Pac-12 After Darkish brings drama, even within the daylight.
These late West Coast video games are right here to remain, nevertheless, regardless of criticism that they’re a problem for the league, its groups and the followers.
“We’ve obtained eight of what we name particular date video games, Thursday or Friday night time video games, yearly. These have been very profitable for ESPN or Fox simply from a purely rankings perspective. And likewise you don’t have the litter, or the fragmentation of a whole lot of a number of video games occurring,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott stated. “So that they work properly.”
Some have lengthy argued the late begins within the Pac-12 imply that East Coast viewers don’t essentially see key video games, placing the league’s groups and star gamers at a drawback in the case of ballot voting or postseason award consideration.
Coaches have voiced concern concerning the late begins as a result of they will wreak havoc with journey schedules and take a toll on athletes. For instance, highway groups which have a 7 p.m. Saturday kickoff may not be again residence till early Sunday morning. If the crew has to show round to play one other highway sport the subsequent week, it’s at a drawback.
However the actuality is that the league has a 12-year, $three billion contract with ESPN and Fox. Good West Coast groups are going to get these late nationwide time slots as a result of there isn’t any different competitors for them.
Scott, who spoke to reporters from this weekend’s night sport between Stanford and Oregon (5 p.m. begin Pacific), stated the league limits groups to taking part in simply a kind of video games per season. Normally it’s not more than two in each three years, he stated.
“They’ve been large showcases. Our broadcast companions like them as a result of they get good rankings. We’ve obtained loads of challenges on this convention with time zone, and being prepared to be somewhat bit versatile and prepared to play these has been good for our league,” he stated.
Saturday’s sport in Eugene, which was the “Saturday Night time Soccer” sport on ABC, was probably the most watched ESPN/ABC Pac-12 Convention sport in almost 4 years with a complete reside viewers of 4.26 million viewers, in keeping with ESPN. The viewers peaked at almost 6 million viewers for Stanford’s 38-31 time beyond regulation victory.
Some ticketholders aren’t followers of late begin occasions, particularly when there’s journey concerned to stadiums. Take Eugene: It’s a couple of two-hour drive from Portland and presumably extra on sport day, then there’s TV timeouts that stretch the precise sport earlier than the prolonged late-night drive residence.
Alumni on the alternative coast typically have to remain up till the wee hours to look at their groups.
Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre famous that his crew is coming off a bye earlier than internet hosting UCLA this Friday night time. He stated the league continues to deal with coaches’ scheduling considerations over late begins.
“We additionally perceive that we’re going to need to play some night time video games at prime time, which truthfully in case you’re successful video games and taking part in at night time, you’re sort of pumped about it. Would you relatively play at 2 o’clock within the afternoon? In fact,” he stated.
Final season, 24 video games began at 7 p.m. native time or later. This 12 months’s quantity hasn’t been decided as a result of TV slots are sometimes solely decided a few weeks earlier than video games, not the beginning of the season.
Utah confronted Washington two weeks in the past with an eight p.m. Mountain begin time, so Utes coach Kyle Whittingham was grateful for the hour of this week’s sport at Washington State.
“The three p.m. kick will probably be good,” he stated. “Attending to play a sport in daylight goes to be superior.”
TARGETING TARGETING: Scott additionally addressed a controversial non-call for focusing on late within the Trojans’ 39-36 victory over Washington State on Friday night time.
USC’s Porter Gustin made helmet-to-helmet contact with Cougars quarterback Gardner Minshew at a essential juncture of the sport.
Scott stated he had consulted the officiating crew about that decision. He stated each play is reviewed.
“So you’ll be able to actually assume that play obtained a whole lot of appears, not simply from the replay sales space on the stadium, however we’ve obtained our command middle again in San Francisco with our head of officiating and a bunch of skilled replay guys, who completely would have checked out that play,” he stated.
He stated it additionally was checked out afterward and it was not decided to be focusing on.
“As you understand, in any given sport there are a whole lot of shut calls, and this was a really, very shut one. Little question about it,” Scott stated.
At his media availability Monday, coach Mike Leach held his tongue.
“I’d be completely happy to touch upon it if I have been allowed to, however I’m not allowed to. But when I have been allowed to I’d be completely happy to,” he stated, suggesting questions be directed to the Pac-12 workplaces.
“Something we do on this convention, participant security must be the forefront of our considerations,” Leach stated.
AP freelancer Monica Costello in Colorado contributed to this report.