In yet another effort to further the national viewership of Pac-12 football and the conference’s brand as a whole, the conference announced today that 7:00 p.m. Pacific kickoffs on the Pac-12 Networks would be moved up eight hours for late morning kickoffs.
Pac-12 says no more late games on Pac-12 Net, will instead show games in new 11am PT window.
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) June 8, 2014
The rationale is simple. Fair or not, the Pac-12 is often victim of timezone bias, as many critical games among ranked Pac-12 teams do not kick off until 10:00 p.m., making it tough on pollsters who are based in the eastern time zone.
Moving the games to the morning is a way to combat that, though it’s worth noting that the late night Pac-12 games are the games that both ESPN and FOX passed on. Thus meaning they typically have less of a national appeal, and have less of a chance of featuring ranked teams on both sidelines.
In the first two years of the Pac-12 Network, the conference used three time slots for games: noon, 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Now with the 11:00 a.m. introduced in place of the late game, it’s possible that the other two games of the triple header time slotting plan could be moved back on the Pac-12 Networks, creating an 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. kickoff plan.
But alas, we’ll have to wait and see how it breaks down, as the Pac-12 Networks has the last selection for games with Pac-12 schools participating.
The 11am kickoffs will not affect the ESPN deal, which has featured Pac-12 games at the 7:00 p.m. Pacific/10:00 p.m. Eastern time slot since 2011.