Last week, I contacted the Pac-12 Networks in San Francisco on behalf of Husky Haul with some questions regarding to access and availability for Pac-12 fans to see games via the Pac-12 Network either through cable or internet. Kirk Reynolds, Vice-President for Communications for the Pac-12 Network, then contacted me agreeing to answer some questions. Despite the very busy time in his schedule, working hard to set up studios and offices and preparing for the August 15th launch, Kirk Reynolds was kind enough to take some time out of his schedule to answer some questions for us.
Jeff Taylor: Thank you so much Kirk for taking the time to answer questions about the Pac-12 Network for the readers of Husky Haul and Washington fans in general. So, let me ask you my first question. On your FAQ sheet, you list your current provider partners as Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Bright House Networks. For the millions of us who have a subscriber other than those four networks, will there be any other option available for us to watch Pac-12 games in the near term or long term?
Kirk Reynolds: Yes. We are working hard on securing agreements with many more service providers – big and small. DirecTV, DISH, Charter, AT&T Uverse are frequently brought up by fans, but we are also working on the smaller service providers within the footprint. We will certainly announce those deals as they happen, but also encourage fans to continue to contact their providers to let them know they want the Pac-12 Networks. Those calls and emails do make a difference.
Jeff Taylor: If you live outside of the Pac-12 footprint (say in New Jersey), will there be the possibility to get one of the regional networks or an al a
carte package with cable or online to allow you to view only the games of university you graduated from?
Kirk Reynolds: In order to get the Pac-12 Networks you do need to be a subscriber to one of our distribution partners. We do not have a la carte options. Subscribers outside of the footprint would likely get the national network through a sports tier and would have access to all of the regionals on your computer, tablet, smartphone through your provider’s TV Everywhere service.
Jeff Taylor: I live in Arizona, but am a Washington fan. Can I get access just to the Washington regional network via cable or internet?
Kirk Reynolds: Yes, as long as you are a subscriber to one of our partners (we will be adding more to the original four) you would have to the other regionals through your provider’s TV Everywhere service. It should be noted that there will be 350 events carried across all seven networks simultaneously, including (with a few exceptions) all football and men’s basketball games. So, as a Husky fan you will get all of the football and men’s basketball games no matter where you live, as long as you are a subscriber to the Pac-12 Networks.
Jeff Taylor: Many people, like myself, have given up traditional TV/cable and gone to internet-only media in which we watch all games, shows, and movies online using media like Netflix and Hulu. If we have an internet provider (like Suddenlink for me), that does not agree to be a partner, what recourse do we have (other than sending them an email, as I already have)?
Kirk Reynolds: Aside from continuing to pressure your service provider to carry the Pac-12 Networks, you would have to switch to a provider who does have the networks.
Jeff Taylor: Has the Pac-12 Network considered the possibility of having a stand-alone subscriber service where fans could pay a subscription fee and
get an individual login to watch games online?
Side note: I know I’d certainly be willing to spend $10/month or $100/year to be able to watch every University of Washington football and basketball
Kirk Reynolds: This question has come up quite a bit, but a la carte is simply not an option. You do have to subscribe to one of the distribution partners to get the networks.
Jeff Taylor: I travel a lot, so I am constantly getting onto many different internet providers via wifi. Will there be options available for people to get onto
the Pac-12 Network no matter where they are?
Kirk Reynolds: Absolutely. The TV Everywhere service that the distribution partners provide will allow fans to access the games on their computers, tablets and smartphones. So, if you are on a business trip you would be able to watch Pac-12 Networks programming on your connected devices.
Jeff Taylor: I know there are millions of Pac-12 fans outside of the Pac-12 footprint, as well as, many that live overseas either in the military or as civilian workers. When I lived in Italy for 4-years, I would have to use pirated services like justin.tv to watch games. Does the Pac-12 network have any long-term plans to increase access for those fans outside of the footprint?
Kirk Reynolds: Definitely. We understand that many Pac-12 alums and fans are overseas and we want to reach as many as we can. Plus, Commissioner Scott launched a globalization initiative last year to better showcase our schools internationally and the Pac-12 Networks will play a significant role in those efforts. There are regulation hurdles to clear when securing distribution in international markets so those take a little more time, but they are part of the plan.
Jeff Taylor: I have just a couple of more questions regarding the Pac-12 Networks distribution. These are specific to the regional channels. Where will the boundaries be located between the Bay Area and Los Angeles channels and will all of the state of California be covered by at least one of them?
Kirk Reynolds: Fresno will get Bay Area and Bakersfield will get Los Angeles.
Jeff Taylor: Is San Diego included in the Los Angeles region?
Kirk Reynolds: San Diego will get the Los Angeles regional as well.
Jeff Taylor: Will there be overlap of adjoining states, particularly with the regional channels? For instance, will Las Vegas be included in the Los Angeles or Arizona region? Will Wyoming, parts of Nevada, and parts of New Mexico be included in the Mountain Region? Will Idaho be included as part
of Washington or Oregon or Mountain (especially the part near Spokane?).
Kirk Reynolds: This is still a bit fluid, but the general rule is it will be divided by DMA. So, if you live in Washington, but are considered part of the Portland DMA (get the Portland stations) you will likely get the Oregon regional. Some areas, like Las Vegas, will get the national network. Once again, it should be noted that 350 events will be carried across all seven networks, including the football and men’s basketball games.
Jeff Taylor: Will Hawaii or Alaska be included?
Kirk Reynolds: Absolutely. We are trying to reach as many fans as we can and there are certainly a lot of them in Hawaii and Alaska, not to mention many families of Pac-12 student-athletes who live in those areas.
Jeff Taylor: Thanks again for taking time out of your very busy schedule to answer some questions for the Husky Haul. I realize you must be really swamped right now with preparing for the August 15th launch. I know I for one are excited about this opportunity and hope that my provider will get on board!