A few weeks back, the Pac 10/12 quietly announced that there was a "strong likelihood" that the Conference would start its own cable channel in 2012.
As with any other major undertaking the "Devil is in the Details," and buried in the details of the conference's plan for its own network are a couple of factors that helped the Texas/Big 12/Pac 10 merger fall through.
Schools would be expected to contribute all of their third-tier TV rights, the ones not picked up by the conference’s broadcast and cable partners. That includes any games not picked up by those main network partners.
Schools also would be expected to surrender their digital video rights to the channel.
Texas did not build state of the art multi-media facilities in the north endzone in order to turn over all media rights to a conference.
Pac 10 Commissioner Lary Scott was also quoted as saying that his leagues channel would "have more premium content on it than the Big Ten has." The Pac 10/12 will expect try to keep some attractive conference matchups in both football and baskeball for its own network. They will also have a selection of non-sports content, much like the Big 10.
When the Big 12/Pac 10 deal fell through this summer, negotiations heated up between Texas and ESPN about the Longhorn Channel. There has been no formal announcement, but is has been reported that the two will sign a deal worth between $12-15 million a year to Texas.
Texas reportedly will make as much as 4 times a year more from the ESPN/Longhorn Channel deal than they could from a conference TV network package.
A lot of conferences and schools have looked at the success of the Big 10 Network and dreamed of their own private channel. However, the start up costs are daunting, and getting clearance from the various cable and dish outlets can be difficult as well.
Tom Cullen of the Dish Network sounded a warning for Texas or any other entity looking to launch its own network.
"We’re the value provider in our industry and we’re not afraid to not carry a channel," said Cullen, executive vice president of sales, marketing and programming. "We don’t have YES [Network], and that’s been a very unpopular thing. We have to be selective. … In the early days of this, we had more capacity than content. That’s not the case anymore."