Who's ready for some great news about the Pac-12 Network and DirecTV? I'm waiting for it too!
But it's not coming yet. If negotiations are happening, both sides are remaining airtight. Jon Wilner has the news.
Best guess on chances of Pac12 carriage deals by Thurs: DirecTV: 55-60%, Dish: 10%, Charter: 5%. Gotta plead ignorance on Fios & U-verse— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) August 28, 2012
Again, the best you can do to help raise those odds is to demand Pac-12 Networks.
So. It appears we're headed for a deal in the final 24 hours before the Pac-12 Network airs its first football game. Either that, or a decent segment of the national audience will be completely cut off from Pac-12 viewing for at least the first day of the season, with possibly the first week in complete danger.
If no deal was made, it's clear neither side seems to believe Week 1 is a big week to lose out on. While there are six conference games that audiences in Washington D.C., Chicago, Indianapolis, Minneapolis would miss out on in the opening week, three are games against FCS opponents and the other three are mid-majors, with not a major contest in any of these games. It could be coming down to whether the Pac-12 believes their fans on the East Coast won't be too angry at missing out on these contests, or whether DirecTV doesn't believe these contests are high priority enough to give up any ground in negotiations.
Will the Pac-12 wait that long and risk disgruntling a lot of their alumni in the short-term? The games the first week of the season isn't exactly a stellar bunch, with most of the Pac-12 teams heavy favorites in each contest. There are more compelling matchups Week 2, but not exactly nationally compelling. If the satellite carrier is putting its foot in the sand, it's quite possible that DirecTV will come to the table when a team as nationally relevant as USC does finally make their round on the network in Week 3.
As nice as it would be for the conference to go out of its way ad make a deal to get things solved, it makes perfect sense to try and demand the highest possible subscriber fees to ensure their schools get as much revenue as possible here. But at some point they have to get national distribution to be taken seriously as a network, and the only way they can do that this year is to make sure DirecTV carries their channels.
That's why I'd guess a deal is about to be made before the start of this week or soon thereafter. People are going to start cancelling their subscriptions soon at DirecTV, and then someone will have to come to the table. You'd think.