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Pac-12 lands deal with ESPN and FOX, creates own network

The newly formed Pac-12 Conference announced the creation of a Pac-12 Network Wednesday morning to go along with their new 12-year broadcasting partnership with ESPN and Fox Sports Media.

The “landmark deal”, which goes into effect in 2012, includes 44 regular-season football games televised annually on select ESPN, FOX, or national cable networks including ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, FOX and FX.

“We are especially delighted to be strengthening and expanding our relationship with ESPN and FOX Sports to deliver an unprecedented level of innovative sports programming to large national audiences across the country,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott.

Ten of those football games will be on a combination of ABC and FOX annually with a “full national clearance with a substantial commitment for primetime coverage,” according to Scott. The other 34 regular-season games will be split between the national cable networks.

The Pac-12 Football Championship game, which will take place on a Friday night in primetime, will also be broadcast on FOX Sports in 2012 and then rotate between FOX and ESPN each year.

As for basketball, 68 regular-season men’s games will be broadcast across the assortment of ESPN and FOX channels, with the conference’s tournament (quarterfinals, semi-finals and the championship game) being shown first on ESPN/ESPN2 then rotating with FOX/FX each year thereafter.

Five women’s basketball games, including the Pac-12 championship game, plus 10 more Olympic sports events will be shown on the ESPN family of networks.

“The partnership with ESPN and FOX Sports will be a natural complement to our future plans, which we look forward to sharing soon,” Scott said.

All remaining football and basketball games will be featured exclusively on the new Pac-12 Network. The channel will broadcast an average of approximately three collegiate football games per week and over 120 men’s basketball games each year.

Several hundred other live Pac-12 athletic events will be shown exclusively on the conference’s new channel, with the network featuring approximately 200 live Olympic sporting events across 30 men’s and women’s sports annually.

“These new platforms will also provide us with an unprecedented opportunity to control the distribution of our intellectual property rights in sports, education and other Conference and membership initiatives,” Scott said.

Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University and chairman of the Pac-12 CEO Group, felt that this deal would help the conference’s universities even beyond the increased national exposure.

“At a time when universities, and especially state universities, find themselves greatly challenged to meet budget commitments, an arrangement that will secure an important revenue and exposure stream over a 12-year period is especially helpful,” Crow said. “This is truly a great day for our students, alumni, and fans everywhere.”