Pac-12 Media Day Opening Remarks

LOS ANGELES - Here are Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott's opening remarks at Pac-12 Media Day, held Tuesday at the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal Studios. Also on hand was Pac-12 Networks President Gary Stevenson, who also had some opening remarks.

Good morning. I'm Larry Scott, Commissioner of the Pac-12 Conference and if gives me pleasure to welcome you all to Universal for the Pac-12 Media Football Day. For over 40 years, some of the best musical talent in the country has performed here, and it's a fitting place for our coaches and student-athletes to be here with you today to share about the exciting upcoming football season.

I want to thank the media for your support during the season and for a great turnout today. I also want to thank our friends from Universal and Gibson and for the great hospitality you provide.

We're happy to be here in Los Angeles, one of our most important markets for such a key event for the conference, and I especially want to welcome our Bowl partners who are here in attendance today. We appreciate your commitment to the conference over the years, the experiences and the competitive atmosphere you provide for our student-athletes.

This is my fourth Pac-12 Media Football Day, and it certainly is and continues to be a dynamic time in college sports. I would like to think there is no more exciting place to be than the Pac-12 today. Our foundation lies on the field where we're known as the "Conference of Champions." We certainly lived up on that moniker again this year, 9 NCAA championships across all sports, again, the most of my conference in the country. This brings to us a total of 451 NCAA championships, again, more than any conference in the country. It's fit that go we're having media day this week and can preview the upcoming season on the eave of the Olympic Games starting in London.

The reason is the Pac-12 figures prominently in the Olympics, given the broad-based excellence of our student-athletes. I'm proud to report at the current time the tally is 239 current or former Pac-12 student-athletes that will be participating in this year's Olympic Games. They will represent more than 40 countries, including making up nearly 25% of team USA.

In 2008, at the Beijing Olympics, Pac-12 athletes won 89 medals, and we will track that in London, current and former [athletes] represented there.

In August, the Pac-12 is going to be making its inaugural tour of China as part of the first ever China Sports Week that we're pioneering. We're thrilled that the UCLA men's basketball team will be over there representing the conference, competing against Chinese basketball teams and participating in goodwill activities.

This trip is a positive step in our efforts to promote the conference and member institutions through education and cultural exchange and sport. Also, that same week, the volleyball team one of the premiere teams in China from Nanjing are going to be visiting the United States and they're going to be playing competitions in California against USC, UCLA, Stanford and Cal.

Before we shift to this year's football season, and the Pac-12 season in particular, I do want to take a moment to acknowledge the monumental recent changes in the postseason college football format. The four-team playoff set to start in the 2004 team season is a positive step forward for our sport and will be a great format for our student-athletes, fans and institutions.

After many, many months of discussions with our student-athletes, coaches, fellow commissioners, our institutions, I believe we crafted a very artful balance, giving fans what they want in terms of true playoff format, where it's won on the field, and also preserving the importance of the regular season and America's bowl tradition.

While we're excited about this new era in college football that's going to be starting in the 2014 season, there is a lot of excitement about the ?season that's right before us. We're counting the days until this fall.

For the first time in conference history, I think we will look at the season as an inflection where the conference is going to be receiving the national exposure it richly deserves. Beginning with this football season, our conference is going to receive unprecedented exposure that will rival anything any conference has.

This season kicks off new broadcast agreements with partners ESPN and Fox, two of the innovators in broadcasting of sports. And for the first time 44 Pac-12 football games will be broadcast to a 100 percent national audience. Gone are the days of regional broadcasts on ABC or Fox. This is going to be a major movement, major change in terms of the national exposure and recognition our conference gets.

On top of that, we're 22 days away from the launching of Pac-12 networks. This is going to be a major innovation and a new and exciting development in the world of college sports the first conference to completely own and control its own network. Starting August 15th, the conference is launching one national network and six regional [networks] dedicated solely to the Pac-12 to all of our sports.

In tandem, we're going to be launching a digital network of multi-platform, multi-device network that will reach fans via the web, mobile devices, Internet connected TVs, gaming consoles; the idea is Pac-12 content, anywhere, anytime, by any device.

My colleague, Gary Stevenson is going to provide you more detail shortly about the Pac-12 networks, but I wanted to underscore what an important step this is for our conference and really what it will mean for our fans. The launching of the linear TV networks and the digital networks means more live sports, more Pac-12 championships, and connecting fans with their favorite teams. The impact on our universities and student-athletes will be great. Every football game this season will be available on television, a reward for our hard-working players, a great recruiting tool for our coaches and our schools.

At the foundation of these exciting new media initiatives is our tradition of impressive play on the field, and we expect the same this year with talent spread throughout the conference in what may be the strongest and deepest conference for many years. In the past two years the Pac-12 has sent two teams to BCS bowl games, and we're in a good position to build on this success.

And thanks to a innovative group of coaches, including the addition of four great football minds as coaches in our conference this year, the Pac-12 brand of exciting, innovative football continues, and we believe our new coaches will build upon that legacy. I want to officially welcome Rich Rodriguez, Todd Graham, Jim Mora and Mike Leach to the conference. We're thrilled they're here and thrilled about the excitement, the creativity these coaches are going to bring to the Pac-12 brand of football.

The stakes are high once again. Our teams will be competing in the North and South divisions for the right to play in the Pac-12 football Championship game, our second ever scheduled for Friday, November 30th, on Fox Broadcast Network in prime time. The game will be played on the home field of the team with the best record, providing the national audience the chance to appreciate our conference.

