Pac-12 announces deal for national, regional networks

The hits keep coming for Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, who appears to have created a landmark, innovative partnership for the new Pac-12 Networks.

The conference announced Wednesday the formation of a network that will include a national and six regional networks in conjunction with four of the nation's largest cable operators: Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks.

The new networks will combine to televise 850 events -- 350 on the national network -- including every football and men's basketball game not broadcast by national network partners ESPN and Fox. There will be a network for each of the six regions that have two conference schools: Washington, Oregon, Northern and Southern California, Arizona and Mountain. All will carry national programming, including 35 football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games and 40 women’s basketball games, as well other events, such as spring football games and every sport played by Pac-12 programs including all conference championships.

The Pac-12 network will be available on basic cable in the conference's six-state footprint and in an add-on sports tier in other states that requires an extra fee. The new deal also includes “TV everywhere” rights, permitting the networks to be viewed outside customers’ homes on any digital device, such as smartphones and tablet computers.

Launch of the networks is scheduled for August 2012. The deal is for 12 years but the financial terms were not disclosed. The networks will be wholly owned by the conference and will be initially available to 40 million homes nationally.

One issue: What about the satellite TV companies, such as Direct TV, and other cable companies?

"We are hopeful, expect, we will have additional distribution with satellite companies and other cable companies," Scott said.

Scott said such talks are on-going.

In a teleconference about the deal, Scott said the regional networks could televise high school football games, if the NCAA permits it.

Scott previously signed TV contracts with Fox and ESPN earlier this year that will pay it $3 billion over 12 years, the largest broadcast deal among all college conferences.