The Pac-12 late kickoff window is closed on all games on the conference’s Networks. It’s a relatively minor revelation emanating from this weekend’s Pac-12 meetings, but one generating disproportionate buzz on social media.
The first and perhaps most important takeaway is that this does not mean the end of Saturday night kickoffs altogether. Moving 7 p.m. Pacific and later kickoffs on Pac-12 Networks to an 11 a.m. Pacific window will not impact the conference’s visibility on the ESPN family of networks or the burgeoning Fox Sports 1, both of which had priority when selecting games for broadcast.
Realistically, this move only impacts a small percentage of the conference’s complete slate of late kickoffs on Pac-12 Networks in 2013. This includes 6:30 p.m. PT starts.
Week 1: UCLA 58, Nevada 20
Week 2: Stanford 34, San Jose State 13
Week 3: Arizona 38, UT-San Antonio 13
Week 4: UCLA 59, New Mexico State 13
Washington State 42, Idaho 0
Week 5: Oregon 55, Cal 16*
Week 7: Arizona State 54, Colorado 13*
Week 8: Arizona 35, Utah 24*
Week 12: Arizona State 30, Oregon State 17* (6:30 PT kickoff)
Week 13: USC 47, Colorado 29* (6:30 PT kickoff)
Week 14: Arizona State 58, Arizona 21* (6:30 PT kickoff)
That’s 11 games total, six in-conference. Take away the three 6:30 Pacific start times, and just eight games from the 2013 schedule are impacted under the new structure.
Of the conference matchups that fell in the Pac-12 Networks’ late window, nearly every featured Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah. Colorado and Utah are, of course, Mountain Time; Arizona and Arizona State make that transition in November.
Attendance will likely prove to be of much greater concern with the 11 a.m. window than television exposure. Though it’s only an hour difference, attendance for noon kicks and 11 a.m. could be considerable. For that reason, it’s likely that the Mountain time zone teams occupy the lion’s share of those start times.
The main challenge for the Pac-12 Networks remains accessibility, most notably the conference’s longstanding impasse with DirecTV. Positive movement was made in that regard this spring, however, when AT&T acquired the satellite provider in a buyout.
AT&T carries Pac-12 Networks as part of its U-Verse service.