The Pac-12 and U-Verse have yet to officially agree on anything, but Jon Wilner remains insistent that a deal is in place, it just needs to be signed.
This is not another DirecTV situation, where the two sides were on course for a deal and then got derailed.
As I reported this spring, the Pac12Nets and AT&T have agreed on the framework of a deal. That was accurate then and remains accurate today.
The delay is in the details. It’s a wide-ranging partnership and a complicated arrangement. My understanding is that the carriage component is done — and has been done for some time. That would seem to indicate there’s a holdup somewhere else.
Will all the Ts get crossed in the next 12-24 hours? Or in the next week? (Again, DISH signed on in time for the Week 2 games last year.)
The Pac-12 had better hope so.
A lot is at stake for the Pac-12 if they manage to ink a deal with U-Verse.
- More pressure on DirecTV to come to the table. If competitors all end up picking the Pac-12 Networks, DirecTV would feel more compelled to pick up the network because customers will feel like they have solid alternatives to choose from.
- More coverage in more areas. Cable providers don't all currently carry the Pac-12 Network. The satellite carrier DISH doesn't have reach in as many areas as DirecTV does. So AT&T U-Verse provides more options in regions bereft of the ability to carry the network at this point.
- The more major carriers that are signed up, the more negotiating power the Pac-12 will have, and they'll have a greater ability to negotiate bigger deals as the years go by.
The Pac-12 Networks could really use this boost going into Year 2 and take all the heat off their inability to negotiate a deal with DirecTV. Will it take an extra week like it did with DISH? Will it take a few weeks like with conference season? Or is a deal coming in the next 12 hours?
We shall see.