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Pac-12 & DirecTV Standoff, But U-Verse Deal Helps Conference

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The conference's need for the main satellite subscriber isn't too urgent with another crucial provider signing up to carry the network.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pac-12 Network has concluded its first year run in managing and broadcasting 550 sporting events. It has signed numerous agreements with various cable providers across the country, and also inked a critical deal with Dish to ensure that the majority of the country has a good chance at watching the network. The conference has to feel like it's in pretty good standing overall with the majority of the people who wish to watch everything the network has to offer.

The only bad news for the Pac-12 Network at this point is its inability to get DirecTV to cover the conference. It doesn't look like any resolution is forthcoming in the near future.

Scott said he doesn’t have “any reason to be optimistic” about negotiations with DirecTV.

“We’re well established with a fair and valuable offer,” he added. “They’ve said they don’t want to do a deal on the same terms everyone else has.”

While the Pac-12 could stand to profit from a nice arrangement with the preferred sports satellite carrier, there is hardly any urgency at this point. The Pac-12 has most of the deals they need in place, and the arrangement with U-Verse gives them even more coverage.

The Pac-12 Conference and AT&T have agreed on the framework for a distribution deal, according to conference sources.

The contract is weeks (and perhaps months) away from being finalized as the sides hammer out final details.

If all goes as expected, the Pac12Nets will be available on U-verse sometime this summer — probably just before the start of the football season.

U-verse has approximately 4.5 million customers, by the way. It’s the seventh-largest multi-channel video distributor in the country.

The conference now is in a great spot. They have a satellite provider (Dish) that puts pressure on DirecTV to come to the table. They have a teleco provider (AT&T) that should put pressure on Verizon FiOS to match. And they have plenty of cable subsidiaries both national (Comcast, Time Warner, Bright House, Cox) and local that provide the network with its natural foundation.

All in all, the Pac-12 Network is in a good place, DirecTV or no DirecTV.

Does the conference really need the satellite carrier?