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"Having other networks putting on college football is just a win for the fan," said Ilan Ben-Hanan, ESPN’s vice president of programming and acquisitions. "If you’re a Pac-12 fan, you’re going to be able to watch your team on a lot of different networks. What more can you ask for?"
Whereas the MWC used to announce schedules months in advance, the Pac-12’s TV deal means some game times and channels will be set three weeks or less before they’re played.
About the Pac-12 Network
The new sports channel will be on basic cable for Utah’s Comcast subscribers when it launches on Aug. 15. The league is still negotiating with Dish, DirecTV and myriad other cable companies.
Utes go first
Utah will get the honor of playing host to the Pac-12 Network’s inaugural football game.
Utah’s season opener against Northern Colorado on Aug. 30 is scheduled to start at 5:15 p.m. The early start time will allow the network to pair the game with the Arizona State-Northern Arizona contest, scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m.
"Fortunately, we’re in more of a power position on the times," Hill said. "We’re not going to play a football game 4 o’clock in the afternoon on Friday just to be on TV."
But Olympic sports might.
"Maybe the soccer team will play at 3 o’clock on a Friday afternoon when they would love to play under the lights at 7 when the crowd would be bigger," Hill said. "It’s a trade-off. We want to be on TV? It comes with a price.
"But it’s going to be worth it. Once fans get used to this, they’re going to love it."
Take it with you
If your cable company carries the Pac-12 Network, you’ll be able to watch the channel anytime, anywhere on your mobile device.
“Let’s say you’re traveling in Florida and you want to watch Utah play a football game,” said Gary Stevenson, pictured, chief executive of Pac-12 Media Enterprises. “You just put your authentication number in and you’ll be able to watch that game on your iPad while you’re sitting on the beach.”
If your cable or satellite company doesn’t carry the network, you cannot subscribe online only to the Pac-12 Network. That may come eventually, Stevenson said, but not this fall.
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