The Pac-12 Network was ballyhooed as a way for sports fans of Pac-12 Conference sports to be able to take in all the events not always offered on television. As the cable network enters its second year, there are still millions of fans that don’t receive the network’s broadcasts. Sound familiar?
As the college football season looms closer, there will be football games that many fans won’t be able to watch because of the Pac-12’s refusal to negotiate with some of the major providers in the country. Fans who subscribe to DirectTV, Charter Communications or Verizon are forced to go without at this point. None of these companies has been able to come to an agreement with the Pac-12 Conference who controls the network.
Worse than before
The Pac-12 Network was to be the answer for fans who wanted to see all the games on television. However, for some, what the Pac-12 has done is worse than what coverage existed before the Pac-12 Network surfaced. For instance, USC Trojans fans always were able to view all the games on a variety of cable and network outlets that were basic and available to all. Now, with the Pac-12 Network, Trojan fans will miss multiple games during the season.
One side blames the other, but in the end, the football fans in this case lose out. Does the Pac-12 care? Pac-12 Conference Commissioner Larry Scott was blunt last week when he said at the Football Media Day, “With a month to go, I want to be up front with our fans still unable to watch the [Pac-12] network.” And then stated, “… we are still at an impasse, no closer to a deal.” DirectTV spokesman Robert Mercer replied, “The decision is entirely up to the Pac-12. Either lower the price so that it’s affordable to all of our customers or let us sell the network only to those who want to pay for it.”
If that doesn’t sound engaging, you’re right. And there doesn’t appear to be anything in the near future to change the situation. How many fans does this constitute? Well, in the Los Angeles region alone, DirectTV has over one million subscribers. Yeah, ouch!
Missing in action
So with that said, which games will millions of fans miss? If you’re living in the state of Oregon, you’ll be unhappy to find that the home opener at Oregon State won’t be seen. And Beaver fans will also miss the following week’s game against Hawaii. Not be outdone, the Oregon Ducks Pac-12 games at home against California and on the road at Colorado will also be blocked by the Pac-12 Network’s coverage.
Bay Area folks will miss that Cal game and also the rivalry in the Silicon Valley between San Jose State and Stanford. In the Greater L.A. Area fans will miss a couple games as well when the UCLA Bruins hosts Nevada to start the season (maybe that will help attendance in the Rose Bowl) and a couple weeks later when Boston College visits USC.
These contests are just the announced ones so far, as many more Pac-12 games will be lacking coverage as the season progresses. Commissioner Scott says sports fans should drop DirectTV, which was his same answer to the debacle last year. Some people don’t have that option, so Scott’s statement is callous. Go on to fan forums and just guess what they think of Scott’s insensitive tone.
A large segment of Pac-12 Conference constituents are caught in the middle of a standoff between multiple bullies who won’t stand down to benefit their fans/customers. How is this better than what was offered before the Pac-12 Network existed?
For now, the Pac-12 Conference football games will continue not to be viewed by millions of football fans. Whose fault it is – that’s for the individual to say – but the folks at the Pac-12 and major providers like DirectTV, Charter and Verizon need to come together for the sake of the fans. Will that happen?
Additional source: Pac-12 Conference
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