DIRECTV will never carry the Pac 12 Network? Never?
That’s the conclusion of a column published this week by Salt Lake City Tribune’s Scott D. Pierce after a Cablefax interview with outgoing Pac 12 Network president Lydia Murphy-Stephans.
The executive, who was hired in part to secure a carriage deal with DIRECTV and its owner, AT&T, told Cablefax that she doesn’t have a clue why DIRECTV hasn’t signed on. The Pac 12 Network, which launched in 2012, is now offered by most major TV providers including Dish, Charter and Comcast and Cox.
Sling TV, the Dish-owned live streaming service, also offers the regional sports channel, which airs Pac 12 college basketball and football games, among other sports.
“Pac-12 Networks has offered DIRECTV the same distribution deal it has offered Comcast, Cox, Charter and others. Why DIRECTV hasn’t specifically picked up Pac-12 is a question for DIRECTV,” Stephans said.
Since the channel’s launch, DIRECTV executives (and now AT&T executives; the telco bought the satcaster in 2015.) have maintained that the Pac 12 Network is demanding too much money to carry it.
However, the impasse appeared ready to break in 2015 when AT&T and the Pac 12 Network begun carriage talks shortly after the telco’s merger with DIRECTV. Considering that AT&T’s U-verse TV service then carried the Pac 12 channel — and was a marketing partner with the conference — optimism abounded for a deal and Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott publicly said he was hopeful.
DBSTalk.com, a message forum long favored by DIRECTV employees, even reported that DIRECTV had begun testing the standard-definition and High-Definition signals for the regional sports channel. The test appeared to be for DIRECTV’s channel 612.
Sports Business Journal wrote then that AT&T had actually reached an agreement with the Pac 12 prior to the start of the 2015 college football season on both a carriage fee and a programming plan.
But SBJ said the deal collapsed when AT&T added a last-minute wrinkle that eventually blew up the negotiations. The telco demanded that the Pac 12 allow it to wire every conference campus with DIRECTV’s video service. This would give the satcaster, which now has more than 20 million subscribers, an even greater footprint.
Scott brought that proposal to the conference presidents, who rejected it.
Since 2015, there have been no indication that serious talks have been held and now Stephans is suggesting DIRECTV and AT&T have no interest in getting on board.
So … never? Sort of sounds that way,” writes Pierce.
— Phillip Swann