Pac-12 Network & DirecTV: Why Did The Deal Fall Apart?

Why did a deal fall apart between the Pac-12 and DirecTV?

If you're a Pac-12 fan, you still have to be wondering what exactly happened over the last few days for a deal to fall apart between the Pac-12 and the DirecTV. For the conference to send what was essentially a request to their fans to move on from the service cannot be a good sign for negotiations concluding with a deal this year.

Here are some possibilities.

  • DirecTV is probably not convinced of the value of the network. The conference is asking for more than DirecTV is willing to pay, and the satellite carrier doesn't want to broadcast the regionals full-time or part-time depending on what the Pac-12 is hoping for.
  • DirecTV probably doesn't believe the investment into TV Anywhere will provide a big enough payoff to justify the extra bandwidth costs, etc.
  • DirecTV probably isn't interested enough in the schedule until a big matchup like Cal-USC comes up.

Let's break down what could be holding up a deal after the jump.

DirecTV is not convinced of the value of the network. The satellite provider probably believes the Pac-12 is asking too much per subscriber and is willing to try and intimidate the conference into making a deal that best services their needs. DirecTV probably believes demand isn't high enough and fans aren't passionate enough to make a switch when they offer important packages like NFL Sunday Ticket and the best possible soccer matches.

DirecTV believes the Pac-12 is too niche and not worth the bill. Unlike SEC football or even the Big Ten, the Pac-12 might be too fragmented to enter the national consciousness and be worth its own deal. It could be the old "USC and the Eleven Dwarves" moniker that plagued the conference the past decade. Only USC (and maybe Oregon) has that national pull, so we'll see if a deal gets made when the Trojans finally make their appearances on the network.

DirecTV is not a fan of the schedule. Indeed, the first slate of games is not terribly inspiring, and there's no real rush for the satellite provider to make a deal when they don't believe the demand will be high enough to warrant a hasty signing. Will things change when more high-profile games hit the schedule, particularly Cal vs. USC in the fourth week of September?

DirecTV is only interested in the football properties. This has been suggested, and it wouldn't surprise me. The 35 football games are the key to getting any big TV subscribers to sign up in the first place, and DirecTV probably is trying to only get the national . But that is not in the Pac-12 Network's interest with regards to their regional model, as they want the entire slate of basketball and particularly non-revenue sports to get covered as well. The Pac-12 isn't going to give any of its sports the short end of the stick to get football covered.

DirecTV isn't interested in TV Anywhere--at least the way the Pac-12 Network envisions it. Right now they treat the Pac-12 Network as a TV property only and aren't interested in providing digital access via mobile or online devices because the channel doesn't garner national interest. All of these avenues are possibilities.

Any of these factors (and probably other stuff I've forgotten) might have contributed to negotiations holding up. Regardless of what has caused the issue, the only thing that you can probably do is either (a) cancel your subscription to DirecTV as the Pac-12 suggests, and (b) demand that DirecTV carries Pac-12 Networks if they expect your service.

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