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DirecTV & Dish face next impasse: the Pac-12 network

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So if you’re a DirecTV (s DTV) subscriber, you’re able to see Spongebob and Jon Stewart again, but you might miss out on USC vs. Stanford football.

With the Pac-12 collegiate athletic conference set to launch a national cable TV network, along with six regional channels, on Aug. 15, satellite services DirecTV and Dish Network (s DISH) — the Nos. 2 and 3 pay TV operators in the U.S. — have yet to sign a deal to carry the new programmer.

Also read: Call it an upset? How DirecTV held its ground vs. Viacom

Telco-based distributors Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse also remain unsignd.

A representative for DirecTV, which just resolved a significant program licensing dispute with Viacom on Friday, said talks with Pac-12 Network officials are ongoing, but no announcement is expected until “closer to the school year.”

Also read: Why Breaking Bad didn’t scare Dish but Walking Dead will

Televising every Pac-12 college football and basketball game not already picked up under the conference’s licensing deals with Disney/ESPN and Fox’s regional sports operations, the Pac-12 Network has agreements in place to launch on Comcast (s CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (s TWC), Cox and Brighthouse, covering about 40 million U.S. homes.

Also read: Why aren’t more people cutting the cord? Regional sports networks

While they lack leverage in most program licensing negotiations, passing on sports is typically noteven an option for major pay TV carriers.

For example, come this fall in the Los Angeles region, if certain big USC and UCLA football games remain blacked out on DirecTV and Dish, these services could see subscribers aggressively switch over to Time Warner Cable, the only major carrier with a Pac-12 Network deal in that region.

But carriers like DirecTV and Dish are more intent than ever these days about holding the line on ever-increasing program licensing costs, and they don’t seem to be in any hurry to make deal.

The Pac-12 Network is going to launch with a flagship national channel, as well as six satellite channels serving six regions: Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Utah/Colorado.

Last month, DirecTV CEO Michael White told reporters that he had no interest in carrying all seven channels.

Certainly, White has other costs down the road to consider. Not only is the long-term popularity of the Pac-12 network unknown, but Time Warner Cable is about to launch its own regional sports  channels, cemented around a multi-billion deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.

As for the Pac-12, the model remains the Big 10 Network, which launched in August 2007 on only DirecTV and U-Verse, before its popularity pulled most other major pay TV carriers onboard.

The model to avoid? The Mountain West Conference’s channel, which never broke out beyond its DirecTV cariage and was ultimately scuttled.

17 Responses to “DirecTV & Dish face next impasse: the Pac-12 network”

  1. Margaret Satterthwaite

    You state you want to keep costs down, but you offer sweetheart deals (the power of 3) to new subscribers that are nearly half of what we pay. Oh well, we’ve only got 7 months on our contract.

  2. I would love to have the option to switch, but the local cable literally circles my home, at a distance of about 1/2 mile, with no intention to change that situation. Thus, DISH/DTV are the only options, which is gonna suck if they fail to pickup the PAC12 net.

  3. Im done with Direct TV if they dont carry the Pac-12 network. West Coast sports fans wanna watch west coast teams and I’m one of them. If Direct TV doesnt want my money every month Comcast does. I’ll have no issues switching services at all

  4. The CA market should be enough to cause Direct TV to run the PAC 12 networks but considering the other states involved and the popularity of NCAAF it would seem that Direct TV could deal with these new newworks and make its viewing fans happy!

  5. NightMoves

    My contract with Direct TV is 10 months and ticking. If I can not access PAC 12 football, basketball, and baseball by the time it expires, It’s see ya later…book it!

    • I would rather watch the Oregon State Beavers! Even though they may not be as good as the ducks, underdogs are way more entertaining than overrated teams with fans that have over inflated egos.

  6. GuyWhoKnowsHowToGoogle

    Hard to take seriously an article that has a mistake in the very first sentence. The USC/Stanford game is on FOX this year. It’s not a Pac 12 Network game. It only took me 34 seconds to look that up. Nice job.

    • I’m pretty sure the author was speaking in general, not a specific game this year.
      You should have spent 34 seconds thinking instead of looking it up.

      Now, those are 34 seconds of your life you’ll never get back.

      Nice job.

  7. I would expect Directv and Dish to only pick up the Pac-12 National Network. There is no need for them to pick up the regional networks because football and basketball games on the Pac-12 Networks are guaranteed to be available nationally. It is guaranteed in the contract. In the rare case that two games are in at the same time, maybe Directv/Dish will create an overflow feed, similar to what the Big Ten Network does. Also, the Pac-12 Digital Network should allow Directv/Dish subscribers to log in via the TV everywhere element. If this happens, it would allow Directv/Dish subscribers to stream all of the regional networks over the internet.