This morning, the Pac-12 admitted what was obvious all along, that they haven't and aren't about to reach a carriage deal with Directv, who is by a long distance the leader in the satellite tv business.
In an open letter, they then proceed to insult their customers intelligence, advising Directv customers to switch providers, stating "most Pac-12 fans have options". This demonstrates their total lack of comprehension of the problem they have created.
While there are other providers in some areas, the fact remains that in the majority of the footprint, either the local monopoly cable provider still does NOT carry the Pac-12 Network, or there IS NO other local provider, the reason many of these customers are Directv, of Dish Network, customers to begin with.
Some of the conference's members are more impacted by this than others, with those with either widely dispersed alumni, and/or a sizable portion of their customer base located outside of certain population centers, but its going to hurt everyone to some significant degree.
Compounding the problem, outside the footprint, some of the providers they executed a bad contract that doesn't include adequate delivery guarantees to protect their customers with, are not providing coverage.
The Pac-12 Network also discounts other key reasons numerous customers who do have a cable option went with satellite services to begin with; better service and better products.
Poor service coupled with a lack of commitment of resources to infrastructure maintenance, modernization, and expansion started the surge to satellite in served areas, and nothing has changed that.
And then there is the elephant in the room the Pac-12 has so far failed to utter; NFL Sunday Ticket.
Directv has it, and the NFL drives the sports entertainment bus. Not for everyone, but like it or not, for a huge, lucrative segment of the market, it does. It's a reality, and it isn't changing.
In a short-sighted move to grab up front money, the Pac-12 gave away their ability to distribute content via the internet, which abdicated the Pacific Rim market as well as boxing themselves and their customers in when problems with cable distribution, both inside and especially outside the conference footprint, developed. It also put the conference network in the unfortunate position of being caught in misleading advertising about their TV Anywhere promise, something they haven't come close to delivering on.
Now, a still eager customer base has been transformed into a frustrated, jaded, and insulted one.
Sensible damage control called for not trying to extract every last penny from Directv, taking an opportunity loss, but saving their audience. Admitting they made a mistake might be in order as well. That didn't happen either.
This isn't meant to be an endorsement of Directv, or a cloaked infomercial. It's merely recognizing that the Pac-12 dropped the ball, with many of their customers left not watching their favorite teams.