Remember when everyone and his brother were hailing Pac-12 Commish Larry Scott for his genius in negotiating his conference’s new broadcast deals? All that money, served up on a platter.
Yeah, well, the bill’s come due.
The Pac-12 is in discussions with its network partners to change programming practices and avoid another season with an overwhelming number of night games, according to sources inside and outside the conference.
I wouldn’t necessarily characterize the back-and-forth as negotiations, because the league has a contract with ESPN and Fox that isn’t going away for a decade.
But Pac-12 officials were not happy with the ’13 broadcast schedule and are working with their partners to find an acceptable resolution for all parties involved. One source called the league’s approach “fair but firm.”
The conference spent three months listening to complaints from fans and school officials. Commissioner Larry Scott and his lieutenant are keenly aware of the frustration.
Whether they can do anything about it remains to be seen.
A $3 billion dollar deal and the networks want say so over broadcast times. Some kinda nerve there.
But here’s what they can do: They can reduce or eliminate the exclusive window for the over-the-air broadcasts on ABC and Big FOX.
Maybe they eliminate it altogether.
Maybe they scrap it for half of the 10 broadcasts.
Either way, it would create more flexibility for the Pac12Nets.
I don’t know the specifics of the options being discussed.
But I know this: If nothing changes, the uproar from fans and campuses will be significant.
Maybe Larry can hit ’em into silence with the conference’s bank account. After all, we know who’s gonna win here.