Which brings us to the discussions/negotiations that began months ago ….
In a significant show of good faith, ESPN and Fox agreed to eliminate the window of exclusivity AND cap the number of night games at a slightly higher total than they showed in ’13.
(Remember: There are no restrictions in the original contract regarding the number of night games that can be shown by the ESPN and Fox families, and the networks paid $3 billion in part because the conference offered unprecedented flexibility with the schedule. More games in new real estate equals more money.)
Naturally, the league had to give up something in return, and it was this:
A reduction in the minimum number of national telecasts (i.e., ABC or FOX over-the-air) from the current total of 10. (FOX was responsible for eight, ABC for two, and not surprisingly, FOX was pushing for the reduction.)
All told: Fewer national telecasts but far fewer night games and a cap on the number of night games in the future.
Seems like a fair deal … like a good deal for the Pac-12, right?
But the conference said no.
Why in the world … ?
Based on everything I’ve gathered from sources, the league determined that removing the exclusive window would not reduce the net total of night games below the 2013 figure.
Even if the Pac12Nets moved a handful of games into the late-afternoon window, FS1 would likely offset that reduction with a slight uptick in night games on its schedule — not in 2014, perhaps, but in future years as the network acquires more programming.
According to sources, Scott was under significant pressure from Pac-12 presidents/chancellors to reduce the total, using the 2013 figure as a baseline.
The networks didn't have to remove the exclusivity or bump the cap, and because they did, it should have shown the schools that the networks also stood to gain from what the PAC schools wanted. Because, what the networks saw when those games were put on at night: nobody in the east (that's where the people are, PAC folks) watched the product. So, PAC schools don't make money from empty stadiums and upset fans and alums, while networks don't make money because there isn't an audience demand for it.
We keep thinking the ACC and Big XII are weak conferences...geez, these guys are bleepin' out of their minds.