Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Pac-12 throws up-and-in at DirecTV

This is getting serious.

With each passing day, we get closer to a second season of Pac-12 football on Pac-12 Networks.  Yet, in a continued standoff, the Pac-12 and DirecTV are still miles apart in negotiations for carriage rights of the fledgling channel, leaving millions of DTV subscribers in the west without access to the full slate of Pac-12 programming.  Early promises of a quick resolution have long since been forgotten, and reality is starting to set in: this deal isn't getting done any time soon, if ever.

For the record, I wholly blame DTV.  They've sniffed their nose at a fair deal that was accepted by the vast majority of the market.  Negotiation tactics aside, after over a year of stubbornness, they're long past any sympathetic bargaining position. 

However, my own frustration with the service went deeper than one carriage dispute.  I left Dish Network three years ago because I was tired of the seemingly endless stream of petty negotiation brinkmanship.  I went to DirecTV because I perceived them as a carrier that wouldn't nickel-and-dime their way out of content that I wanted.  Not anymore, apparently.  What was once the provider for sports entertainment has forgone logic, and started low-balling sports channels in favor of bullshit like DogTV.  

As a result, I jumped ship last week, and called Comcast.  I now pay less, and get Pac-12 Networks. I just couldn't be happier. Yep, couldn't be happier with Comcast.  Let that sink in.
Hooray, Pac-12 Network!
As frustrated as I had become with the stalling tactics of the satellite leader, the Pac-12 has been even further pushed over the edge.  Tired of boardroom sniping, they've ramped up their public campaign to get their fan base to leave for friendlier television pastures.  What started with a verbal salvo from El Jefe Larry Scott at last month's Pac-12 media days has now escalated, with the conference throwing a fastball right at DTV's noggin.  Yesterday, they released a series of school-specific advertising spots aimed a luring paying subscribers away from the carrier.  Here is the CU one:

It's a good ad.  Targeted, slick, and impactful. No punches pulled.

Some, however, like SB Nation's Rodger Sherman, are still dubious, mocking the campaign, in part, for suggesting that anyone would actually want to watch Colorado football.  While I'm sympathetic to the sentiment that CU football was (and probably still is) unwatchable to an outsider, the point of the campaign is that those loyal fans across the Pac-12 - yes, even including us poor, suffering Black and Gold diehards - who subscribe to DTV are weeks away from another season in the dark.  Regardless of how crap the product may be, College still fans want to watch their schools compete, and DirecTV won't give BuffNation the option.

The fact remains that DTV is not the place to be if you want to watch west coast sports.  Contrary to their own ads, you can't 'get the games' with their service.  This crap will only continue in future years, with disputes already forming around carriage rights for Fox Sports 1 and NFL Sunday Ticket.  If you are a true sports fan, regardless of whether you care about Pac-12 Networks or not, there's only one choice left.  Do yourself a favor, and follow me to the dump with your old dish.

No comments: