts’ one-hour special that airs Saturday also airs thursday at 6 p.m. on ESPN.

== As part of ESPN’s multi-platform coverage of the Special Olympics, a 2 1/2-minute video story has just posted about how some athletes have dealt with bullying and name calling during their lifetime and how they’ve used that to fuel their pursuits.
There’s also this piece by Steve Wulf about the “R-word” as it relates to Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden and his brother, Jake.

Los_Angeles_Country_Club_-_North_331116== As John Strege reported for Golf Digest in 2014, part of the sales pitch to push members of the Los Angeles Country Club in approving the 2023 U.S. Open golf championship coming to their Wilshire Blvd. venue bordering Beverly Hills was how big an event this would be in concert with Fox Sports’ recent 12-year contract with the USGA.
Fox’s network studios, you see, are just a couple miles as the crow flies, or a 25 minute drive in rush hour traffic away, depending on if you take Beverly Glenn, Avenue of the Stars or detour through the Holmby Park Lawn Bowling Club.
B9RIXCDIEAAc1DlWhen it became official Wednesday that the USGA reached an agreement with LACC, those who matter most at Fox were overjoyed.
“Nothing like a home game!” wrote Bill Wanger. Executive Vice President Programming, Research and Content Strategy for Fox Sports, in an email. “Having the U.S. Open in our back yard about a mile from the Fox lot will allow us to utilize every single resource in our arsenal to provide the ultimate coverage of our national championship.
“LACC is one of the true treasures on the west coast that most American audiences have never seen.  It was designed by George Thomas, who also designed Riviera Country Club and Bel-Air Country Club. Many consider LACC the best of the three.”
Fox’s deal with the USGA began with last month’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in Washington.

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