July 24, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott speaks to the media at PAC-12 Media Day at Universal Studios Hollywood. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
All in all, carriage issues aside with networks like DirecTV and Comcast, it's been a solid week of programming for the Pac-12 Network. Probably one thing most people are wondering about: How good do the sporting events look?
I've managed to catch two games on the Pac-12 Bay Area HD channel (one field hockey, one soccer), and I've really liked the production values for both. There's generally one dominant camera at about the middle of the field, but there are also multiple cameras at the ends of the field for close-ups of players, crowd shots, and what not. They even do some instant replays!
One thing I do really like is the way they manage to fill time during lulls in the action; there have been a few in-game interviews, usually with a football personality (Stanford head coach David Shaw dropped by the women's soccer game for example). There were also a few sideline interviews with coaching staff.
I know some purists would prefer it to be all the action on the field (and I'd guess the deeper we go into the season it'll focus more on the nuts and bolts), but from a TV standpoint it does seem like a good idea, particularly in sports that aren't rapid-fire in the action like soccer or field hockey. I'd imagine more standard telecasts for more quick-hitting sports like volleyball or water polo.
As for objectivity, I wouldn't say that there isn't some Pac-12 leaning, but we are still in out-of-conference matchups, so it's no big surprise our conference gets talked up more. But there isn't really any fawning over our teams like there is of NBC over U.S. Olympians or ESPN over whatever gives ESPN better ratings. The announcers are professional and the analysts seem well-versed in their sports.
In terms of TV quality, I've been very impressed. The guys in charge of television production clearly know what they're doing. I'm looking forward to the first Pac-12 Network football telecasts.