The Pac-12 Network is kicking off its fifth year without a carriage agreement with DirecTV, and prospects for a resolution appear further away than ever.
Indeed, after apparently getting close to a deal at this time last year, going into the regional sports network’s fifth fall of highly rated college football coverage, analysts and pundits don’t think a deal is even close this time.
The standoff between the RSN, launched in August 2012, and the satellite operator remains one of the most protracted and frustrating impasses in the pay-TV ecosystem.
Through his “Hotline” column, the San Jose Mercury News’ Josh Wilner has been perhaps the closest observer of the dispute.
“In past years, the Hotline advised Pac-12 fans to be cautiously optimistic when the season approached and negotiations with DirecTV heated up,” Wilner said this week. “That was, in part, because some of my best sources on such matters were either 1) expecting a carriage deal or 2) felt it was a reasonable possibility. Not this year. The sentiment has shifted: Nobody expects a deal and many don’t even consider it a reasonable possibility.”
While AT&T has a legacy deal to carry Pac-12 Network on U-verse, its demands for DirecTV remain high, Wilnder said.
A demand for “campus-wide” rights to Pac-12 member schools was rejected by nearly all 12 conference universities last year, for example.
In prior conversations, DirecTV reps have told FierceCable that the channel is demanding too high of a carriage fee, given that most of the Pac-12’s coveted football and basketball games are carried by national outlets like Fox Sports 1.
While West Coast college sports fans wait for the RSN to show up on the program guide of one of the region’s biggest pay-TV operators, Pac-12 does have one carriage agreement to toot its marching band over.
The conference just announced a multi-year deal with Fox Sports Australia to televise 13 football games (one per week) and 21 men’s basketball games annually, including eight from the conference tournament.
- read this San Jose Mercury News story
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