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Pac-12 launches progressive online strategy, emphasizes unique content

The Pac-12 launches its new network next week. And while most of the attention will focus on the TV network, there is a revolutionary web component to this network that could reshape how college conferences view online content.

USA Today’s Jeffrey Martin described the venture this way: “Beginning Wednesday, they are launching one of the grandest, boldest — and, potentially, most lucrative — experiments in college sports: the Pac-12 Networks, a TV enterprise completely owned and controlled by a conference.”

While other conferences partnered with television networks and focused on television programming, the Pac-12 has looked to the future and figured out that television alone is not the answer.

Commissioner Larry Scott summed it up well during the conference’s media day: “The idea is Pac-12 content, anywhere, anytime, by any device.”

The key word in that quote is content. Many leagues and college conferences overlook the value of original content when it comes to their online strategies.  They chase live events as their holy grail because it’s so easy to monetize. But long-term success requires a year-round strategy. And that requires unique content the reader can’t get anywhere else.

Scott and the Pac-12 get this.  This is how Scott, as quoted by Martin, describes what they are doing: “We have to execute, do a great job, but fundamentally, the reason we’ll be successful is the way we’re structured and the quality of content — and having the resources to do it well.”

“The quality of the content.”  The Pac-12’s commitment to this notion will set them apart. They have hired top-notch editors, from places such as Yahoo! Sports, who understand how to create sports content on the web.

It will be interesting to see how they pull this off.

Around the sports world

Complaining on Twitter: I’ve written before how Twitter has the ability to expand as a customer service tool for teams.  Many businesses have figured this out and the Super Bowl ventured into this area this past year.

Here’s a quick example of its success, courtesy of Babara De Lollis: Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones took to Twitter to complain about his room – the TV was broken and the air conditioning didn’t work – at the Grand Hyatt in New York:

The movie channels dont work and the beds make my back spasm up! Am i complaining too much? Im sorry, gotta vent to someone. Love yall!!!

If anyone was thinkin about stayin at the Grand Hyatt in NY,dont! My AC is set on 65 and its north of 80 in here. Like a freaken sauna!

 The Twitter complaints worked:

Ahh the power of social media. TV guy just showed up at my door. Didnt even have to call the front desk. See what happens when u vent a tad?

Twitter woes: Football coaches continue to struggle with their players use of Twitter. Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is the latest. When one of his players posted offensive music lyrics that advocated killing police officers, Fisher’s initial reaction was old school: ban Twitter use for all players during the season.

But after the local police chief complained about the offending tweets, Fisher turned the situation around and used it as a valuable educational opportunity.  Fisher is making the player spend time with the police to learn more about their world. He also had the player issue a strong apology.

It would be interesting to see how the education could continue if the player was allowed to use Twitter and demonstrate he has learned from this experience.

Ronnie Ramos is the managing director of digital communications for the NCAA. Before that, he spent 25 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, splitting his time between news and sports at five newspapers, including The Miami Herald and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter.

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