Here are all the latest updates on the Pac-12 Network and television distribution.
DirecTV: Obviously, the DirecTV negotiations have fallen apart, meaning national distribution will not be happening this week on television. So some of you outside the Pac-12 footprint will be in the dark for the season opener in Memorial.
Why won't DirecTV and the Pac-12 come to a deal? I talk about it over at Pacific Takes, but the executive summary: Basically, the Pac-12 Network is asking for a lot in many aspects like digital and TV services, and DirecTV isn't convinced the conference is worth it at this point.
It's a common problem with starting up a network. The Big Ten Network can tell you about all their startup problems. A deal will probably be made at some point in the next few weeks, or it won't happen this year.
We'll see if USC football being on the network to play Cal will be enough to sway DirecTV to come to the table. The Pac-12 is playing the long game, and that might force some of us to bleed in the short-term. Let's try and find a solution for you after the jump.
Comcast & Cox: If you have Comcast, you are probably in trouble out-of-market, particularly in Cal-alum heavy areas like Chicago and Washington D.C.. For whatever reason I can't even begin to fathom, Comcast has decided to air the conference in some markets outside the Pac-12 footprint like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta, and Tampa, but deny other regions like Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Houston, Washington D.C., and Indianapolis.
Does this strategy make sense to you? Of course not, because it's unbelievably dumb. Chicago and Washington D.C. are two of the strongest Pac-12 heavy markets in the country outside the West Coast, certainly bigger than some of the other markets listed. I'm not exactly certain what research Comcast did to determine who would get serviced and who wouldn't, but it's dumb.
Cox also is causing similar problems out of their market. Jon Wilner has more.
Comcast and Cox are two of the Pac12Nets’ founding partners, along with Time Warner and Bright House, and they have thus far refused to provide Pac-12 National on a sports tier in many regions outside the league’s footprint, including Washington D.C./Northern Virginia, where there are thousands of Pac-12 fans.
What the National feed blackout means to many of those fans in the D.C. area, or in Chicago (to cite another example) is this: They can’t watch anything.
If the Pac12Nets aren’t available on your cable system, even if you subscribe to one of the league’s partner providers, then you cannot authenticate online.
If you're on the West Coast and get Comcast, you can generally find a way to get the Network and its regional partner. The tier you get it on will depend on whether you're in the region of your university (like the Bay Area for Cal), or if you're further out. Some cable services (like Time Warner or Astound) are providing the national and the regional feed in HD. Others, like Comcast, are providing only the regional feed in high definition.
Time Warner & Bright House: I've heard no problems regarding these two companies yet. That probably means everything is generally running smoothly in all aspects with these two founding partners, especially TV Anywhere and the new iPad app.
Smaller cable companies signed up: I imagine the TV aspect is working fine, but it might take awhile for all the online and mobile stuff to be set up.
So, now, you're probably wondering if you have no TV option for the Pac-12 Network right now: Is there a workaround with regard to online streaming?
Uncertain, but anything could be worth trying out at this juncture. One potential work-around I suggest is the following.
1. Find a friend who does have the Pac-12 Network as part of his or her cable service, and ask for authentication access to Pac-12 Network via their online services. Right now, Bright House, Cox, and Time Warner are providing the network online via TV Anywhere. Comcast is dragging their heels because they are the worst; they'll probably be ready in a week or so.
2. If he or she is watching the game on TV (or will be watching the game elsewhere), then you should try and access the online stream. Considering the model is TV Anywhere, it's worth a shot to see if it matters where you are as long as you're signed up to the cable provider. I would imagine concurrent streaming would be an issue, but if it's left unoccupied, this could work to help others view the network.
Can anyone try this work-around with someone you know who has the Pac-12 Network and let us know how it goes?