This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
For decades, this axiom has been proven time after time: Television rules sports. That was true again last week, albeit in a rather unexpected way.
For years, many (including yours truly) have argued that the Big 12 would eventually expand to increase its television reach. TV did end up driving the league's decision to, ahem, "explore" expansion now instead of kicking it down the road a few years.
But it was the ACC's announcement that it will launch a cable TV channel that pushed the Big 12 to do something now. Well, soon.
It wasn't so much that the ACC, in partnership with ESPN, will have a channel. (It goes online digitally in August and will join cable/satellite in 2019.) But the agreement with ESPN runs through 2036, and ties all the current league members including Notre Dame to the league for the next 20 years. Notre Dame will continue to schedule five football games per season against ACC teams and compete in all other sports.
So … no, Florida State and Clemson or Notre Dame aren't leaving the ACC to join the Big 12. With those pipe dreams dashed, the Big 12's powers-that-be had to go in a different direction.
The Big 12 is still kicking around the idea of a digital channel, but has given up on hopes of a linear channel on cable. Which means that it will be the only Power Five conference without a linear channel.
Whether that's altogether a bad thing depends on how you look at it. The jury is still out on whether the Pac-12 Network is going to work out.
Frontier yes; DirectTV no • Speaking of the Pac-12 Network, it has reached a deal with Frontier cable in Southern California, which will add about a half a million homes to P12N's reach.
That still leaves P12N about 48 million homes behind the Big Ten Network and about 55 million behind the SEC Network.
As for negotiations with DirecTV … there still don't appear to be any. If there are, they haven't accomplished anything yet.
No. 13 • BYU didn't end the 2015 football season ranked, of course. C'mon, the Cougars were 9-4 and lost their bowl game to Utah.
Their 2015 season-opener is in the top 25, however. The Cougs' 33-28, last-second, Hail Mary win over Nebraska is No. 13 on ESPNU's list of the top games games of last season. It was replayed Tuesday night on ESPNU.
No other local teams made the list.
Jazz trouble looming? • Moody's Investors Service which advises clients what to invest in and what not to invest in is pessimistic about cable television in general. According to the Sports Business Journal, Moody's is particularly pessimistic about regional sports networks like, say, ROOT.
"High-dollar commitments for long-term contracts for the RSN rights in the face of lower subscribers and ad revenues in a direct-to-consumer environment could spell disaster for many RSNs and the teams they are linked to," Moody's reported. "Overall, we expect much greater credit risk to fixed long-term sports rights contracts and pain for leagues and players unless the disruptors fill the void and open their wallets."
The "disruptors" are direct-to-consumer providers streaming services and there's no evidence they're ready to pay anything close to what the RSNs are paying for TV rights.
The Utah Jazz's contract with ROOT runs through 2021.
Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter: @ScottDPierce.