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At Stalemate with DirecTV, Pac-12 Launches Campaign for Subscribers to Switch

No deal expected in 2013-14

With negotiations remaining at a stalemate with DirecTV, the Pac-12 Networks has focused its energies on a new advertising campaign that aims to convince subscribers to the satellite distributor to drop it for an alternative that carries the college sports channels.

Using print, digital, billlboard, radio and TV spots, the campaign launches today, 17 days before the first college football telecast of the season on the Pac-12 channels, and encourages DirecTV viewers to switch to such outlets as Cox, Dish or Time Warner Cable.

Including 35 football games, the Pac-12 Networks will show more than 750 live events this year, 200 more than 2012-13.

“We realize this is affecting many of our fans, and we share their frustration,” said Pac-12 Networks president Lydia Murphy-Stephans. “We built the Pac-12 Networks to give fans unprecedented access to their favorite teams and sports on TV, and with just two weeks before the fall sports schedule begins DirecTV continues to deny them that access.”

In late July, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott told reporters at the conference’s media day that no deal with DirecTV is expected to be completed in 2013-14.

One problem the Pac-12 faces is that many fans of the network are also fans of the NFL, and DirecTV is the exclusive provider of the NFL Sunday Ticket package – at least until that deal expires at the end of the 2014 season. DirecTV CFO Patrick Doyle said in March that the company would be willing to absorb a cost increase on the DirecTV deal, but that at a certain point it would “think about not carrying it or go nonexclusive,” according to AdWeek.  Earlier this month, Doyle said that DirecTV was having “constructive discussions” with the NFL.

In a statement on its website, DirecTV said it is looking out for its customers with regards to the Pac-12: “DirecTV wants to make Pac-12 Network available to the fans who want it. To do that, Pac 12 either needs to agree to a price to make it affordable for all of our customers, as we’ve offered and done with dozens of other sports networks, or allow Pac 12 fans to buy the network separately or purchase individual games on demand. Unfortunately, Pac 12 has refused all of these options. Regardless, we stand ready to agree to add the network if they propose a deal that’s fair.

The Pac-12 has complained that DirecTV won’t accept the same terms the other distributors have.

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