Pac-12 TV Distribution: FOX National Sports Network Coming?

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 08: New York Giants Defensive End Justin Tuck (L) visits FOX's "Power and Money" at FOX Studios on February 8, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

The Pac-10 faced various issues with their past television contract because of its almost total reliance on the FSN network. While it provided a nice set of national TV contests, it caused various problems, most notably that many FSN games did not end up gaining national distribution, often intersected with each other and caused various regional issues when both regional teams were playing at the same time (Washington State, Oregon State, Cal/Stanford, Arizona/ASU fans can all attest to this).

It appears that this FSN issue will be fixed up with another national sports network. The Sports Business Journal Daily reports.

The channel, which goes by the working title of Fox Sports 1, already has been contemplated in the network’s deals with the Pac-12 Conference and FIFA. In fact, sources said that one of the reasons Fox hired John Entz from MLB Network in November was to help launch such a channel. Entz has since taken a bigger job at the network, as executive producer (see related story).


Sources said Fox has talked about using FX as a "bridge" to house sports rights, like Pac-12 and Big 12 games, until it can get a full-time multisport network up and running.

Now, this doesn't seem to be as much of an issue as it used to be. All of the football contests in the FOX TV contract will now be on FOX and FX, with none appearing on the FSN regional net. However, a great deal of basketball games will still be broadcast on Fox Sports Net, so getting a network like this could ensure all these games get the national telecast.

It's likely that many of the FX football games ensured in the new contract would also end up here, as FOX doesn't really seem interested in keeping sporting events on the channel that's best known for its original dramatic and comedic programming. FX isn't really ever going to be a destination channel for sports the way a national sports network would be.

For a long time FOX Sports has seemed to move away from embracing. Unfortunately, their approach has been clumsy at best, and while their networks have been very successful at acquiring rights to regional sporting events, it's a model that hasn't really served a college conference like the Pac-12 all that well.

The infrastructure is there for a Fox Sports national network to work and try and siphon viewers away from ESPN, and more importantly keep viewers looking toward the Conference of Champions even more. Considering that the Pac-12 would be one of the primary properties on a proposed FOX Sports 1 channel, it would further increase the national profile of a conference that continues to make aggressive moves on that front.

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