Q. Is there anything new with the Pac 12 Network going on DIRECTV? Will it happen this season? I remember you wrote about some negotiations that are going on now. Right? — June, Manhattan Beach, California.
June, you are right. I wrote last month that U-verse, which AT&T owns in addition to owning DIRECTV, 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 is expiring (perhaps as early as next week) so I speculated that it’s possible the companies are talking about a new deal.
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. The satcaster has never carried the Pac 12 Network.)
The U-verse deadline, I wrote, 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.
However, with the deadline for a new deal looming, a Pac 12 Network press representative told me yesterday there is nothing new to report. Considering the frigid relations between the companies in recent months, that’s not a good sign.
In addition, Jon Wilner, a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, wrote recently that sources tell him that AT&T is expected to ‘walk away’ from the Pac 12 Network when the current contract expires. That would mean neither U-verse or DIRECTV would carry the channel after next week, if not sooner.
“I guess you never know, but my assumption is that they’re each going their own way,’’ one source said, according to Wilner.
Last note: U-verse and the Pac 12 Network officially kicked off its current 5-year deal on September 6, 2013 so it’s quite possible that it will expire on September 6, 2018, which is six days away.
I will continue to watch this story in the coming days, and will report back here when we learn more.
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— Phillip Swann