The Pac-12 has an opportunity to become the first property to deliver a true vertical channel of distribution to its audience. Through ownership of its online and broadcast media channels with Pac-12 Enterprises and conjunctive on-site activations, the Pac-12 can control all facets of interactions with its consumers.
Pac- 12 Enterprises directive is to “control the distribution of the Pac-12 intellectual property rights in sports, and other Conference initiatives” via the Pac-12 Networks and Pac-12 Digital Network. This directive guided the conference through their contract negotiations with Fox and ESPN. The conference maintained that the Pac-12 deserved the highest rights fees in college sports, and the right to quality Football and Men’s Basketball games to bolster the programming for Pac-12 Networks. The subsequent $250 million-a-year deal negotiated with Fox and ESPN has allowed the conference to invest resources into the development of the Pac-12 Networks. The content produced on the Pac-12 Networks can then be disseminated through the Pac-12 Digital Network to the consumer via their preferred method of consumption.
The Pac-12 Digital Network is “the first sports entertainment network built from the ground up for integrated broadcast and broadband entertainment.” The ambition to create “personalized, interactive and customizable video experiences for the web, tablets, smartphones, and connected TVs” demonstrates a vision in which the property empowers personalized consumption of Pac-12 original programming. The Pac-12 Digital Network will not be a supplemental consumption channel to Pac-12 Networks but an additional dissemination vehicle of its content, inclusive of more than 850 live events a year.
The Pac-12 Digital Network’s approach towards the development of material specific to onsite consumers will define its impact across the sports industry. It should be the network’s ambition to marry the vertical channels of digital and broadcast dissemination with the horizontal channel of on-site activation. The inclusion of the on-site horizontal channel into its vertical distribution pattern will multiply the value of the consumer to Pac-12 Enterprises by extending the monetization strategy beyond advertising revenue into increasing per-caps and on-site tickets sales. This could be achieved through the delivery of broadcast quality content from the stadium to fans onsite via a HTML5 strategy or campus specific apps.
A vertical channel of distribution enables properties to monetize their audience through the delivery of sponsored content and IP specific opportunities. Digital and broadcast channels will increase per-caps through increased knowledge and enjoyment of the in-venue experience, and the dissemination of IP rights through integrated digital and broadcast channels will expand the presence of a property. I look forward to seeing if the Pac-12 becomes the first true vertical property in sports.
Peter Amador is a Digital Sports Professional. The views here are his, and do not necessarily reflect those of his employer.