This is the freaking fifth year I've complained about DirecTV not carrying the Pac-12 Networks. Count 'em: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.
Today, once again, I had to scramble to watch the Oregon Ducks football opener against UC Davis. Yes, after some Googling I found a free online stream of the Pac-12 Networks broadcast. But I'd much prefer to watch the game on my big screen television than on my 13" MacBook Pro.
I hope both DirecTV and the Pac-12 Networks realize they're acting like idiots. Their five year pissing match over broadcast rights/fees has passed the point of ridiculousness into Asinine Abject Absurdity.
I like DirecTV. But whenever someone in our rural neighborhood asks me for advice about DISH vs. DirecTV, I always start off by saying, "DirecTV works well for us, but not having the Pac-12 Networks is a big downside if you enjoy college sports."
Plus, I will never, ever consider switching our cell phones back to AT&T from Verizon, because I'm so irritated at AT&T for not being able to work out a deal with the Pac-12 Networks after acquiring DirecTV last year. There was a lot of hope in 2015 this would happen, spurred by an encouraging statement from the Pac-12 Networks.
Yet here we are, a year later, with me and many other unhappy DirecTV customers ferreting out unauthorized streams of Pac-12 Network games, because there is no legal way to watch them without subscribing to a cable or satellite service that offers the Pac-12 Network.
Which is stupid, since other leagues offer stand-alone streaming. (I added the boldfacing.)
Are you a frugal college football fan and/or a hip Millennial? Chances are, you’re one of many American TV consumers who’ve cut the cord!
But now that it’s college football season, you might feel obligated to buy back into the morass of high-dollar cable and satellite providers, just to enjoy the fabulous myriad of games across multiple networks each week.
Don’t do that, friend! (Unless you’re a Pac-12 fan.) We’ve assembled a quick guide on how to watch almost every college football game via non-traditional digital and streaming platforms.
...If your game is on the CBS Sports Network (most notably certain C-USA and American Athletic Conference games) or Pac-12 Networks in 2016, you’ll need a cable or satellite subscription. Both of those are unavailable on Sling or Vue and can’t be accessed via apps without first logging in through a cable provider.
The Pac-12 Networks' absence is probably the most impactful. Of the games currently scheduled to air on P12N, most are conference teams vs. FCS opponents, but decent matchups like Rutgers vs. Washington are unavailable unless you’ve got a cable provider that carries P12N.
But ever the optimist, this story gives me some reason to hope: "Pac-12 Networks hires cable executive to solve distribution problems."
Pac-12 Networks hired a longtime cable industry veteran to try to solve its distribution problems.
Alden Mitchell Budill will be head of distribution, overseeing the network’s affiliate sales and marketing department. She replaces Art Marquez, senior vice president of affiliate relations, who left the network in March.
One of the first items on Budill’s to-do list will be to set up a meeting with DirecTV, the satellite operator that has not carried any of the Pac-12 Networks channels since their 2012 launch.
Well, Ms. Budill looks like an attractive, charming, competent woman. If she is able to break the corporate logjam that is preventing DirecTV and the Pac-12 Networks from working out a deal, I'll nominate Budill for a Satellite TV Peace Prize.
On the negative side, this story says there is very little chance that a deal will be worked out soon. (RSN means regional sports network.)
The Pac-12 Network is kicking off its fifth year without a carriage agreement with DirecTV, and prospects for a resolution appear further away than ever.
Indeed, after apparently getting close to a deal at this time last year, going into the regional sports network’s fifth fall of highly rated college football coverage, analysts and pundits don’t think a deal is even close this time.
The standoff between the RSN, launched in August 2012, and the satellite operator remains one of the most protracted and frustrating impasses in the pay-TV ecosystem.
Through his “Hotline” column, the San Jose Mercury News’ Josh Wilner has been perhaps the closest observer of the dispute.
“In past years, the Hotline advised Pac-12 fans to be cautiously optimistic when the season approached and negotiations with DirecTV heated up,” Wilner said this week. “That was, in part, because some of my best sources on such matters were either 1) expecting a carriage deal or 2) felt it was a reasonable possibility. Not this year. The sentiment has shifted: Nobody expects a deal and many don’t even consider it a reasonable possibility.”
Probably I'll be complaining next year at this time about not being able to watch the Oregon Duck's opening game on DirecTV. Here's a link to Wilner's non-positive column about a deal being worked out between DirecTV and the Pac-12 Networks.
The time for a deal was last August/September, when the AT&T takeover of DTV was fresh … and it didn’t happen.
Now we’re one year removed from that potential collaboration point, one year closer to the end of AT&T’s contract with the Pac-12 and four years removed from DTV’s initial rejection of Pac12Nets carriage.
The dynamics for a deal have ebbed, it seems.
*** Of course, I have not spoken to Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, Pac12Nets boss Lydia Murphy-Stephans or the AT&T brass in charge of negotiations.
All of this is just reasonably-informed speculation; please take it for nothing more.
Could a deal happen this week or next? Absolutely.
But at the moment, it sure seems unlikely.