Lydia Murphy-Stephans Named Head of Pac-12 Networks
Lydia Murphy-Stephans, a versatile and accomplished executive with a background that includes leadership roles in worldwide network television and both national and regional cable networks, has been named Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Pac-12 Networks.
As head of the network, Murphy-Stephans will oversee the development, launch, and management of the Pac-12 Networks, with an emphasis on all programming and production. She will hire and manage a team to program and produce live events in virtually every sport from all 12 campuses, creating studio shows and other original programming. She brings more that 25 years of experience in network television, including leadership positions in programming and production at ABC Sports as well as building a network from the ground up. She will be based in Northern California.
“Lydia’s depth and breadth of experience is as impressive as anyone’s in the media industry,” Pac-12 Enterprises President Gary Stevenson said. “She has been a programming leader at established networks like ABC Sports and MSG Network and led the launch of Oxygen Media when it was a start-up. She has a rare understanding and appreciation of all college sports and a passion for quality production. We are very fortunate and excited to have her leading the Pac-12 Networks.”
Prior to joining the Pac-12 Networks, Murphy-Stephans was Founder and Partner of All Access Media Partners, a multi-platform media consulting firm that provided end-to-end solutions in media, programming, production and marketing. She launched the firm in 2010 after spending 23 years in network and cable television.
A former Olympic speed skater, Murphy-Stephans began her career as a news producer for WLUC in Marquette, MI, before joining ABC Sports to work on the network’s coverage of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. In 1994, she was elevated to Vice President of Programming and Acquisitions at ABC, becoming the first woman in network sports television history to be named Vice President. Her duties included negotiating worldwide media rights to events, creating original programming, and overseeing the network’s flagship series ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
In 1999, Murphy-Stephans left ABC to become President and Executive Producer of Oxygen Sports at Oxygen Media, where she played a vital role in the launch of the new network and oversaw the creation of the sports department. Seven years later, she was named Executive Vice President of Programming and Production for MSG Media, the television, radio, and new media division of Madison Square Garden. During her tenure at MSG, Murphy-Stephans managed the network’s programming, production, marketing, and operations and led her team to a record-setting 46 Emmy awards.
“I’m thrilled to be part of this new venture. The Pac-12 Networks will produce and deliver an unprecedented amount of quality content from the 12 universities. It’s an amazing undertaking that will allow us to showcase each of the schools and their highly successful sports programs,” Murphy-Stephans said. “Gary Stevenson and Larry Scott are two of the most accomplished executives in sports and I am excited to be joining their team and working with the Pac-12.”
In July, the Pac-12 announced the creation of Pac-12 Networks, which will include a national network and six regional networks, in conjunction with four of the nation’s largest cable operators: Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, and Bright House Networks. The innovative arrangement, set to begin in August 2012, marks the first time a U.S. collegiate conference or any other programmer has launched a collection of networks across a variety of platforms rather than a sole network. And it includes “TV everywhere” rights, permitting the networks to be viewed outside customers’ homes on any digital device, such as smartphones and tablet computers, creating a virtual “Pac-12 Everywhere.”
The Pac-12 Networks will provide exposure for the Conference’s athletic and academic programs, producing a total of 850 live events annually – 350 on the national feed and an additional 500 on the regional feeds — including every football game and every men’s basketball game that isn’t carried by national telecast partners ESPN and FOX. Additional events will include spring football, and every sport played by Pac-12 programs including all conference championships.