One problem with the Pac-12 Networks’ multi-network setup (a feed for each region, plus an overall national feed) is that it’s led to different cable operators placing those feeds in different tiers. A prominent one was Comcast, which put the regional feed on basic tiers but the national feed in a sports tier. That led to issues during this year’s conference basketball tournament when the conference broadcast every game on the national feed, but not on other regional feeds; subscribers who only got the regional feed couldn’t see games involving other teams, which was also the case during some football and regular-season basketball games. The issues should be sorted out for Comcast subscribers this year, though, as Jon Wilner of The San Jose Mercury News reports that Comcast will flip the regional feed to a sports tier and the national feed to a basic tier:
Comcast recently informed subscribers that it’s doing the Pac12Nets flip:
The National feed (i.e., Pac-12 Network, as opposed to, say, Pac-12 Arizona) will be moved to a basic tier, while the regional feeds will be moved to a sports tier.
If your primary focus is Olympics sports, this isn’t necessarily good news: The majority are broadcast on the relevant regional feeds, which will be on a sports tier ($$$).
But if the major sports are your preference, the flip is good news: All football and men’s basketball games televised by the Pac12Nets are on the National feed … and now the National feed is on the basic tier.
And it’s in HD.
This will impact more than a few fans. There are approximate four million Comcast subscribers in the Pac-12 footprint.
To summarize (because the Pac-12Nets are complicated): If you live in the conference footprint and you have Comcast, you’ll get all the Pac12Nets broadcasts of football and men’s basketball games on basic cable, and in HD.
The Pac12Nets haven’t experienced many victories in the past few years — and there are still plenty of issues — but this is a win.
There still are plenty of problems with the Pac-12 Networks, including the ongoing DirecTV dispute and their lack of prime inventory (Wilner notes that the most attractive football game on Pac12Nets this fall might be Utah State at USC, which is far from great), but at least things should be a little less ugly now for fans with Comcast who want to watch out-of-region games in the major sports. Having the national feed on basic is also reportedly the conference’s preference, and it’s what they have in most setups, so this will make their programming life easier. Fans of the bigger sports should benefit from this, and there should now be less issues around football and next year’s basketball tournament.