Less than an hour to go before launch now and the Pac-12 Enterprises headquarters and studios are bustling with activity right now. Much of the networks’ on-air talent are here, along with dignitaries, media and invited guests. Different divisions of the enterprises are taking ceremonial photos in front of the Pac-12 Networks set.
Much more to come throughout the evening. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.!
In a matter of hours, history will be made when the Pac-12 Networks launch at 6 p.m. on Wednesday with an edition of “Pac-12 Live.” There will be plenty more on fall programming in the next couple of days as we get ready to delve into a new era of college sports on television.
In the meantime, the staff at Pac-12 Enterprises has been busy readying for the launch. On-air talent has been coming in to the studios in downtown San Francisco for testing and rehearsals. Original shows have been rehearsed and taped. Countless hours of video has been reviewed and edited for various promos and other content.
The control room has been buzzing with producers, directors and other production staff putting things together for launch. Last week, sideline reporter Brooke Olzendam and analyst Ryan Nece taped a handful of football preview shows while producer Jim Hornby and other vital behind-the-scenes folks ran the show from the control room.
The networks have been busy with tapings such as these — the Pac-12 Footbal Preview show featuring Colorado.
In one of the numerous editing suites at the networks’ facilties, director of production Devin Pense and manager of promotions Ted Ishler were busy at work producing one of the approximately 324 promos needed for launch.
Manager of promotions Ted Ishler, foreground, and director of production Devin Pense work at editing a promo that will be ready for the launch of the networks.
“Pac-12 Live” is one of a handful of original shows the networks will produce during the fall season, in addition to the plethora of live events scheduled to be aired. In the days immediately after the launch, the networks will feature season previews on all 12 football teams in the conference, as well as preview shows on all the other fall sports.
The networks’ first live event is Friday at 7 p.m., with Santa Clara playing Stanford in women’s soccer. The first football game on the networks is Thursday, Aug. 30 with Utah hosting Northern Colorado. That will be the first game of a double header, with Northern Arizona taking on Arizona State immediately afterward.
Some of the most respected personalities in sports broadcasting will be behind the mike for the inaugural football season on the Pac-12 Networks.
The networks announced Monday the on-air lineup for their broadcasts and it includes three of the finest play-by-play announcers in sports broadcasting — Ted Robinson, Kevin Calabro and Dave Flemming. Furthermore, the networks have brought on a handful of former Pac-12 standouts as color analysts — Adam Archuleta (Arizona State) Curtis Conway (USC), Ryan Nece (UCLA), Glenn Parker (Arizona) and Coy Wire (Stanford). They join the previously announced Rick Neuheisel and Ronnie Lott to make up a deep and talented team of experts.
The analysts will appear both on game telecasts and in the studio for pregame, postgame and halftime coverage. Ashley Adamson will anchor the studio shows.
Robinson is the current play-by-play voice of the San Francisco 49ers and has done it all in a 30-year broadcasting career. He has been the voice of a handful of pro and college teams and is well-known for his work with professional tennis and the Olympics.
Calabro is well-known for his NBA work on TNT and was the play-by-play voice of the Seattle SuperSonics for 21 years before they moved to Oklahoma City. Flemming has been a play-by-play broadcaster for the San Francisco Giants for nine years and has vast experience with ESPN.
For more on the broadcast teams, click here.
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.
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.”
An in-depth look at two key members of the Pac-12 Enterprises staff:
- General Manager Lydia Murphy-Stephans has blazed a trail for women in sports television.
- Senior Vice President of Affiliate Sales and Marketing Art Marquez has a history of successful network launches.
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.