Quantcast

Pierce: It will be easier to see WCC's tourney than Pac-12's

Published March 6, 2013 9:57 am

DirecTV • Pac-12 Network is still building, but still without a deal with the satellite giant.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

BYU fans will have easier access to the WCC tournament than fans of any other team in the state will have to their tournaments — including the fans in red.

The eight games in the West Coast Conference tournament all will be on TV — three on BYUtv (available in approximately 60 million homes); two on ESPNU (74 million); two on ESPN2 (99 million) and one on ESPN (99 million). That's an average of 78 million homes per game.

The Pac-12 tournament will feature nine games on the Pac-12 Network (approximately 60 million homes) and two on ESPN — an average of 67 million homes.

Which means ... not much. The Pac-12 could have aired more games on ESPN, but the league is trying to build P12N distribution.

And DirecTV subscribers will be able to watch the Cougars but won't be able to watch the Utes. There's no news on the DirecTV front from the Pac-12, and no news is bad news. The satellite giant still insists the "Pac-12 either needs to agree to a price to make it affordable for all of our customers ... or allow Pac-12 fans to buy the network separately or purchase individual games on demand."

Meanwhile at the Pac-12, they were befuddled when DirecTV added Time Warner Cable's SportsNet (and the Lakers) last fall, "an especially confusing statement because 50 providers ... have agreed to the same deal they are being offered" by P12N.

Locally, the complaints about DirecTV/P12N seem to have slowed considerably. There are two possible explanations for that:

• All the DirecTV subscribers/fans have switched to Comcast or Dish Network.

• The number of Ute fans who complain is directly proportional to the success the Utes are having on the court.

Chances are, it's Reason No. 2. And the complaints will ramp up again as we approach the 2013 football season.

If there are reasons for optimism at this point, it's difficult to see what they might be.

The West Coast Conference, on the other hand, isn't spending any time worrying about distribution of its (unofficial) TV network — BYUtv. And if you're a fan of any of the other eight teams in the league, you ought to send a thank-you note to Provo because without the Cougars' in-house TV network, you'd see less of your men's teams and almost nothing of your women's teams in the postseason tournaments.

The first three games of the men's tournament — games no national network is interested in — are on BYUtv. The first seven games of the women's tournament, which also drew no interest from national networks, are also on BYUtv. The final is on ESPNU.

(The Pac-12 women do slightly better — 10 games on P12N and the final on ESPN2.)

WCC commissioner Jamie Zaninovich made it clear that the league is, to some degree, indebted to its newest member because BYUtv helps "enhance both our national and international exposure for the tournament." Of course, the WCC also rejiggered its tournament schedules to avoid Sunday play on BYU's behalf.

Basically, both the WCC and the Pac-12 have very good TV exposure. The WAC (including Utah State) and the Big Sky (Weber State, Southern Utah) — not so much.

The WAC men's and women's finals and the Big Sky men's final are on ESPNU. Nothing else will be televised.

Aggie fans can check out wacsports.tv. Big Sky games are not currently scheduled to air online.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce. —