Welcome to the first edition of Pacific Mailbag! Here we hope to answer all your pertinent Pac-12 questions. Email us at pacifictakes at gmail dot com to ask us questions about the Pac-12 in general, Pac-12 teams, college football and hoops, and everything else under the sun. Our staff will make sure to answer the questions in subsequent mailbags.
Here's our first email!
Who will DirecTV choose to carry first, the Pac-12 Network or the SEC Network?
~William, Ashland, Oregon (GO DUCKS!)
It's sadly looking like the SEC Network might win this one-if not this year, they will almost certainly be signed on in the near future. Unlike the Pac-12, the SEC is so deeply entrenched in the culture of its region. You could say a significant proportion of the population in the southeast who watch sports and shill out the dollars for a premium sports satellite package will want their SEC fix every weekend, particularly on Saturdays in autumn. DirecTV not carrying the SEC Network would almost certainly lead to many Southern subscribers looking elsewhere for the sports programming they want.
Meanwhile, the Pac-12 Network just doesn't have the regional saturation in the West that the SEC enjoys in the South. The West Coast is a pretty diverse collection of audience members that don't necessarily focalize their programming habits over three dozen Pac-12 football games. There might be some occasional losses and defections by Pac-12 fans to move from satellite to cable, but DirecTV still doesn't seem ready to meet the Pac-12's asking price.
The Pac-12 seems happy with its current arrangements as well. The conference is getting what it needs from its deals with local cable providers in the West, with a national arrangement coming from a few of the bigger cable providers and DISH Network. They have the needed subscribers to ensure the long-term profitability of the network. Obviously, national distribution is still a high priority via DirecTV, but for now the conference seems to believe that maintaining its control over West Coast audiences remains a much bigger deal than getting the DirecTV subscribers that would elevate the network into a national fixture.
I expect DirecTV will eventually come to the table with regards to carrying the Pac-12 Network. I don't think that day is coming until at least the weeks before the season, and there's a good chance we might have to wait another year.
Again, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you might have and we'll try to answer them .