BY SPNW Staff 09:11PM 05/24/2016

Pac-12 approves cutting back late-night football

By advancing some game starts to 2:30 and 6 p.m., the Pac-12 hopes to eliminate up to four games that would have started at 7 p.m. or later.

Husky Stadium looks good at night, better during the day. / Sportspress Northwest file

The worst thing about contemporary Pac-12 Conference football — late Saturday starts for TV — apparently will get some reduction, but not elimination. The Pac-12 announced Tuesday that presidents and chancellors approved a plan to pursue more starts at 2:30 and 6 p.m. local times, instead of 7 p.m. or later.

The conference said it could eliminate up to four late starts. Not much, but it’s a start.

“The Pac-12 has some of the most loyal fans in college athletics and we appreciate our television partners working with us on this important issue for fans,” Rob Mullens, University of Oregon athletics director, said in a press release. “The increased exposure and revenue from our contract with ESPN and FOX has been instrumental to our success, but we continue to work hard to minimize as much as possible the negative impact late start times have on our fans who travel great distances to see our teams in person.”

Under the modification, a Pac-12 Network game can start either at 2:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. local time and overlap with an ESPN or FOX exclusive TV window.

In another change for the 2016-17 academic year, the Pac-12 will fine schools that allow fans to storm football fields or basketball courts. First violation is $25,000, second is $50,000, third is $100,000.

Also approved was an agreement to televise eSports — competitive video gaming — on the Pac-12 Networks using campus teams. There will be head-to-head match-ups in studios as well as a tourney in conjunction with a Pac-12 championship event.

No word on whether eSports will persuade DirecTV to think the Pac-12 Networks are worth the price to carry the conference programming.



  • Comrade Suge

    No wonder the Pac-12 lags behind the Big Ten and SEC. The presidents of the school want all this TV revenue. Getting TV revenue requires giving into the networks and playing at their times to fit their schedule. Now they want less prime time games. Talk about wanting your cake and eating it too. Either agree to the times ESPN and Fox want and take the money or don’t and shut the f-ck up about the lack of TV revenues compared to the other two big conferences.

    • art thiel

      The Pac-12’s mistake was in retaining ownership of the net rather than rev-share with FOX/ESPN.

      Plus, being in the Pacific time zone means their night national games are NOT in prime time in the Eastern and Central time zones.

      • Comrade Suge

        I get that but why would the networks want to put Pac-12 (especially one’s not featuring USC or Oregon) games up against better games in their region?

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  • jafabian

    Not sure about this. Great for fans on the West Coast but impacts recruiting/brand recognition West of the Mississippi. Why not just have a Pac-12 game of the week? Everyone does one late night game.

    • Comrade Suge

      Let me ask you this: if you’re in the midwest, east, and south, who do you think will get top billing? SEC/Big Ten/ACC/Big XII or Pac-12? It’s easier to just say: “let’s play our games at 5pm PT for the east coast prime time. Great, that puts you up against the best games in those regions. Quite frankly, without a good USC (which they won’t be seeing how they’ve completely lost the plot with their latest hire), good luck getting top billing at the 8pm ET slot (Oregon might be able to pull it off but forget about the rest of the conference).