This week it was announced that Division I college conference, the Pac-12, had signed a multi-year deal with Fox Sports Australia. The deal will see 13 football games (one per week) and 21 men’s basketball games televised annually, including eight from the conference championship tournament.
This move is another piece of the Pac-12’s move to expand globally which includes playing basketball games in China and the conference’s decision to schedule the opening game of the 2016 NCAA College Football Championships to be played at ANZ Stadium on Saturday 27 August.
Future plans will most likely include more Pac-12 football games in Australia, perhaps as soon as 2017 as there are already several schools are interested. A move in that direction makes even more sense when the Fox Sports Australia deal is factored into the equation.
The distribution expansion into Australia through Fox Sports is the far more significant move for the conference’s basketball program than it’s football one. The increased exposure gained from Australian viewers is great for football programs in need of punters, but Australia is unlikely to start producing a steady stream of 280-pound defensive tackles.
Pac-12 basketball programs are much more likely to benefit from convincing the 100+ Australian’s every year who decide to play college basketball that they should be playing in the Pac-12.playing basketball at Division I schools.
It’s common to see college basketball team’s touring Australia but these games are rarely heavily promoted. With Australian’s able to access live Pac-21 games year round perhaps this changes how these games are promoted in Australia.
Discussions around having a Pac-12 basketball tournament held in Australia which Australian teams would also compete in is also a possibility.
Australian’s like Andrew Bogut (Utah), Aron Baynes (Washington State), Daniel Dillon (Arizona) and Andrew Vlahov (Stanford) appearing in Pac-12 basketball programs has been happening since the 1980’s but the opportunity to see the stars of the Pac-12 regularly appearing on our shores could lead to changes that alter the sporting landscape in our country.