This week officially marks the launch of college basketball season, with leagues and networks putting their best foot forward to tip off the action. One conference, the Pac-12, has opted to change up their season debut, launching Full Court Friday on Nov. 14 on Pac-12 Networks that will feature 10 conference men’s basketball openers from its ranks. In addition, for one night only, fans will get receive access to the slate of games on Pac-12.com starting at 4:30p with the Pac-12 Basketball Pregame Show and running to midnight with 24 on-air personalities spread across 10 Conference campuses and the Pac-12 Networks’ San Francisco studios guiding viewers through more than seven hours of non-stop basketball action.
Cynopsis Sports spoke with Leon Schweir, Senior VP of Production and Operations for Pac-12 Networks, about the season ahead and how the Pac-12 Networks are leveraging their on-field success into a an upstart media brand.
On Full Court Friday: It’s something we haven’t done before, and it has been a long initiative to work with these schools trying to do this on the same day. It will help generate awareness for them as well as for us. For fans, if you don’t have us, it is a great time to come in and sample the platforms with free access all day for the ten games. It is also a way for people to learn about the other programming we have and that we have seven networks. I think there are still people even in our own school footprint who tune in without realizing they are only watching the local version versus one that might be in the other states. At the end of the hour, if you are a true basketball fan, it is a great way to take a look at what the conference will be bringing to the table this season and they will be able to do their own rankings at the end of the day.
On current goals of the channels: I think creating awareness that we are seven different networks remains one of the top priorities for us because there is a lot to be seen on each of the individual networks. It is also a chance to showcase how deep our digital platform is and how Pac-12 Now is a great platform that people should be using if they want to see our events. The other part of it is, back to the content, is that our product both on the court and behind-the-scenes is terrific.
On new elements: If you watch football, you noticed that we had a few more bells and whistles than we had the previous year, from super slo-mo to enhanced graphics. That’s the plan again for college basketball season. We are adding more POV cameras. We will now be doing a basketball version of The Drive, and we are very excited about that and showing the access we have. We got all 12 schools to participate and while the football version saw us following a team for the entire season, this will showcase each of the programs and show how competitive these games really are. We are also increasing our overall basketball this year. I’d say we will see 50% more pre- and post-basketball support in our programming this season.