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Can The PAC-12 Networks Be Viable?

The media enterprise has lagged behind other Power Five networks in subscribers.

Russ Heltman

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The PAC-12 Networks are no stranger to the financial impact of the pandemic. The networks struggled to add subscribers before 2020 and now faces a long climb to get back media relevancy among the Power Five conferences. 

“The conference needs to rethink everything it does,’’ an industry source explained in a piece by The Mercury News. “Its position has weakened in the last two years. The whole notion of the Pac-12 Networks has to go.”

Interested parties don’t have to look far to find the issue: Subscribers. The Pac-12 Networks  (the national network) now has 14.8 million subscribers nationwide, according to Dec. 2020 estimates provided to the Hotline by S&P Global Market Intelligence. That works out to a 17 percent drop since 2019, according to S&P data.

For reference, top conference-networks from the SEC and Big Ten estimate to carry more than 50 million subscribers.

This lag has prompted people within the industry to call for the PAC-12 to terminate its six regional networks and possibly the entire operation. Others believe the league should try to jump the line for new TV rights before getting left behind by the Power Five. 

“There’s only so much money to go around. It might be best to move to the front of the line,” the Mercury News report says.

The Big Ten television contracts expire in 2023, one year before the PAC-12. That will certainly effect the amount of money left to go around.

Sports TV News

St. Louis Cardinals Announcer Dan McLaughlin Charged With Third DWI

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

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Dan McLaughlin

St. Louis Cardinals television play-by-play announcer Dan McLaughlin has been charged with DWI after being arrested on Sunday in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

According to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, police received at least two phone calls from concerned drivers that a white BMW was driving erratically, with one caller saying it was driving into oncoming traffic.

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

Bally Sports Midwest and the released a joint statement Monday.

“We have been made aware that Dan McLaughlin was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated on Sunday night.. We are very disappointed to hear this, and are working to gather additional information before offering further comment.”

McLaughlin, 48, has served as the voice of the Cardinals for 24 years.

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Sports TV News

NFL Flex Scheduling Forces ESPN To Change Bowl Schedule

Jordan Bondurant

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The NFL flex scheduling an upcoming Las Vegas Radiers game out of Sunday Night Football on December 18 has forced ESPN to make a slight adjustment with its college bowl season schedule. But the change was something the worldwide leader was prepared to make.

The Raiders were originally scheduled to play the New England Patriots in the primetime window a week before Christmas, but with both teams losing ground in terms of the AFC playoff picture, NBC opted to go with a different game that night instead. Now fans will be tuning in to see the rematch between the New York Giants and the Washington Commanders.

The shift out of the Sunday night window for the Raiders forced ESPN to swap kickoff times for the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl the day before on December 17. Florida and Oregon State will play in Vegas at 2:30 p.m. eastern, with BYU and SMU facing off in Albuquerque at 7:30 p.m.

The switch allows workers at Allegiant Stadium in Vegas enough time to switch the venue over from college bowl game to Raiders home game.

“We are accustomed to flexibility and we anticipated having to maneuver our event schedules based on the possibility of the Raiders game being flexed,” said ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby.

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Sports TV News

FOX Scores Most-Watched PAC-12 Championship Game Ever

Jordan Bondurant

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Friday night’s Pac-12 championship game between Utah and USC drew the largest audience in the game’s history, according to FOX.

Over 6.2 million tuned in to watch the Utes dominate the Trojans 47-24 and dash USC’s hopes at making the College Football Playoff.

The network said viewership was up 45% compared to the 2021 title game, which aired on ABC and also featured Utah. The Utes won the conference crown in convincing fashion that year too, posting a 38-10 victory over Oregon.

The Pac-12 will be without USC and UCLA as member schools following the 2023 season. The Trojans and the Bruins will join the Big Ten in 2024.

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