Fans in Houston and the Pac-12 Conference footprint know all too well what fans in the South are going through. As the launch date of the SEC Network gets closer, there's word that DirecTV could once again refuse to carry the channel in August.
Several outlets noted e-mail exchanges between DirecTV and customers in which the satellite provider informs them of its plans for SEC Network or actually, no plans:
"After careful review, I have confirmed that DIRECTV has no current plans to carry the SEC Network."
Well, that certainly puts an end to it. Or does it? It appears DirecTV's Twitter account is telling a different story. When people started to complain about DirecTV not picking SEC Network, the person in charge of the account pleaded ignorance:
@AUFAMILY I'm not aware of this email being sent out. We're always open to discussions that will help expand our sports programming choices.
— DIRECTV Service (@DIRECTVService) February 19, 2014
ESPN is depending on fans in the SEC footprint to contact their cable or satellite provider in hopes of getting carriage. Dish has already committed to carrying the network, however, DirecTV is the first to say outright that it won't pick it up for now.
With the launch coming, DirecTV appears to be in no hurry to pick up another sports network which it labels as too expensive and cost-prohibitive for its service. It's in the second year of a dispute with Pac-12 Networks. It won't carry Comcast SportsNet Houston. And it appears to be digging in its heels on SportsNet LA, the regional sports network devoted to the Los Angeles Dodgers which will launch in a matter of a few days.
If the SEC Network dispute with DirecTV continues past the launch date, ESPN will begin to encourage DirecTV customers to switch providers. If a large migration occurs, that might encourage DirecTV to sign off on SEC Network, but a similar appeal by the Pac-12 has not convinced the company that its network is absolutely necessary to carry.
So fans on the West Coast are in a holding pattern and SEC fans may soon be caught in the same rabbit hole come August.