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Pac-12 Network could release early football schedule soon

By Bryan Fischer | Blogger
SAN DIEGO -- While talk of a BCS playoff has dominated the college football discussion around the country, it was not the first thing on the agenda as the Pac-12 kicked off three days of summer conference meetings. With the launch of seven networks on the horizon, athletic directors spent several hours in a hotel conference room on Friday going over details and scenarios regarding how, exactly, everything is supposed to come together over the coming months.

"It's exciting, T-minus 75 days, I think, until we launch on August 15th," commissioner Larry Scott said. "It's definitely very intense but things are going well. It's really going to be exciting."

The Pac-12 Networks are, according to Scott, going to be profitable from the beginning and will launch with guaranteed distribution from Comcast, Cox, Time Warner and Bright House Cable. While distribution talks with DirecTV, Dish Network, Verizon and AT&T among others are ongoing, the commissioner is optimistic that the providers will have the network on their systems by the time football season rolls around.

"Very good progress in all of the conversations we're having," he said. "It's too early to predict exactly what will happen - these are negotiations like everything else. We won't predict what will happen when. We know the quality of what we have on the air during football and basketball season is very, very strong."

In addition to a $3 billion media deal with ESPN and Fox, the Pac-12 Network has uniquely held back 35 football games to help drive distribution. Next week the league will hold a "draft" with their media partners in order to pick games for air and should release a schedule sometime shortly thereafter.

"As early as next week we could be announcing the first three or four weeks of our football schedule," Scott said. "I think the quality and quantity of what we have on our network will be pretty apparent."

"Everything after that will probably be a 12- or six-day pick," deputy commissioner Kevin Weiberg added.

The conference has already announced several former Pac-12 athletes as talent on the networks and is expected to unveil additional details closer to the launch date.

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