With the press of a button tonight at 6, the Pac-12 will launch a television network it hopes will revolutionize the way fans watch games and, eventually, the way the league makes money.
The Pac-12 Networks - one national station and six regionals, including Pac-12 Arizona - will help commissioner Larry Scott accomplish a long-time goal: to make every single football and men's basketball game available live, without regional pre-emption, across the country.
In their first year, Pac-12 Networks will air 35 football games, 143 men's basketball games and 850 games across all sports.
Two of the first three UA football games will be on the network.
Regional stations will produce and air an extra 50 games for their two schools.
The league is beginning the first year of a 12-year, $3 billion media rights agreement shared by ABC, ESPN and Fox.
The network will produce weekly studio shows - including tonight's episode of "Pac-12 Live" at 6 - plus coaches' shows, season previews, classic games, pre- and post-game shows and condensed, hourlong replays of 79 football games this year.
"It's near-impossible to quantify the impact, in terms of exposure, recruiting and brand positioning, for our schools athletically," Scott said.
The league stands to gain what Scott called "long-term value," financially and otherwise.
The Pac-12 launched its network without a television production partner. That made for a sizable front-end investment - aided by agreements with five major cable networks last year - but promises the possibility of huge financial gain.
"I don't think a college conference has ever taken on something so ambitious itself," Scott said.
Contrast that with the the Big Ten Network, which took Fox as a 51 percent partner and premiered in fewer households than the Pac-12 Networks.
Pac-12 Networks has inked deals with distributors that reach about 48 million homes nationwide, though not all outside the footprint plan to make the Pac-12 stations available.
The league does not yet have distribution deals with Dish Network, DirecTV, AT&T, Verizon or Charter Communications, though it's possible some could sign before the first football game is played.
"We're perfectionists, so we'd like to have every distributor out there, and that's our goal," Pac-12 Enterprises president Gary Stevenson said.
Fans who receive the Pac-12 Networks on their televisions can watch on their computers and iPads - and soon on their phones - for free.
Pac-12 Networks Primer
What is it?
The Pac-12 Networks, seven stations which will air 850 league sporting events this coming school year, launch tonight at 6. In Arizona, viewers will receive the regional Pac-12 Arizona, which focuses on the Wildcats and Sun Devils, and in some cases the national Pac-12 Network.
Who gets it?
In Southern Arizona, viewers who subscribe to cable companies Cox, Comcast, Western Broadband and Orbitel.
• Pac-12 Arizona: Channels 75 and 1075 (High definiton) - Digital and HD tiers
• Pac-12 Arizona: Channels 103 and 598 (HD) - digital starter package
• Pac-12 Network: Channels 283 (standard definition only) - sports and entertainment tier
• Pac-12 Arizona: Channels 76 and 776 (HD) - expanded digital package
• Pac-12 Arizona: Channels 71 and 871 (HD) - expanded digital package
Who doesn't get it?
The league has not reached distribution agreements with Dish Network, Direct TV, AT&T, Verizon or Charter Cable. Those customers are shut out for now.
Who gets it online?
Fans who get the Pac-12 Networks in their homes can also watch games via "TV Everywhere" on computers and phones for free. Computers and iPads will air the network immediately, while apps for phones will be ready within a few weeks. Fans cannot buy an Internet-only subscription.