This is part four of a series looking at the Pac-12 Networks successes and failures.
Thus far, we’ve heard from voices within the conference: Coaches, presidents and a certain commissioner with a deep interest in the Pac-12 Networks’ success. The Pac-12 Hotline’s series now veers outside the Pac-12 perimeter, to the sports media world and a group of panelists with no stake in the outcome.
That impartial view is vital to a comprehensive assessment of the networks.
(Also vital: What the fans think.)
My goal with this installment was to collect feedback from a handful of panelist across the media landscape — from journalists, academics and analysts alike.
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I included participants who who don’t watch the network regularly (or at all), and that was intentional.
After all, limited distribution is part of the Pac-12 Networks story — a significant part of the story, in fact.
Each panelist was asked to:
1. Grade and assess the Pac-12 Networks using whatever criteria he/she sees fit.
2. Address the stalemate with DirecTV and the potential outcomes.
3. Peer into the future of the Pac-12 Networks: Should the conference hold tight to the current model, sell equity, eliminate the regional feeds (or something else)?
Oh, and I took the liberty of including my own assessment.
Who she is: Former columnist for the Arizona Republic, now professor of sports journalism at ASU’s renown Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Comment: “Would be higher if I could watch it more often! (I have DirecTV.) I enjoy the studio shows, much of the talent and the overall cosmetics. More than anything, I like a network committed to covering a conference that sometimes seems like an afterthought on other networks. (Yes, I’m a card-carrying member of the East Coast Bias Exists Club). That being said, something is off-kilter when athletic directors and administrators grumble publicly about revenue and when networks like the BIg Ten and SEC generate far more broadcast coin. And I thought by now, its reach would be greater.”
DirecTV: “It all comes down to the decision to go at it alone rather than teaming with a major TV partner. Isn’t that why the other conference deals are more fruitful? I think DirecTV, in its negotiations, has exploited the Pac-12’s lack of muscle.”