As Pac-12 fans continue to ponder how they’re going to watch this week’s conference basketball tournament on Pac-12 Network, the league is also into its fourth year of its seemingly endless dispute with DirecTV. Being shut out from DirecTV has left the league with a huge hole in potential viewers, plus with owner AT&T, there doesn’t appear to be any rush to have Pac-12 Network and its regional channels on the satellite provider.
We’ve chronicled the silly disputes between providers and networks that have left viewers in the middle and without certain channels for long periods of time. Comcast and Fox are locked in the latest muscle tussle over YES Network which has left Brooklyn Nets and New York Yankees fans in the lurch. And while that conflict has been ongoing since November of last year, it’s still not as long as Pac-12/DirecTV.
Part of the problem is that the league owns the network and is not partnering with one of the major sports media companies. Unlike the Big Ten and the SEC which partnered with Fox and ESPN respectively, the Pac-12 is taking the risk and onus to negotiate with the cable companies. While it did get agreements with AT&T U-Verse, Bright House, Comcast (but not for the main Pac-12 Network in HD), Cox, Dish, Time Warner plus the National Cable Television Cooperative and several smaller providers, it still remains off DirecTV and Verizon FiOS.
Without all of the major providers on board, Pac-12 Network will lag behind Big Ten Network and SEC in subscriber revenue. And even though AT&T purchased DirecTV last year and it appeared that an agreement was imminent, talks collapsed and the network remains off the channel lineup. The league even devoted an entire page of its website to the DirecTV dispute and efforts to get people to switch to another provider have been unsuccessful giving DirecTV even more leverage in the dispute.
As fans throughout the conference footprint are left without 8 of the 11 conference tournament games this week (one quarterfinal, semifinal and the championship game are on FS1) either due to the silly dispute or Pac-12’s decision to regionalize its telecasts, this whole thing is leaving a bad taste in viewers’ mouths. There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for the DirecTV dispute nor does it appear to be reaching an agreement with Verizon.
So viewers on certain providers will continue to be in the dark and if they are so motivated, try to get a friend’s log-in to watch Pac-12 Network online or find a backdoor method to watch. The conference is plugging along hoping that one day it will find that golden pot at the end of the rainbow when it finally gets all of the major providers on board, but it’s not known when that day will occur. In the meantime, subscribers to DirecTV will remain in the dark.