Jon Wilner has been all over the Pac-12 Network beat the last few years as everything builds up to the debut of the conference television network in just under six weeks. Here are some last nuggets that filter in more details for the TV network.
Two big details stick out from the Q&A. The first revolves around whether every game will be televised nationally.
Harold: Even if DirecTV finally strikes a deal with the Pac-12 Network, it’s only going to be for the national feed.
* Your point about DirecTV and sports bars (not copied above) is extremely well taken and a very big deal. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of DirecTV making some regional feeds available to subscribers who are outside the league’s footprint. Another option would be to have an overflow channel. For instance: If you have DirecTV and live in New York, you’d get Pacv-12 National 24/7 and, in instances when there are concurrent kickoffs/regional telecasts, DirecTV would make that regional game available somewhere on its sports tier.
If I had to guess on a way all games could be nationally televised, the best way would probably be for the Pac-12 Network will provide overflow channels on the rare occasions that two games overlap, similar to the coverage the Big Ten Network currently provides when they simulcast multiple games at the same time.
Here's what currently overlaps the regular schedule.
Week 1: Nevada at California, Nicholls State at Oregon State
Week 2: Eastern Washington at Washington State, Sacramento State at Colorado, Southern Utah at California
Week 2, night: Oklahoma State at Arizona, Duke at Stanford
You can see how there would be trouble with broadcasting all the games nationally if there were no overflow feeds available. The Week 1 and Week 2 night categories might be okay if one game was broadcast on the national feed and the other was broadcast on the regional feeds, but that's only accounting for the cable providers where both channels are available.
Most likely you'll see the presence of overflow channels for specific time slots, which cost almost nothing to set up and will be only used for those specific hours. Something similar could happen for hoops games that overlap, although there are more time slots to flex around there with games being televised at least four days out of seven a week.
The second revolved around online streaming, which will probably be the best way to provide all games a national window if there are no overflow channels or lack of national distribution of regional channels.
spin: my questions is simple will there be an option for me to pick up all six regional networks or is this up to the local carrier?
* That is entirely up to the carrier, but it is hard for me to imagine anyone making all six available. Remember, though: They will all be available live on your mobile device/tablet/computer. If you are a subscriber to one of the league’s partner providers you’d get access to all of them. Whether they would all be on your TV, again, is the big question.
Regardless of what happens, all these games listed above will be available online or on your personal digital devices simultaneously if you have the Pac-12 Network as part of your regular cable or satellite service. So it's pretty much Watch ESPN for the Pac-12. This is an intriguing approach because I'm guessing that the emphasis on mobile and computer devices is a stark contrast to most major sports, particularly big conference college football (which have generally relied on big TV contracts and minimal online distribution.
Obviously television is important (that's where the big bucks are made), but technology plays an integral part in the viewing experience of a sports fan. We could see a lot of increased viewership of the conference via online coverage if it's made available to the viewing public on a regular basis throughout the week.
The caveat? It's likely the only way you can access online content is if you're subscribed to the Pac-12 Network on your TV. So more carriage of the network will be required. In other words, ask your provider to get the network if they don't have it already.
For DirectTV and Dish customers, Wilner preaches patience on that particular issue regardless, so just hang on until the final days before the season starts before going crazy-go-nuts.