The absence of football on the Pac-12 Networks this fall won’t stop the networks from promoting Pac-12 football.
They’re going all-in from the outside.
“We’ll be as active as we can to push people to the games on Fox and ESPN,’’ Larry Meyers, the executive vice president for content, told the Hotline last week.
“They’re our partners. We’re one big family.”
All football games for the first six weeks of the season will be broadcast on FOX, FS1, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ABC, leaving the conference’s wholly-owned media company scrambling to promote the Pac-12’s chief export.
The decision to place every game on the major networks, including eight Friday matchups, was a financial necessity:
The conference generates millions of dollars more per broadcast from Fox and ESPN than it does from the Pac-12 Networks.
“It was an easy decision,” a conference source said.
(The schedule for Dec. 19, or Week Seven, has not been finalized.)
The absence of games, budget cuts, staff reductions and health restrictions related to Covid-19 have conspired to limit the Pac-12 Networks’ programming options:
— There will be no mid-week studio show on the linear network.
— The Saturday pregame show has been scrapped in all forms — nothing from the campuses, nothing from the San Francisco studio.
“It’s most effective when it’s the lead-in for a game,’’ Meyers said.
— The networks will produce regular short-form content on Saturdays, all of it available (free) on the digital platform.
— The postgame show will air on Saturdays night from the San Francisco studios, as it has in the past, with anchor Ashley Adamson and analyst Yogi Roth.
The format will be “fun and light,” according to Meyers, with Adamson and Roth spending limited time behind the desk.
Networks analysts will join the conversation remotely, with some content focused on upcoming matchups.
— The “Pac-12 in 60’’ broadcasts, in which the full game is condensed into a one-hour window, are still scheduled to air each week.
— The networks are planning to show a full load of men’s and women’s basketball games — more than 100 for each sport, perhaps.
“It will be a robust year for basketball,’’ Meyers said.
The plan for basketball studio shows will be finalized once the schedules become official in the next few weeks.
Also to be determined: The sound strategy for broadcasting from empty arenas.
“We’re looking for options to enhance the audio around what the schools are doing,’’ Meyers said.