The Pac-12 Network is entering its third anniversary of being on the air, and there’s still no indications the sports network will be distributed by major satellite giant DirecTV this football season. The two sides aren’t even in discussions about on a possible partnership, which is bad news for the Pac-12.
DirecTV is not only one of the nation’s top television programmers, but is the leading distributor of live Sporting events including the NFL, MLB, NBA and Big Ten Networks. With more than 20 million homes tuning in and an estimated two million subscribers in Southern California alone, DirecTV isn’t quick in coming to an agreement with the Pac-12. In the past two years, DirecTV has sustained loss in subscribers due to not carrying the Pac-12 Networks, and they risk more loss going forward. This is a huge setback to not only to sports fans, but especially those in the State of California, who making up roughly 15 percent of all DirecTV’s subscribers.
The struggle of the not being carried by DirecTV is hurting the Pac-12 in overall brand marketing. There’s only a fraction of the national viewing audience that’s able to see Pac-12 games, having a major impacting on recruiting, and prompting the Pac-12 to become serious about negotiations, including the asking price for DirecTV to carry the Network. Major exposure is enough of a benefit for the Pac-12 and is a considerably small price to give up at the negotiation table. With the SEC Network reportedly in serious negotiations with DirecTV, the time to act is now for the Pac-12 to avoid not get blacked out for a third straight year.
Clearly, there are no benefits for the Pac-12 in pushing around a hefty price tag and in the end, the only ones that are left hurting are the loyal fans. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott needs to make the right decision in the best interest of the people who support the conference.
Only time will tell if the Pac-12 will concede to DirecTV’s demands.