Gary Stevenson, president of Pac-12 Enterprises, went on a conference call today to clear up the Pac-12 Network's viewership capabilities. With the network set to launch on August 15 -- that's Wednesday -- it's slowly becoming clear how the main network, regional networks, digital packages and cable deals will work.
Overall, it appears you're in super good shape if you lie in two categories: you have cable AND you live on the West Coast, or in places the Pac-12 calls "designated marketing areas."
In most cases, viewers who live within a "designated marketing area," or DMA -- such as Phoenix, and Los Angeles -- and subscribe to one of the distributors that have an agreement with the Pac-12 will receive a Pac-12 Network on basic cable.
Those who live in a Pac-12 state but outside a DMA likely will receive the network on digital cable.
Those who live outside the conference's six-state footprint, such as in New York or Miami, and subscribe to one of the conference's distributor partners most likely will be offered the network on a premium sports tier.
Fans who want to watch Pac-12 programming on their computer, tablet or smartphone will be able to do so as long as they subscribe to one of the distributors that carries the Pac-12 -- Cox or Time Warner, for example.
The main issues left to be resolved? The network has yet to finalize contracts with major satellite providers such as DirecTV and Dish Network. Both Pac-12 officials and those with those companies, however, believe they will have resolutions in the next month, if not sooner, reports Boivin.
So it appears that the Pac-12 is solid on the cable front, at least if you're in Pac-12 country.
The Pac-12 Networks have secured distribution deals with Cox, Comcast, Time Warner, Brighthouse, Frontier, BendBroadband, Wave Broadband, Western Digital and the National Cable Television Cooperative, which is composed of nearly 1,000 cable companies in small and medium-sized markets. On Thursday, it reached an agreement with Western Broadband, which serves several Arizona communities, including Sun Lakes, and Orbital Communications, which serves Maricopa.
If that all confuses you, here's the short story. Forty-four of the 79 Pac-12 home football games will appear on major TV networks, including ESPN and Fox. The remaining will surely appear on the Pac-12 Network, meaning that there's little chance you won't be able to catch the Wildcats in action, even if it turns out to be a low-priority game (see Colorado and Oregon State last year).
And soon enough, if you're on the road, the least you'll be able to do is watch the games on your smart phone.
If you're in California, Jon Wilner has a good explanation in his Pac-12 Network story.