Not only is the future bleak for the PAC-12 Network uncertain, it is possible that the public has never gotten a clear picture of its past according to John Canzano. The syndicated radio host and columnist for The Oregonian wrote a story about the network last week that indicated the media world never had much interest in the network.
“No media company wanted to partner with the Pac-12,” a conference official told Canzano. “ESPN declined. FOX, CBS, even the Discovery Channel declined. Nobody knows this.”
The story paints a picture of a network that is now reaping the consequences of painting a rosier picture of its viability than was ever true.
The majority of the PAC-12 Network’s 170 employees have been either laid off or furloughed as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic. According to Canzano, those that have been furloughed have not heard a word from network or conference leadership in weeks. It has left the network with little ability to cover the abbreviated college football season the PAC-12 will launch next month.
The first six weeks of the season will be split amongst the networks of ESPN and FOX. Those weeks will include games that will kick off at 9 am local time in order to be included in FOX’s Big Noon Saturday programming block, a phenomenon that Canzano reports some within the conference have begun calling “Bloody Larrys,” in honor of PAC-12 commissioner Larry Scott, whose leadership has lead to this debacle.
The championship weekend, where six games will be created based on divisional standings, is the only place there is an opening.
“That would leave the Pac-12 Network with a game or two, maybe, if it still wants to be in the football-broadcast business,” Canzano writes.
With basketball season set to begin in November, the PAC-12 Network will have some programming. It is contractually obligated to carry both men’s and women’s games. Outside of that though, it remains to be seen what is left for the PAC-12 Network. Canzano writes that it currently does not have writers, producers, or a social media staff in house.
The next media rights deal for the PAC-12 Conference begins in 2024. It has previously been reported that Apple might has shown interest in acquiring the primary TV rights for the league. That might be the only leverage the PAC-12 has in any future negotiations.
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.
NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC
“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”
ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.
ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.
This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.
Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.
“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”
ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.