We are now three days before the Pac-12 Networks broadcasts their first league conference game in California at USC, and still no sign of a thaw in negotiations between DirecTV and the Pac-12 Conference.
The Pac-12 Networks are available on four of the five largest television providers, including Time Warner Cable and Dish Network locally. But the big holdout continues to be DirecTV not just in terms of its national customer base but because many sports bars rely on DirecTV in order to have the Sunday NFL Ticket package.
The Pac-12 Conference is turning up the heat on DirecTV, sending out another letter to fans. The industry feeling is that if DirecTV and the Pac-12 Networks don’t reach a deal this week (to air the big Cal-USC game) then it could go all season — or even all year — until the two sides come to carriage terms.
Here’s the open letter from the Pac-12:
Dear Pac-12 fan,
It was another fantastic weekend of Pac-12 football, with three wins by top-25 Pac-12 teams on Pac-12 Networks.
Unfortunately, once again DirecTV customers didn’t get to see the games.
We have been hearing from tens of thousands of you about how frustrated you are missing these games. We share your disappointment.
Despite your thousands of emails, tweets, calls and posts, DirecTV is tuning out its loyal customers and still refusing to reach a fair agreement.
While we cannot explain it, so far DirecTV, which has always claimed to be the “sports leader,” is simply not interested in offering its customers the Pac-12 Networks. That means fans like you could lose a full season of conference matchups, including Cal at USC and Utah at Arizona State this Saturday.
We find DirecTV’s position baffling. First, the deal we’ve offered DirecTV is fundamentally similar to the deal that has already been accepted by DISH, four of the largest cable companies in the country and more than 40 others. How can a deal that works for all those companies be “unaffordable” for DirecTV, the largest satellite TV provider in the country and the company that built its brand offering every subscriber the “all the sports they crave”?
Second, DirecTV’s claim that the games on the Pac-12 Network are not of interest is absurd. In college football, every game is a big game – something we’d all expect the leader in sports to understand, particularly when it offers its customers Big Ten Network, CBS College and many regional sports networks. While we admire our Rose Bowl brethren at the Big Ten, why shouldn’t Pac-12 fans and alums be insulted by DirecTV’s decision to trivialize the games that matter to them? Just like those Big Ten fans, we want to see every game our teams play.
Put simply, DirecTV is failing its customers and betraying its promise to be the sports leader. Based on the company’s position today, fans will miss out on 20 upcoming conference football games airing on the Pac-12 Networks, nearly half of the season’s remaining conference games, including some of the most compelling rivalries in the country. Fans will also miss out on the 20 hours of in-depth analysis, coaches’ shows and previews that air each week, as well as the 150 men’s basketball games, (nearly 70 percent of all Conference games) including eight tournament matchups, scheduled to air later this year.
We will continue to work day and night to achieve 100 percent distribution for all Pac-12 fans, and we appreciate all you’ve done to help with those efforts thus far. We hope you will continue making your voice heard, but with the distinct possibility that DirecTV fails to recognize the value of offering the Pac-12 Networks to its customers for the long haul you should also consider other providers in your area that offer the Pac-12 Networks. By standing up for your rights as a consumer, you can shape the behavior of the companies, like DirecTV, that are supposed to serve you.
Tell your provider to reach a fair agreement to carry Pac-12 Networks today or switch to one of the more than 40 cable and satellite distributors that does offer Pac-12 Networks in your area …