Everywhere he goes — and that means everywhere — Colorado athletic director Rick George is dogged by a familiar question from Buffaloes fans.
When are they going to be able to see Buffs’ games on their televisions?
It’s not really a sore subject with George. He’s happy to tell people what he knows. But he would love to be armed by the Pac-12 Conference with some new material sooner rather than later.
“It comes up as often as anything we discuss,” George said. “This issue comes up about the ability to be able to see our broadcasts. It comes up all the time and it comes up wherever we go because people want to see our broadcasts and it’s important to them. Yes, we hear about it quite often.”
The reality is while Colorado football and basketball games are widely available across the nation, many of them are on the Pac-12 Networks, which are not as widely distributed as networks such as ESPN and FOX, where CU used to play often when it was in the Big 12. Fans with providers that don’t carry the Pac-12 Networks are left to either change providers or find a friend or bar nearby that does carry the Pac-12 Network.
George and many of his colleagues around the conference are hopeful that a recent takeover of DirecTV by AT&T will lead to a long-awaited distribution deal between DirecTV and the Pac-12 Networks. AT&T is the conference’s biggest corporate partner. That would put the Pac-12 Networks in millions of homes it doesn’t currently have access to, and it would give almost everyone in the state of Colorado access to the network through either Comcast, Dish Network or DirecTV.
A deal with DirecTV would also bolster the Pac-12 Networks’ long-term potential for larger revenues and distributions to member institutions, but it will not single-handedly fix the conference’s problem of lagging behind the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference in terms of annual revenue.
George said there is a lot to like about the Pac-12 Networks. He said the fact that the conference owns 100 percent of the network is a positive. He said broadcasting 850 live events throughout the year on the networks provides each of the school’s unprecedented exposure. But he believes the conference has to reach a broader level of distribution on its own through more distribution deals or sell a part of the network to FOX or ESPN or another large television network in order to give the conference greater leverage for gaining the necessary distribution.
Kyle Ringo: twitter.com/kyleringo