MillerCoors has signed as an advertiser with the Pac-12 Networks as the new venture accepts beer, but not hard alcohol ads. A network representative said the Pac-12 is following the same alcohol-advertising regulations as ESPN and Fox, which carry conference games.
The five-year-old Big Ten Network has declined to accept alcohol or gambling ads since its inception. Pre-launch, the conference said it wanted to “ensure consistency with the Big Ten’s brand values.” The network launched with the Big Ten as the majority owner, but partner Fox has since moved to a 51% stake.
The ESPN-owned Longhorn Network (LHN) accepts beer and alcohol ads in line with ESPN’s policies. ESPN guidelines allow malt beverage, beer and wine advertising in NCAA programming if the products don’t exceed 6% alcohol content. Casino or lottery/gambling ads are prohibited.
The Pac-12 Networks, owned by the conference, have an in-house sales force and use HTS (Home Team Sports), a rep firm owned by the Fox Sports Media Group. IMG sells for LHN.
The Pac-12 venture, which offered its first football game Thursday, is comprised of a national network and six regional ones.
The Mountain West Sports Network (known as The Mtn.), which closed this spring as the conference is undergoing realignment, also had a guideline against alcohol advertising. Last year, then-network chief Kim Carver said: “"We are clearly a college sports network and I just feel a sense of responsibility to holding that title."
She did say no beer advertisers had sought to buy time and the network would consider offering halftime sponsorships or other opportunities on a case-by-case basis. Accepting beer ads on The Mtn. could have been complicated with the University of Utah and BYU, which each have anti-alcohol policies, as conference members during most of The Mtn.’s run.
Utah is now part of the Pac-12 with games on its networks.