Pac-12 Football Media Day

Tuesday marks the unofficial beginning of football season with the annual media day at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. It will feature remarks from Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott and Pac-12 Enterprises president Gary Stevenson. Then each coach in the conference, along with an offensive player and defensive player, will have a session at the podium and field questions from the press.

A free live stream of the festivities is available on the Pac-12 website by clicking here. The link also includes the order of speakers.The conference’s youtube channel will also have the stream.

Also, click here for updates throughout the day, including recaps, photos and more.

The preseason media poll also be released tomorrow, which will help further put into perspective some of the marquee matchups being shown on the Pac-12 Networks this season.

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More on the set

There was a lot of thought and exploration put into the set the Pac-12 Networks will use for original programming. Installed late last week, the set reflects the geography and atmosphere of the different Pac-12 institutions.

For one, real redwood is found throughout the set, which reflects the region. There is also granite, which can be found in the mountainous areas of the Pac-12 markets. And blue is a prevalent color, which reflects so many of the conference’s cities that are near water.

“It doesn’t feel like a log cabin, but by the same token it feels at home in the Pacific Coast region,” Pac-12 Enterprises Creative Director David Rickles said. “That speaks to the overall natural vibe to this set. The concept is rooted in being inspired by the natural surroundings in our environment and being able to physically represent them.”

Rickles also said the set has a “massive amount of technology, but it’s not in-your-face technology. We did it in a really classy way so it complements, it doesn’t dominate.”

Other notes about the set:

  • The reporting desks and platforms are all shaped like the Pac-12 shield, or together they make up the shield, depending on which part of the set.
  • All the podiums are on wheels so they can be moved around or cleared out of the studio entirely, if need be.
  • Rickles said “every single nook and cranny of this set, none of it will go to waste. We can use every single spare inch of it. In space, sports really hasn’t done that yet.”

Rickles also pointed out that all of the redwood used on the set was going to be discarded. Most redwoods come from ecologically sustainable farms that are cut down for lumber use. The redwood on the set came from a sustainable farm and was salvaged from a place where it was otherwise going to be thrown away.

“Before we justified putting redwood on the set, we asked where the source of the redwood was,” Rickles said. “We didn’t want it to just come from some guy who choped down redwood trees and sold the timber. It is saved from being destroyed and basically wasted wood.”

All set

Before AKA Creative Group could commence constructing the set for the Pac-12 Networks studio, it needed to know just how it would transport it from its shop in Toronto to San Francisco. So the company built a replica of the passenger elevator it would have to load the parts into at the networks’ office building.

“We had to make sure it fits,” AKA Creative Group President Andrew Kinsella said. “If it didn’t fit, we didn’t want to take a chainsaw to it.”

AKA ultimately built the set in 197 component parts, and they all fit into the elevator successfully last week when the final product was sent to the networks’ headquarters. It took four days to assemble, and the set is now ready for business as the launch of the networks is less than a month away.

“It was basically like a big Lego set,” Kinsella said.

The erection of the set is yet another major landmark as the networks get closer and closer to hitting the airwaves. The set features two podiums and an area for couches, and is designed in a way that makes for anchors, hosts and analysts to be mobile in a relaxed environment.

“We know our programming is going to grow and there is going to be a lot more to do down the road, so we allowed flexibility for the anchors to get up and be relaxed and walk around the environment,” Pac-12 Enterprises Creative Director David Rickles said. “It all feels seamlessly connected. Our specific brand terminology is the idea of connections. That sort of felt like a nice balance.”

Like most things with the networks, an aggressive timeline was set to get the set finalized. The networks started seeking proposals in early April and chose AKA on May 1. Construction began a few weeks later.

One of the reasons the networks chose AKA is it produced a set for TVA Sports, a Canadian sports network, in 100 days.

“We’ve managed to get things done with a quick timeline in the past so we were comfortable we could do it,” Kinsella said. “That was one of the first things they asked, if we could get it done in time. I told them not to worry, we’d do it.”

 

One month to go

Exactly one month from today, history will be made with the launch of the Pac-12 Networks. The lights will go on at 6 p.m. Pacific time with a special one-hour show welcoming fans to the networks.

Two days later, the networks will produce the first live event when Stanford hosts Santa Clara in women’s soccer at 7 p.m.

There will be lots to report on during the next month. The networks’ staff has moved into its new headquarters in downtown San Francisco and the facilities there are taking shape. The set for the main studio has been put in, and will be featured here on the blog later in the week. The set will be home to a variety of original programs produced by the networks.

Other news, such as the announcement of broadcast teams and additional developments, are also on the way soon.

Stay tuned!

