We've already talked about how the Pac-12 could benefit from the drive by FOX Sports to go toe-to-toe with ESPN in the sports department. It seems that this aggressive stance will also benefit football distribution this season. As you can see, FOX Sports will be aiming to mop up Saturday nights in primetime, and the Pac-12 figures to be a part of that unraveling.
That's 12 primetime slots, eight of which should be filled with the Pac-12 games on the FOX contract (not including the Friday, Nov. 30 Pac-12 Championship Game). While FOX doesn't have first dibs on the games, you can imagine the conference will work hard to find appealing contests for the viewer to watch that'll showcase the best the Pac-12 has on the table.
This provides the first true antidote to the monopoly the ESPN family of networks holds on Saturday Night Football. There's the signature Saturday Night Football contest televised on basic cable on ABC, the SEC on ESPN contest that you see on the Worldwide Leader, and the secondary contest on ESPN2 (either the mirrored ABC game or another crucial contest from any of the big conferences with extensive primetime ties to ESPN).
Putting the Pac-12 on FOX doesn't guarantee ratings success. It won't be easy to compete with this conglomerate, particularly depending on how entrenched college football fans might be on their East Coast viewing habits. The only other network to branch this far into a major college football conference with its own is CBS with the SEC, and that's clearly the largest and most successful of all the major conferences to put this together.
Having your own major network to yourself is how you build a national brand though, and it can't hurt to see how the conference tries to capitalize on making these slots successful. Staying an integral part of the Pac-12's workings seems like the best possible plan to ensure they stay attuned to the regional consciousness.
At the very least, it provides the conference with almost a weekly presence in the college football landscape to view their games, and it's just the tip of the iceberge of the Pac-12 TV coverage!
Plus, you have to figure the creative minds at the Pac-12 and at FOX will be doing their best to ensure the best possible matchups end up on this channel. This is the Pac-12's main platform to the rest of the country outside the West Coast and the Rocky Mountains, and they'll have to make it all count to ensure the visibility of the conference maintains its upward tick.