A Theme-Filled Summer

The Pac-12 Networks set the tone for its summer programming Saturday.

Kicking off a series of themed programming that extends into the end of July, the networks aired their “Tone Setters,” package, a collection of football games from last season, each of which sent a specific message for the 2012 season. From now until July 28, the Pac-12 Networks will have a different theme each week, with programming to support it.

“With a lack of live events over the summer, we wanted to try to find the most effective way to re-purpose the content that we already have,” Pac-12 Networks programming coordinator Mark Petix said. “We wanted to come up with an effective way to put all the re-airs together. That’s where the idea of themes came in.”

Four sports will be featured for each theme – football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and women’s volleyball. Each sport will be assigned to a different day of the week. Football games will air on Saturdays, using the “Football in 60” format, a staple of the networks’ regular programming that pares down a football broadcast into 60 minutes. For the other three sports, the games will be edited down to 90 minutes. The re-airs will run during primetime.

Wednesdays will be devoted to women’s basketball, Thursdays will be for men’s basketball and Fridays are assigned to women’s volleyball.

“Rather than throwing darts against a board and showing games at random, we wanted to have a strategy with it,” Petix said. “We are using themes as a jumping point. We are picking some of the best games and to freshen up our content.”

This week’s theme is “Comebacks,” starting with women’s basketball on Wednesday. Other themes to follow include Freshman Phenoms, Road Warriors, Sensational Shootouts, Best Games, Fantastic Finishes, Upsets and Breakthrough Performances.

In addition, the networks will take a break from the theme format for Championship Week during the first week of July, when all of the major Pac-12 Championships that aired on the Pac-12 Networks will be re- broadcast, including all games from the men’s and women’s Pac-12 Basketball Tournament. Also, there will be “Rivalry Mondays,” throughout the summer, with traditional rivalry games across all sports airing.

On Sundays, the networks will air episodes of “The 12 Best,” accompanied by games that correspond to that specific program.

Petix said selecting the themes and the supporting programming was a fun process. It was also made easier because programming staff spent the year taking notes of each live event.

“We have running documents chronicling each game,” Petix said. “We would assign a grade to it and include relevant notes. So we have these spreadsheets for all the different sports. It helped this process to be able to look back on it and find the games that fit under the certain themes.”

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