While the Pac-12 Networks may still be without a DirecTV deal five years into their existence, they’re finding some other partnerships. The newest one is with Dish’s SlingTV streaming service, and it’s the Pac-12’s first over-the-top deal. It’s a deal that will be available across the country regardless of location, and it will also include all six of the Pac-12’s regional networks, which has proven to matter for such things as the conference basketball tournament. Here are more details from Variety‘s Brian Steinberg:
Pac-12 Networks, the multimedia company of the Pac-12 Conference that is wholly owned by the 12 university members, has struck a pact with Dish Network’s Sling TV service that makes all six of its regional feeds available to customers who subscribe its “Sports Extra” add-on package. Sling TV is Pac-12 Networks’ first over-the-top provider and will let customers watch Pac-12 games regardless of their location, the companies said in a statement Thursday. The deal will make the Pac-12 feeds available on a national basis, helping fans avoid regional broadcasting restrictions.
“Our six regional networks, featuring 800 live sporting events and all-access original programming, will now be available over-the-top on Sling TV for Pac-12 fans across the country,”said Pac-12 Networks’ president, Lydia Murphy-Stephans, in a statement. “Sling’s innovative delivery model and great interface makes it incredibly easy for our fans to stay connected with their favorite Pac-12 school, team and sports.”
The deal gives Pac-12 Networks a foundation of sorts to negotiate similar deals with other carriers.
There are definitely carriage opportunities out there beyond the traditional cable and satellite companies, with the popularity of streaming services only rising, and it makes sense for the Pac-12 to explore those. It’s also interesting that they’ve found a deal that will let customers access all six of their regional networks regardless of their geographical location, and that’s something that’s perhaps even easier to do with streaming services than it is with conventional cable or satellite. The Pac-12 Networks still don’t have the carriage and/or popularity of the Big Ten or SEC Networks, but they are making some headway, and this is another step along those lines.