Pac-12 Networks showcases the best in the world

As usual, the Pac-12 Conference will be well-represented at the Olympics. Dozens of the conference’s student-athletes have qualified for the London Games in recent weeks. There are many well-known Pac-12 alumni on their way across the pond, such as Washington’s Hope Solo, Cal’s Natalie Coughlin, UCLA’s Russell Westbrook, Stanford’s Kerri Walsh and USC’s Allyson Felix.

But there are also several current Pac-12 competitors competing in London, meaning viewers will get a chance to see some of the best athletes in the world on the Pac-12 Networks during the upcoming athletic school year. They include:

  • Three Arizona track athletes — Brigetta Barrettis (high jump), Georgeanne Moline (400m hurdles) and Julie Labonte (Canada — shot put)
  • Arizona soccer player Ana-Maria Montoya (Colombia)
  • Arizona swimmer Clark Burckle (200m breast)
  • Arizona State diver Riley McCormick (Canada)
  • Cal junior Caitlin Leverenz, who has qualified in two swimming events (400m IM, 200 m IM)
  • Cal rower Kara Kohler
  • Cal swimmer Rachel Bootsma (100m back)
  • Colorado’s Emma Coburn and Shalaya Kipp (3,000m steeple chase)
  • Stanford synchronized diver Kristian Ipsen
  • Stanford gymnast Kristina Vaculik (Canada)
  • Stanford track athletes Katerina Stefanidi (Greece) and Amaechi Morton (Nigeria)
  • UCLA soccer players Rosie White (New Zealand) and Chelsea Stewart (Canada)
  • USC’s John Mance (4×400 track relay)
  • Utah women’s basketball player Michelle Plouffe (Canada)

The Olympics begin July 27.

Bringing their hearts to San Francisco

Pac-12 Enterprises Vice President of Communications Kirk Reynolds was one of 74 employees that moved into the organization’s new home in San Francsico on Monday. He immediately began taking care of important business.

He installed his spanking new nerf hoop atop his office door.

There was a palpable excitement at 370 Third Street on Monday, as Pac-12 Networks reached another milestone with the relocation from Walnut Creek, Calif. to the new San Francisco headquarters. Employees began to make themselves comfortable in their new offices and cubicles, and later were paid a visit by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who welcomed the staff to his city.

“You’re going to have this wonderful environment that we have in the city and be part of that innovative spirit,” Lee said. “You’ll never regret this move. We’re here not only to support you; we’re here to invite you to take advantage of the entreprenurial spirit of the whole San Francisco Bay Area.”

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee holds up a “Pac-12 Networks” helmet, given to him by Pac-12 Enterprises President Gary Stevenson to celebrate the organization’s first day in its new downtown headquarters.

Pac-12 Enterprises Gary Stevenson said Lee was instrumental in helping the staff move into the new facilities after setting an ambitious timeline for construction. MATT Construction made the headquarters move-in ready in about five months.

“When we first met, I told Mayor Lee that we are going to help create 150 jobs and we’re also not going to ask you for any money for anything. He kind of sat up in his chair,” Stevenson told the staff before introducing Lee in the lobby of the new facility. “But we did ask him for speed. We needed some help with permits. He looked me in the eye and said, ‘You got it. Whatever you need, the city of San Francisco will give it to you.'”

Pac-12 Networks staff members gather in their new lobby to listen to President Gary Stevenson and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on the first day of business at the new downtown headquarters.

The headquarters takes up two floors of office space near the corner of Harrison Street in San Francisco and includes several conference rooms, a green room for on-air talent, two studios, production rooms and more. The set for the main studio will be in place by next week.

The networks plan on beginning to rehearse different production elements in two weeks and aim to have full rehearsals by Aug. 1. The networks launch on Aug. 15.

“I’ve been seeing a lot of smiles today,” Stevenson said. “It’s a day of tremendous pride, what a team can accomplish in a short period of time. What we got done here is a real milestone. But we have to remind ourselves that we’re only on second base. We still have a ways to go.”

Some more images from another milestone day for the Pac-12 Networks:

Pac-12 Networks employees get to work on their first day at their new headquarters in downtown San Francisco.

A long row of cubicle and desks are just part of the vast office space at the new Pac-12 Networks headquarters.

The Pac-12 Networks’ new headquarters has several spacious conference rooms.

A large production room is one of the integral elements of the new Pac-12 Networks headquarters.

 

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee received a “Pac-12 Networks” helmet after welcoming the staff to the city Monday.

Pac-12 Networks employees gather in the lobby of their new headquarters while waiting for a visit from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

Pac-12 Networks staff pose for a picture with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

Pac-12 Enterprises Vice President of Communications Kirk Reynolds christens his new office with a nerf hoop atop his door.