Before Larry Scott got that awesome, awesome Pac-12 TV contract in place, he did manage to do a little bit of tinkering that gave you a preview of how different this commissioner would be from the last one.
If you recall from yesterday's post, the older Pac-10 TV deal was uglier than those decomposing hookers found in Craig James's basement. There were things that needed to be fixed up, and Scott did do some tinkering before he managed to land solid gold.
1) The Pac-10 finally managed to gain the ABC/ESPN Reverse Mirror.
Before 2010, games on ABC could only be distributed on ABC, so when there were two/three games being telecast in one timeslot, only one would get the deal. There was no possibility to split things with ESPN regularly, so generally audiences east of the Mississippi (sometimes even east of the Rockies) wouldn't get a whiff of the best Pac-10 football had to offer.
The reverse mirror allowed the conference to televise games on a wider scale and ensure more TRUE (or close-to-true) national telecasts from their package. ABC managed to grab three national telecasts via Reverse Mirror and ABC/ESPN2 coverage in 2010 and 2011, a small step up from before. Additionally, contests were available on ESPN3, ensuring that most fans throughout the country could view the contest.
Still, there was one problem: Most of these games still weren't national telecasts
2) The Pac-10/12 managed to get more of their ABC games placed on ESPN.
For most of the past decade, getting games on ABC didn't ensure national telecasts, but getting games on ESPN did. This was one situation that Hansen was painfully slow at adapting toward in his tenure, and it showed as every other conference (major or minor) landed sizable deals with the Worldwide Leader while the Pac-12 lagged painfully behind.
Scott reversed that trend pretty quickly, as around 13-15 Pac-12 games showed up on ESPN in 2010 and 2011 (compared to seven in 2009). Games on ABC were reduced from 15 in 2009 to 10 in 2010 and nine in 2011, while ESPN telecasts rose up the next few years. Time slots were limited, but the Pac-12 was flexible and put more contests in the late night spot to ensure as much of an exclusive viewing audience as you can get for midnight football viewing.
Additionally, the Pac-10 took more advantage of the Thursday and the Friday night contests, distributing nine contests on weekday nights the last two seasons.
3) The Pac-12 added some games for FX in 2011.
A small thing (only three FX games were Pac-12 contests, and only two were in-conference), but it was a proactive step to get the conference additional national exposure when Scott could've just stepped back and waited for the deal to kick in. Fix the small while getting ready to solve all the large stuff. That's the stuff of great leadership right there.
Coming up: The full extent of the new Pac-12 TV deal.