If there's one area where Jon Wilner has excelled as a reporter over the past year, it's updates on the Pac-12 Network. The Network is not content with the status quo and intends to expand this offseason.
Checked in with Pac-12 Enterprise President Gary Stevenson about a variety of topics. Naturally, we touched on the prospects for a Pac-12 Networks distribution deal — with DirecTV and/or other carriers — sometime between now and the start of football.
“I’m confident we’ll make a lot of progress in the next 60-90 days,” Stevenson said.
He didn’t get into details, and I didn’t get the sense that he was necessarily referring to DirecTV.
But given how close-to-the-vest Stevenson plays carriage negotiations for the past year, his expression of confidence qualifies as significant.
So which carrier(s) is close to a deal?
Within the league’s footprint, five affiliates don’t carry the Pac-12 Networks, Stevenson said.
One is a smaller carrier: Cable 1, which is in Arizona and some areas of the Pacific NW.
The other four are major: Charter, Verizon, AT&T and DirecTV.
If the Pac12Nets are on the verge of a deal, my guess is that it’s not with DTV. (Feels too early: If DTV is going to sign up, it won’t be until mid-/late-August.)
And because Charter moves in virtual lockstep with DTV, we can probably eliminate it, as well.
So if there’s movement, it’s most likely with AT&T or Verizon. And if the Pac12Nets gets one, perhaps the other would cut a deal soon thereafter.
More providers would be better, but there is clear room for improvement with their current carriers (as many of their customers will tell you)...
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