In the second year, we're proud that this unique home-school environment and fan excitement is unique to our conference and gives us the kind of atmosphere we feel is fitting for a conference football championship. Last year we sent seven teams to postseason bowl games. We expect to build upon that success this season and we feel like we are primed for a terrific Pac-12 football season.

As a conference overall, not only on the field but off the field, we're going to continue to push innovation, and this year will be significant in so many respects with the new ways we are going to have to promote and expose our football product, and I feel like it's only the beginning. Again, thank you for being here. Today is about the coaches and the student-athletes and previewing the exciting season ahead.

Off the field, probably the most exciting development for our conference in many years is the launch of our networks. Gary Stevenson came on board as president of Pac-12 networks last fall. He's done a tremendous job, had an exact time schedule to build a team, facility, and prepare us for the launching in 22 days of Pac-12 Network, and I want you to hear from Gary about what's in store for you especially from a football perspective this season. Please welcome Gary Stevenson.

GARY STEVENSON: Thank you, Larry, and good morning. Obviously today is a milestone day in the birth of Pac-12 enterprises as it is one ?year since the commissioner announced the formation of our networks. As you can imagine, a lot has happened in that one year. I must tell you that our over-100 employees are raring to get started on August 15th.

What is most gratifying is the reaction we've gotten from Pac-12 fans, alums, former athletes, you name it, as evidenced by the social activity on Twitter, on Facebook, and on many of your blogs. As we think about Pac-12 enterprises, we don't think just about a television network or a digital network, but rather, we're creating a content company.

Our mission is to deliver that content to fans across the country on any screen when they want it. We're in a unique position to tell stories that haven't been told before about our student-athletes, our coaches, our great traditions, our universities, and the outstanding rivalries we have. With that in mind, we will be launching seven television networks on August 15th and a digital network. Our television networks will be comprised of a national network and six regional networks. Pac-12 Digital will make content easily accessible on their devices through Pac-12 now, our TV Everywhere platform. Pac-12 now will be available to authenticated subscribers on computers and iPads and other devices shortly thereafter.

Our goal is to deliver a unique and exciting user experience to our fans, including an opportunity to share their experiences with friends through our social media initiatives. Today is about football. Let me tell you about our plans for the year as we prepare to televise 35 football games this season.

In the first four weeks of the season, we will feature every Pac-12 football team at least once and will showcase the home openers for two of our four new coaches — Todd Graham at Arizona State and Mike Leach at Washington State.

USC, Oregon and Stanford all start the season ranked in the top-25 and we will have at least five of their games in the first four weeks. It all starts on August 30th, with a Thursday night doubleheader with Utah and Arizona State's home openers. We will televise the home opening weekend, including San Diego State's visit to Washington, Colorado and Colorado State, and we will be there when Cal opens their stadium against Nevada.

In week two, we will be there live in the desert when Arizona and new coach Rich Rodriguez host Oklahoma State. And we will show Oregon's explosive offense against Fresno State. In week three, UCLA and new coach Jim Mora against the Houston Cougars who are coming off a stellar season.

College football fans are eager to watch the post Andrew Luck era at Stanford, and you will see it as we carry their first two games of the season. USC's National Championship hopes will play out in high definition on our networks in week four against Cal. It's quite a lineup. In addition to our live games, you can expect to see a lot of football-related programming this year on our networks.

Here is the lineup.

To start the season, we will be airing Pac-12 football preview shows, which will be 30-minute shows on each team in the conference, and we will have a one-hour conference wide show. We will have a show called "Pac-12 Football Encore." This will be the top-10 games replayed from the 2011 season.

We will replay all 79 home games including those aired on Fox and ESPN from this season in a 60-minute format. Every Pac-12 pregame, halftime and postgame shows will be broadcast live from our newly opened studios in downtown San Francisco. On Sunday evenings we will broadcast Pac-12 football rewind live from our studios. This show will review all the action and highlights from the weekend's football schedule.

On Tuesday evenings, we will broadcast Pac-12 Playbook. This will be a conference-wide coaches' show, which will provide two to four-minute local features on each show on the regional networks. And, of course, we will follow all the post-season activity on our networks, including the championship football game and as we watch our teams go to bowl games.

Next spring we will be on every campus to follow spring football and all the activities surrounding that and we will cover NFL Day and National Signing Day, and you can see football will be a large part of what we do at Pac-12 Enterprises. It will be a busy year for us, and we are delighted that in many of our TV on-air talents are here today. Our talent will go a long way in branding our network, so we searched high and low to find the professionals who have lived and experienced our brand over their careers. Many of them were players and coaches in our conference, and we are thrilled with the team we have assembled.

I'm talking about Ronnie Lott, Rick Neuheisel and Curtis Conway, who will serve as studio analysts and bring their insights and vast experience to fans every week, and they will be joined by studio host Ashley Adamson. I'm talking about Glen Parker, Adam Archuleta and Brooke Olzendam, who will be in the booth or on the sidelines sharing the stories as she unfold.

I'm talking about Ted Robinson, Kevin Calabro and David Fleming, our talented play-by-play announcers who will be painting the pictures for the fans every week. It will come to life through our talented on-air personality. We are ready to flip the switch on Wednesday, August 15th at 6 p.m. we look forward to seeing you then, thank you very much.


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