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.

 

Networks in spirit of Title IX

The Pac-12 Networks will launch exactly 40 years after enactment of Title IX, the federal law that requires equal access to women to federally funded programs as men. And the networks will play a big part in furthering the cause and granting fair exposure to the female student-athlete.

The Pac-12 Networks will be split down the middle in terms of games aired — 50 percent will feature men’s teams and the other half will feature women’s teams. And just the substantial increase in exposure will enhance the mission of women’s programs, not only in the conference, but across the nation.

“I think the more they see women playing, the more likely they are to keep doing it themselves,” said Washington women’s soccer coach Lesle Gallimore, who will enter her 19th season guiding the Huskies this fall. “The more girls see young women playing in college and getting an education at the same time, I think they will continue to strive to continue to play sports.”

Gallimore is especially troubled by recent statistics that show that by the age of 14, girls stop playing sports at twice the rate of boys. The Pac-12 Networks can do their part to help encourage girls to stay in the game.

Pac-12 Networks reporter/analyst Summer Sanders was born in 1972, the year Title IX went into effect. She is looking forward to continuing to champion the cause of the female student-athlete.

“My face lit up when I saw that it was split straight down the middle, 50 percent male sports and 50 percent female sports,” Sanders said. “I am very grateful for the opportunities I had to fulfill my dreams in athletics and education.”

Networks make an impact

Gene Gordon attended all of his grandson’s high school water polo games in Granite Bay, Calif. But when Andrew Reego moved on to USC, it became harder for Gordon to make it to the games in person.

Gordon was excited last season to watch the Trojans’ NCAA quarterfinal playoff match online. Afterward, he wondered, “Why aren’t these games on TV? They are so exciting.”

Gordon passed away earlier this month at the age of 85, but Andrew and his parents, Jim and Liz, were thrilled he got the chance to watch last year’s tournament game. And Gordon’s question has been heeded.

The Pac-12 Networks will air seven men’s water polo contests this fall, including three appearances by Reego and the Trojans.

“We’re so thrilled that they will now get more credit for how hard they work,” Liz Reego said. “There are so many incredible athletes that don’t get noticed until the Olympics. I think the media is recognizing there is such a broad bandwidth of great athletes.”

Like a lot of parents of Pac-12 athletes, the Reegos are excited that there will be another way to watch their son play if they can’t make the games in person.

“We like to go to the games, but we don’t make all of them,” Liz Reego said. “The advantage is especially for athletes that don’t go to school in their area. You get so used to watching every game in high school then all of the sudden you can’t anymore because you have to travel. That’s why the Pac-12 Network is such a great idea.”