SBD/August 30, 2012/College Football Preview

Pac-12 Network, DirecTV Still Without Carriage Deal As College Football Season Begins

Writer says fans "should not assume" Pac-12 strikes a deal with DirecTV this season
The Pac-12 Network "won't reach a carriage agreement" with DirecTV before the college football season starts tonight, according to a source cited by Jon Wilner of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. The net has six football games scheduled for this weekend (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/30). Wilner in a separate piece cited a source as using the word "impasse" regarding the state of the negotiations with DirecTV. The Pac-12 "anticipated obstacles on the carriage front," which is why Commissioner Larry Scott "insisted on retaining the rights to 35 football games during his negotiations with Fox and ESPN on the $3 billion Tier 1 deal." Fans "should not assume a deal will be struck with DirecTV this fall" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 8/29). In Seattle, Bob Condotta wrote, "For now, sounds like another week of waiting -- and time to seek out alternatives if you want to watch the UW game and don't get the Pac-12 Network" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 8/29). In California, Matt Solinsky notes Time Warner Cable is the "only cable provider in the Coachella Valley that has the Pac-12 Networks in its linuep." As of yesterday, the net "was unable to reach a carriage deal with DirecTV and issued an open letter to fans recommending they switch to another television provider" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 8/30).

FOOTBALL ANYWHERE: USA TODAY's Snider & Yu note the Pac-12 Networks yesterday "rolled out its Pac-12 Now iPad app." However, "only the subscribers of Bright House, Cox and Time Warner (and soon, Comcast) can watch the national channel and six regional ones on the Web and through the new app." Pac-12 VP & GM/Digital David Aufhauser said, "I think it's the first time a network has launched on television with the ability to watch on the iPad and the Web at the same time" (USA TODAY, 8/30).

REMEMBER WHEN: In Indianapolis, Zac Keefer notes the Big Ten Network today "turns 5 years old." When the net launched in '07, some "questioned if a television network devoted to a single college conference could survive." Indiana Univ. Assistant AD/Broadcast Services Jeremy Gray said, "When it launched, people wondered if it was going to be a colossal failure. Now it's basically printing money for the schools. It's been far more profitable than anyone anticipated." Keefer notes it "didn't take long for Big Ten schools to spend the money on new facilities, makeovers for old ones and multimillion-dollar coaching contracts." For example, IU in '09 "built a 138,000-square-foot Student Athletic Development Center." Purdue AD Morgan Burke said, "I wouldn't have been able to get the Mackey project passed without the (revenue) projections we received. A lot of us took a leap of faith with the network. Five years later, it's paid off in a number of ways." Keefer writes other conferences "have taken note," as the Pac-12 Networks launched this month and the SEC and ESPN, which "owns the majority of the league's most valuable games for the next 12 years, are thinking about creating a network" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 8/30).
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