clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Pac-12 football schedule: Conference wants fewer night games

Will they get it?

Christian Petersen

The Pac-12 is looking for fewer night games, according to Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News.

The Pac-12 is in discussions with its network partners to change programming practices and avoid another season with an overwhelming number of night games, according to sources inside and outside the conference.

I wouldn't necessarily characterize the back-and-forth as negotiations, because the league has a contract with ESPN and Fox that isn't going away for a decade.

But Pac-12 officials were not happy with the '13 broadcast schedule and are working with their partners to find an acceptable resolution for all parties involved. One source called the league's approach "fair but firm."

The conference spent three months listening to complaints from fans and school officials. Commissioner Larry Scott and his lieutenant are keenly aware of the frustration.

The conference spent too many nights having to put two to three games in the dreaded 10-10:45 PM ET (7-7:45 PM PT) slots last season. That meant despite having every game on national television, it had to displace most Pac-12 fans from watching their traditional afternoon fare and forced them into late night endeavors that didn't conclude until 10:30-11 PM at night.

The biggest issue right now is the current exclusivity slots the Pac-12 holds with FOX and ABC that forces the network to play only one game from 3:30 PM PT to 7:30 PM PT. This is generally a premium slot for television executives  on Saturday nights and probably the one that the Pac-12 will have to reconsider renegotiating. The conference might look to get more early afternoon premium slots like 3:30 PM PT/12:30 PM ET for FOX/ABC so that they can reschedule more games there.

If they want to get more conference games. Some things that could help this season would be to work more closely with Fox Sports 1 and ESPNU to try and get some earlier start times. ESPN is probably too busy with other major conferences like the Big Ten and Big 12 to squeeze in Pac-12 games early in the day.

I'd imagine a more optimal setup would be

11 am-Noon: Pac-12 Network first game
12:30 PM: Game on ABC or FS1
1 PM: Game on ESPNU
3:30-7:30 PM: Exclusive game of the week
7:30 PM: Remaining games of the week (at most 2)

What do you imagine would be the best setup for Pac-12 daily schedules?