Cable Co-Op Tackles Pac-12 Distribution Deal

Felicia Lee

UPDATED: The alliance of western schools that includes UCLA, USC and Arizona, which is debuting its own cable network Aug. 15, has made a deal with the NCTC to offer hundreds of live sporting events to the 900 cable operators who are members.

The Pac-12, which is about to launch its own cable network for the first time, has reached a multiyear agreement with the National Cable Television Cooperative to expand the availability of major and minor sports – including baseball, soccer, gymnastics, rowing, softball, wrestling, swimming, cross country, tennis, golf and track and field – to more than 900 cable operators.

The members of the Kansas-based not-for-profit coop will have the option to air sports from colleges and universities including UCLA, USC, Arizona and new members Colorado and Utah on the new Pac-12 Network as well as six regional networks that have the potential to reach millions of households.

“Pac-12 institutions are home to a nation-leading 451 NCAA championships and it is extremely important for us to be able to share the tradition and excellence of the Pac-12 to a much wider audience,” said Gary Stevenson, president of Pac-12 Enterprises.

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Co-op members in Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah and Nevada will be able to pick up sports that fit their interests. Outside of these western states, viewers will have access to Pac-12 Networks digitally on the web and on mobile devices through the TV Everywhere platform. To use TV Everywhere, the viewer must be a cable customer.

Beyond that other members will be able to pick up sports that fit their interests. “We’re confident that members will be excited to offer their customers the high-quality events and programming featuring the great Pac-12 teams and dedicated student-athletes that are at the heart of collegiate sports,” said Rich Fickle, president and CEO of NCTC.

The new Pac-12 Network launches Aug. 15 and is slated to offer 850 live annual sporting events, which is far more than what has been available in the past. The deal  is expected to include 35 football  games  and 120 men’s basketball annually.

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This agreement is separate from the $2.6 billion deal the Pac-12 signed last year with ESPN and Fox for the top tier football and basketball games. The 12-year contract is expected to pay $200 million per year per school in the conference.

Along with the sports, the deal will include news and commentary shows that will feature such personalities as Olympic gold medalist Summer Sanders, Pro Football Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott and former UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel. Their past credentials include Lott serving as a Fox NFL Sunday analyst, Sanders co-hosting NBA Inside Stuff and Neuheisel providing insight as CBS Sports Network’s Inside College Football guest analyst.

“Through our partnership with NCTC, we now have the opportunity to bring the Pac-12 Networks and all of our great content to more fans and alumni across the country,” Stevenson said. “This is a milestone moment.”

For DirecTV, Dish and U-Verse watchers, the Pac-12 Network is in talks with satellite distributors to carry their content in the future.

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