BERKELEY, Calif. – As president of the fledgling Pac-12 Enterprises, the new media wing that will include the conference-owned network and its six regional affiliates, these are busy times for Gary Stevenson.
But the veteran television executive expressed confidence the Pac-12 Network will be readily available when it launches this August.
“We’re in the process on working on other affiliate deals now and we feel good about it,” Stevenson said Saturday while attending California’s spring game. “We’re getting a good response.”
The main focus of those negotiations is with satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network, who have nearly 35 million subscribers combined. There are also discussions with AT&T and Verizon to include the network on its U-Verse and FIOS systems.
The Pac-12 already announced carriage deals last July with four cable providers – Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, and Bright House. Stevenson said they would carry the network on the basic tier in the seven states that compose the conference’s footprint.
Asked when other agreements could be announced, Stevenson was optimistic but did not elaborate further.
“Our timetable is tomorrow,” he said. “We feel confident because at the end of the day it boils down to content. Our content is good. It’s not like we’re asking anybody to carry something that consumers wouldn’t be interested in.”
The network will broadcast 35 football games, including multiple games during Labor Day weekend, 140 men’s basketball games and 50-60 women’s basketball games this season.
“In the 13 week schedule, we have either the first or second pick in seven of those weeks so our content will be good,” Stevenson said. “These are going to be good football games.”
One game likely to be included when the initial TV schedule is finalized in early June is the Golden Bears’ home opener against Nevada on Sept. 1 for the reopening of a renovated Memorial Stadium.
“I would think that the Nevada-Cal game has a good chance of being on our network,” Stevenson said. “To open that stadium is really fun for us the first weekend, but it is not definite. I would say if the schedule unfolds like we think it is going to unfold that game would be on our network.”
Dan Greenspan is the publisher of Cal Sports Digest and covers the Pac-12 for Fox Sports/Scout.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan.