The California Golden Bears offense huddles up as they face the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. The Pac-12 Conference will begin broadcasting college athletics on one national network and six regional ones.
The California Golden Bears offense huddles up as they face the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. The Pac-12 Conference will begin broadcasting college athletics on one national network and six regional ones. - 

Jeff Horwich: With the Olympics over, maybe you're craving sports to watch. Well, OK: how about seven new networks following college teams in the Pac-12 Conference? Today the Pac-12 launches a national network and six regional ones.

Too much? Here's Marketplace's Jeff Tyler.


Cal announcer: Here’s Smith. Pump-fake. Drives into the key. Throws left corner. Guitierrez. Open three. Up. And Cal leads.

Jeff Tyler: In the past, fans of Cal or Stanford couldn’t get all the basketball games on TV. That changes today. Over the next year, the Pac-12 networks will broadcast more than 850 live sporting events.

Gary Stevenson: We will carry every sport that is played in the Pac-12 conference. Which has never been done before.

Gary Stevenson is president of Pac-12 Enterprises. The networks will include a digital channel that can be accessed on your computer, iPad or smartphone.

Stevenson: We are building what we call ‘TV Everywhere.’

Cable providers paid for broadcast rights. That money is funding the networks. Ed Ray is president of Oregon State University.

Ed Ray: We have 100 percent of the equity. We’re not having to bear any startup or out-of-pocket costs.

But Smith College sports economist Andrew Zimbalist sees a downside.

Andrew Zimbalist: It perpetuates the notion that if you commercialize your athletics program properly, that you can generate a surplus. Very, very, very few schools on any realistic accounting basis generate a surplus in their athletic programs.

Still, he estimates that a successful regional sports network could eventually bring participating universities $10 million a year.

I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

Follow Jeff Tyler at @JeffMarketplace