This is a guest post from Porter Olson. He is excited about the upcoming Pac-12 network and wanted to share his thoughts on what it means to the Huskies.
The Washington Huskies football team has been one of the most successful college football programs in the nation. Included in this success are 15 conference championships, seven Rose Bowl titles, and three national championships.
The Huskies have also sent 14 players and coaches to the College Football Hall of Fame, including Gil Dobie and Steve Emtman. There are also three Huskies in the Professional Football Hall of Fame. Halfback Hugh McElhenny, defensive tackle Arnie Weinmeister, and quarterback Warren Moon.
Outside of the Pac-12, however, most college football fans don’t realize how successful the Washington Huskies have been for more than a century of organized college football. Fortunately, that’s all about to change with the August 15 nationwide launch of the Pac-12 Network.
The Pac-12 signed a 12-year deal with ESPN and Fox Sports, the recognized leaders in regional sports broadcasting, giving them a solid foundation for the unveiling of the Pac-12 Network. The new national sports network will be made up of seven channels. One channel will be the national network, broadcasting the biggest games each week to a national audience, with the remaining six channels operating on a regional basis. In addition to Pac-12 Washington, which will provide total sports coverage of the Washington Huskies and the Washington State Cougars, the rest of the Pac-12 Network includes:
- Pac-12 Los Angeles (USC and UCLA)
- Pac-12 Arizona (Arizona State University and University of Arizona)
- Pac-12 Oregon (Oregon and Oregon State)
- Pac-12 Bay Area (Stanford and California)
- Pac-12 Mountain (Colorado University and the University of Utah)
The Huskies already had broadcasting deals in place with ABC-TV, Versus, ESPN, and the Fox Sports Network, making the transition to the Pac-12 Network easy. In addition to this coverage, the Huskies also have an exclusive deal in place with ROOT Sports to broadcast any games not picked up by the other networks, so long as ROOT Sports has the broadcast window to do so.
The ROOT Sports deal will end as the Pac-12 Network will broadcast every Pac-12 football and men’s basketball games. This type of national exposure will bring Huskies football to more than 40 million households when the network launches.
When the new network launches, it will do so with deals in place with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, and Bright House Networks. There is no word if the Pac-12 will be able to negotiate deals with Charter Communications and Cablevision, two of the larger cable television providers in the nation.
The larger and more pressing problem, however, is the lack of deals with satellite television providers DirecTV and DISH Network. The two satellite giants provide services to more than 48 million subscribers. Charter and Cablevision provide cable television to approximately eight million subscribers.
Larry Scott, Pac-12 commissioner and member of the Pac-12 Network executive team, has stated publicly he’s “quietly optimistic” the Pac-12 will have deals in place by the fall with the two satellite premium home television providers.
Even with some contracts still to be negotiated, the Pac-12, both conference and network, should be optimistic for the future. The popularity of the Pac-12 brand is indisputable and demand for the network should be high around the nation. For an excellent program like that at the University of Washington, this spells nothing but good news as a national audience will now have regular access to one of the most important college football programs in America.