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DIRECTV: Will It Ever Carry Pac 12 Network?

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Q. I am a big fan of UCLA, particularly its football team. But my TV service, which is DIRECTV, doesn’t carry the Pac 12 Network, which carries a lot of UCLA sports. My question to you: Will DIRECTV every carry the Pac 12 Network, or do I need to switch to another TV service? — Peter, Los Angeles. 

Peter, as you know, the Pac 12 Network airs football and basketball games as well as other sports played by teams in the conference. The sports channel launched in 2012.

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While the Pac 12 Network has secured carriage deals with other major TV providers such as Dish, U-verse and Comcast, DIRECTV is determined to reduce its program acquisition costs which have skyrocketed in recent years.

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In addition to the Pac 12 Network, the satcaster has refused to carry SportsNet LA, which has the exclusive rights to air Los Angeles Dodgers games in the LA market. (SportsNet LA launched in 2014.)

Stemming rising programming costs remains a priority at DIRECTV, and AT&T, which now owns the satcaster. So six years later after launch, DIRECTV still does not carry the Pac 12 Network despite a handful of occasions when the two parties seemed to flirt with a resolution.

But there may be a new development that could finally bring the sides together.

U-verse, which AT&T also owns, could soon lose the Pac 12 Network if it does not sign a new carriage deal with the channel.

The current carriage pact between U-verse and the Pac 12 Network expires in August so it’s possible the companies are talking now. And since AT&T also negotiates carriage deals for DIRECTV, any discussions regarding U-verse would undoubtedly also include the satellite service. (Note: AT&T’s U-verse signed its carriage pact with the Pac 12 Network prior to the telco’s merger with DIRECTV.)

Now that doesn’t mean AT&T will negotiate a new pact for both U-verse and DIRECTV, and perhaps its live streaming service, DIRECTV Now, as well. The telco might decide to let the Pac 12 Network go completely when the current U-verse contract ends in August.

But the U-verse deadline could be an opportunity for AT&T and the Pac 12 Network to reexamine their relationship and strike a wider carriage agreement that would include AT&T’s entire suite of TV services.

Peter, there are no guarantees here, but I think we’ll learn more in the next month or so.

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The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

2 Comments on DIRECTV: Will It Ever Carry Pac 12 Network?

  1. thomas koshinsky // June 29, 2018 at 10:27 am // Reply

    My idea would be to rent Sling tv for the college season at (I think) 25$ a month to get Pac 12, after all, how much would you pay Direct to carry it?

  2. George Cathcart // July 11, 2018 at 8:11 pm // Reply

    PAC-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, the overpaid (read: $5M ann.) “guru” of the league, deserves a lot of the blame for the impasse with DIRECTV, He simply stonewalls the negotiations, and has done so for several years. As a result the member universities have lost a lot of support, including monetary, from their alumni like me. A loyal Trojan switching from DIRECTV to Sling so I can watch PAC-12.

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