...and you can fill in the rest of the phrase from comedian Dave Chappelle.
The Pac-12 will get paid through shared rightsholders ESPN and FOX Sports Media Group, and take full ownership of a network that they will create themselves. It looks like all ESPN networks and ABC will get involved and FSMG will supply their broadcast network, F/X and FSN to televise content.
The interesting route is that they will retain the complete ownership of their conference network and create a digital component for it, like a Pac12Network.com. No word if they'll be leveraging any of the technology companies that reside in the Pac-12 footprint to start up the digital piece, but they have plenty of options to choose from (Microsoft, HP, Google, Yahoo among others). This year, Youtube was leveraged to air the first round and quarterfinal rounds of the women's basketball championship. Youtube also was the place where the conference's 12 team logo was unveiled.
ESPN was thought to be out of the game, including by me, due to the amount of money being committed, but by sharing rights, the load on both FOX and ESPN is lessened somewhat. What will be interesting is how the games are scheduled between the two networks, who has 1st pick on a given week in football, who gets the top MBK games, etc.
FOX and ESPN will rotate coverage of the men's basketball and football championships. It appears that one network will cover the football championship and the other gets the men's basketball championship. FSMG has the rights to both in 2011 and from the NYT's article, FOX will have the football championship & ESPN will have the men's basketball championship in even numbered years and then flip coverage in odd numbered years (F/X could also air the men's basketball championship).
Comcast apparently dropped out last week, which makes you wonder if they had budgeted X amount of dollars towards either the NHL or the Pac-12 and when they signed their NHL deal, had to pull back on the Pac-12. Comcast's regional networks should still be able to show some content through their affiliation with FOX Sports Net.
For 2011, FSMG will have 24 Pac-12 football games on FSN & F/X, the football championship game on FOX and 65 men's basketball games (number includes all of the conference tournament) for airing on FSN and possibly other networks as games have been licensed to ESPN and CBS. ESPN has rights to 20 football games to air on ABC and/or ESPN and they have priority in weekly selection of football games. It will be interesting to see if these numbers remain the same or if the conference pulled back content from the 2011 numbers for their network.
We shall see tomorrow.