Pacific Mailbag: Pac-12 Network & the proposed DirecTV-AT&T merger

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Could the Pac-12 Network find its way on the air sooner than expected?

With AT&T planning to merge with DirecTV, how does that effect the chances of DirecTV adding the Pac12 Network?

Brian Culbreth
Sun Devils Fan

I am sure that I am not the first person to ask this question. With the current merger between AT&T and Direct TV will this change the way Pac 12 and Direct TV communicate? AT&T has Pac-12 and Direct TV does not. Obviously this poses a interesting situation because in a sense if Direct TV and AT&T merge, then Pac 12 will be associated with Direct TV.

On another note, this also plays into AT&T having access to the NFL and the NFL Sunday ticket which is exclusive on Direct TV. Does  this open the doors for other providers to jump into the NFL and get part of that packaging and not allow Direct TV to have a monopoly there. As you know, Dish network, and even Google have tried to make agreements with the NFL to broadcast their games with NFL Sunday Ticket.

For the past 2  years I have had to carry 2 television providers, one who has the Pac 12 and Direct TV due to Sunday ticket. I cant give up both, only hoping to one day save money by having one provider that carry's everything that I want.

Thank you

Jeffrey Wineberg

Well, Larry Scott sure seemed happy with the news!

Indeed, AT&T holding sway over DirecTV could hopefully ensure that the satellite provider is brought to the table and forced to negotiate a comfortable deal. AT&T already carries the Pac-12 Network in their U-Verse teleco package. The hope is that DirecTV will then be swayed by their corporate masters to carry the conference network sooner rather than later, ending one of the longest carriage battles for a sports network and a satellite company that we've seen in recent years.

Now, unfortunately for Pac-12 fans, the AT&T-DirecTV sale is still a long way from being finalized. It could be a year before we see definitive movement on the issue.

So the answer I have for you right now is a frustrating one: I don't really know. DirecTV may retain operations control over their programming and what channels they decide are suitable for carriage. So it could be a long time until we really know if these corporate changes will trickle down into a deal between the nation's largest satellite carrier and the Pac-12.

However, if AT&T is calling the shots down the line, it will prove to be beneficial for the conference, because at some point you have to imagine DirecTV will be far more willing to negotiate for carriage with these new bosses at the head of the table.

To submit questions to the latest Pacific Mailbag on all things Pac-12, email us at pacifictakes at gmail dot com.

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