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Pac-12 Network debuts

August 15, 2012: Launch called “tremendous, tremendous step”

PAYSON — At 6 p.m. Wednesday night, the Pac-12 joined the Big Ten as conferences with their own television network.

“It’s a great brand builder,” ASU AD Steve Patterson said. “It’s great for getting exposure for all our great universities.”

Football and men’s basketball will anchor the network’s coverage but just as important according to Patterson will be the coverage it will provide for other sports.

“It’s great for building interest in all the Olympic sports that traditionally don’t get a lot of exposure. It’s great for the women sports that haven’t gotten as much exposure as they’ve probably deserved.

“From an image standpoint, from a revenue standpoint, from a brand building standpoint, I think it’s a huge, huge hit for all of us.”

At the moment, however, not everyone is able to watch the network. Satellite providers Dish and DirecTV have yet to add the channel, and offer it to their subscribers.

“These kind of distribution negotiations always go down to the wire, sometimes go over the wire a little bit,” Patterson said as he watched football practice.

“All that we’re looking for is the kind of the distribution that the Big Ten Network and other networks get at the same kind of a rate. I think it’s a very fair proposal. Hopefully the folks that aren’t currently carrying it come to that conclusion and we can be on so we can service all of our fans across the country.”

The Sun Devils dodged rain drops during their second of two practices on day one at Camp Tontozona.

Junior defensive end Junior Onyeali had perhaps the play of the day. He jumped up at the line of scrimmage to pick off a pass thrown by quarterback Taylor Kelly.

Head coach Todd Graham liked what he saw on what was the final scheduled two-a-day. “Really, really spirited day…very impressive day. I thought our guys got a lot accomplished.”

Graham again mentioned the kicking competition. Incumbent starter Alex Garoutte is being pushed by junior college transfers Jon Mora and Dillon Jackson.

“We’ve got a lot of talent at our place kicking position,” Graham said. “We’ve got a good competition right now. I think we’ve really improved our ability there. We just got to get more consistent about what we’re doing.”

It was Mora who was the first kicker of record in both the morning and afternoon practice.

In addition to Patterson, ASU president Dr. Michael Crow was in attendance. Crow addressed the team after practice.

Graham joked about his first day at Camp T, “It was a special day for me. It’s the first time Frank (Kush) hugged me. He usually punches me.”