In a Q&A with Bryan Fischer, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott indicates that the Pac-12 Network and DirecTV can't seem to get a deal done because the satellite carrier doesn't respect its fans.
I don’t know exactly what the sticking point is with DirecTV but based on what they say to their customers, they’ve used a number of different arguments and been a moving target. They’ve questioned whether our fans really want it and how passionate our fans really are, whether it’s fair to their non-sports customers, whether the price is too high; there’s been a panoply of different answers they’ve given
. It’s been a bit of pin the tail on the donkey. I suspect the real reason is financial to a large extent. But obviously they’ve just picked up the Lakers’ network which is much, much more expensive than our networks so I suspect they can afford it and hope they choose to do it.
This could very well be the situation. DirecTV seemed to be willing to cave to the demands of the Laker network in short order. And this is despite the fact that DirecTV would have to pay significantly more (three to four times as much per subscriber) to air the channel. Unfortunately, it seems Laker fans are quite vocal in their demands, and made it quite clear they would switch to competing providers if DirecTV didn't air the network. Considering Los Angeles is Laker nation and also one of the primary hubs for DirecTV coverage AND that almost every cable company was providing the network, DirecTV had to act quickly here.
This seems to be the primary problem with the Pac-12 Network. Although there is definite interest concerning the network, there aren't necessarily great alternatives yet. Los Angeles has a few areas which don't carry the network. Plenty of regions on the West Coast do not have cable providers carrying the network in their regions. The East Coast still has plenty of issues with distribution of any sort. Dish Network might have agreed to carry the network, but it is not as widely netted as DirecTV.
If the telecos like AT&T U-Verse, Verizon FioS and Charter came to the table, this would suddenly ease a LOT of the burden, as DirecTV would then face direct national pressure to air the channel. But right now it seems as if DirecTV doesn't believe fans will desert them in droves because the alternatives are either (a) not present or (b) not good enough for providers to switch over.
The battle wages on. If you can switch, do so. Use the Pac-12 Channel Finder and get a move on it.