In July, the Pac-12 Networks' national channel is set to become part of Comcast's "starter" package — and in HD — meaning football fans will be able to watch all Pac-12 games.
The Pac-12 Networks has successfully “flipped” its programming feeds with its biggest cable partner, and that should be welcome news for many fans around the Pac-12 Conference.
Comcast has informed subscribers that, beginning July 21, it will make the Pac-12 Networks’ national feed part of its “digital starter” package, while switching the six regional Pac-12 channels — that’s Pac-12 Washington locally — to its higher-priced sports premium package.
Better yet, the Pac-12 national feed, to air on Channel 628 locally, will for the first time be available in HD. (It appears, however, that Pac-12 Washington, moving to Channel 430, will be in standard definition after the flip.)
Update: Most UW football fans in the Puget Sound region who have already subscribed to Comcast won’t notice any change from last fall. All UW games scheduled to air on the Pac-12 Networks — including the three nonconference games in September — will still be available as part of the basic “starter” subscription; now it will just be called the Pac-12 national channel.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Kraken unveil new mascot, a troll named Buoy
- DK Metcalf's injury-cart ride because of 'tummy ache' and locker room distance
- Geno Smith is more than serviceable as Seahawks QB. He's a game changer
- Russell Wilson's TikTok about Subway sandwich draws mockery
- Three things we learned from the Seahawks' 48-45 win over the Lions
In March, Pac-12 Networks president Lydia Murphy-Stephans told The Seattle Times that she had encouraged cable providers make this “flip” with the Pac-12’s national and regional channels. The change will allow the 4 million Comcast subscribers in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Utah and Colorado access to all Pac-12 football games and more than 100 conference basketball games — including the conference tournament games — plus 300 Olympic sports events.
This past basketball season, the six regional channels showed only the games featuring local teams. For example, while Arizona and Oregon played an overtime thriller in one semifinal at the men’s basketball tournament in March, local Comcast subscribers saw a replay of the UW-WSU game from the 2011 Pac-12 tournament on the Pac-12 Washington feed.
Comcast’s flip is especially good news for, say, Husky fans living in California or Cougar fans in Arizona, who otherwise would not have been able to watch most UW or WSU games under the localized programming model.
The Pac-12 shifted to the localized content last November in part because its cable partners didn’t want to carry seven different networks that essentially had the same programming. Comcast’s decision to flip the national-regional channels should alleviate a lot of the angst the Pac-12 had heard from fans since November — angst that no doubt would have escalated once the 2016 football season kicked off.
Erik Hardenbergh, Pac-12 vice president for public affairs, called Comcast’s flip “a big win” for fans and the Pac-12.
Hardenbergh, by the way, said the Pac-12 continues to work with DirecTV, but the two sides appear still far apart on a potential deal. Last year, presidents and CEOs at the conference’s universities voted 11-0 against a proposed agreement between the Pac-12 and DirecTV, and Hardenbergh said the conference “is frustrated that (DirecTV) is not working with us.”