Larry Scott

Pac-12 fans are going to want to hug Commissioner Larry Scott.
Photo by Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

No new Sean Miller rumors this week?

Good. Now we can go back to talking about the games. Specifically, what does the new Pac-12 media rights deal mean to those of us who watch the games?

Yes, the money is the key thing. The dollar amounts are staggering (going from $54 million a year to a quarter of a billion dollars a year?!) and the huge revenue bump will help the conference and its schools better compete on a national level.

But Joe Q. Fan doesn’t see any of that money. The price of his season tickets are going to continue to go up. How does he benefit from this?

He gets to see his favorite team play. A lot.

That’s all we want as fans. We want to see the games. We want to go to as many games in person as we can and we want to watch the rest of the games on TV.

Thanks to Larry Scott’s historic deal, Pac-12 fans are about to have their dream come true.

Let’s break down the most important issues for We The People:

What channels will show the games?

Pac-12 football games will be carried by over-the-air networks ABC and Fox, cable networks ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and FX, and the soon-to-be created Pac-12 network. There will also be live online broadcasts on the Pac-12’s version of ESPN3.com.

Men’s basketball games will be on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Fox Sports Net, the Pac-12 network and online.

It means even if you only have rabbit ears for your TV you’ll get to see some football games. If you have basic cable you’ll get a lot of football and basketball. If you have the Pac-12 network, you’ll get everything.

When Mr. Scott says all the games will be on TV does he really mean all the games?

Yes. Every single football and men’s basketball game will be broadcast somewhere.

All hail Women’s Tennis Guy!

Indeed.

But we already see all the Arizona Wildcats basketball games every year.

If you’re a basketball-only fan this isn’t going to mean much to you, but if you live and die (and die…and die) with UA football this is monumental. There was an entire generation of Wildcat fans who had no idea what Oregon State’s home uniforms looked like.

Gone are the days of hunting for a sports bar that can pick up an obscure satellite feed from the Pacific Northwest. No more sitting through the tape-delayed broadcast of a game that you already know who won. No more radio-only games.

It’s also a chance for fans of the non-revenue sports to see some games on TV. For a baseball guy like me it’s like a sub-1 WHIP (which, trust me, is really good).

What cable/satellite/internet provider do I need to get?

That’s the missing piece right now. The Pac-12 network first has to start existing, then it needs distribution partners. The Big Ten had to fight to get cable companies to carry its network. ESPN3.com is only available on select internet service providers.

It’s still possible there will be grumbling if it turns out Pac-12 fans won’t be able to get the new network from their existing satellite/cable provider but Larry Scott is confident his channel will be widely distributed. If we’ve learned anything in the past two years it’s that one messes with a confident Larry Scott at one’s own risk.

Aren’t the new guys getting really lucky in all this?

Tell me about it. Colorado would’ve been stuck shoveling cow pies behind Bevo. Utah would have giddily agreed to join the Pac-10 even if the new TV contract was for 27 bucks. Now, not only does Utah get access to the BCS – and BCS money, and the best of the BCS bowls – but the Utes fall into the richest media rights deal in the nation. Nice work if you can get it.

Forget the Utes. This is the greatest news ever! I’m going to get to see every game of Nick Foles and Juron Criner’s senior season!

Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down there, cowboy. The Pac-12 starts this fall but the new Pac-12 TV deal doesn’t begin until the fall of 2012.

2011 games will still fall under the old deal which means hoping your games get picked up by ABC, ESPN, Versus, Fox Sports Arizona (and other regional FSN channels), or FX.

The Wildcats already have a third of their ’11 football schedule selected by ESPN but the road games at OSU and Washington might not be as attractive. If you can’t make it to Arizona Stadium you probably aren’t going to see the epic clash with Louisiana-Lafayette over Thanksgiving weekend.

Hang tight, Pac-12 fans. Let 2011 serve as one final reminder of the way things were so we can all fully appreciate everything we see in 2012.

Everything.

– – – – –

Scott Terrell loves to tote the remote. Change your channel to Twitter and Facebook.