The Pac-12 Networks will be going into their third year of operation come fall and there’s still no agreement with DirecTV in sight. Still, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott is preaching patience and is optimistic that a deal will get done down the road.
Scott is also happy how the networks have generated revenue for the conference’s members over the past two years seeing that the league has 100% ownership compared to Big Ten Network which is co-owned by the conference and Fox and SEC Network which is operated by ESPN.
Scott says he’s frustrated not having full distribution and seeing SEC Network’s momentum, but he’s also pleased over complete control over the Pac-12 Networks’ content and programming.
The commissioner says that despite not having a deal in place with DirecTV, he’s looking at the big picture, not the short term. Scott said, “You have to look at this based on where we’ll be after 10 years. Not three.”
And while Pac-12 Networks are in 60 million homes compared to Big Ten Network’s 90 million and SEC Network’s 67 million, Scott noted there was interest from ESPN, CBS and DirecTV to become a distribution partner as Fox was with BTN. However, Scott and the Pac-12 members decided to go it alone and that has hindered it when coming to negotiate with the cable and satellite providers. The league admits that Fox and ESPN have clout with the cable companies, something the Pac-12 does not have and it had to lower its fee to 80 cents per subscriber compared to $1 for BTN and over $1.30 for the SEC Network.
However, the money generated from the Pac-12 Networks have more than doubled the conference’s take before the channels came into existence. And it put the Pac-12 above the Big Ten and SEC as far as revenue generated in 2012-13. The landscape could change when the SEC Network begins, but the Pac-12 has to be pleased over the amount of money being raised through its networks.
And with DirecTV’s pending deal with AT&T, the stalemate with the satellite provider could ease as AT&T already has as an agreement in place with Pac-12 Networks.
The future still looks bright for the Pac-12 Networks and Larry Scott is still laughing all the way to the bank.