In the ongoing standoff between the Pac-12 Network and DirecTV, the competing business models may end with both entities alienating fans who want to make use of their products.
The nationally distributed Pac-12 Network launched last year and signed deals with most major satellite and cable channel providers, including Comcast, Time Warner Inc. and Time Warner Inc.Cox Communications. DirecTV and certain other providers are, according to an email sent to students on Monday, holding out and “have not sought to reach a fair deal.”
Both the Pac-12 and DirecTV are making tons of money. They each provide valuable services and make it possible for sports fans all across the state (and the country) to bond and come together in shared support of their favorite teams. Any conflict that threatens that goal can only be misguided.
There should be a compromise. There is a line between customer service and capital. Businesses require a loyal customer base to flow, especially because the Pac-12 is so new. They may think they are sacrificing too much to give in to DirecTV’s whims/demands. When it comes down to it, Pac-12 is hurting fans of the conference by keeping DirecTV, which is an established satellite provider, from sharing its coverage with those who may want to subscribe.
We can only assume that the Pac-12 Network wants to prove that it is worth just as much as other more established conference networks. Other such networks include the Big 10 Network, which is carried nationally. These contracts are apparently favorable to all parties, and that’s what the Pac-12 seeks — to negotiate with satellite carriers on an equal footing as other conference networks have done. This cannot be done if the conflict is protracted in the way that it has been. Someone needs to be the one to compromise.
Fans quite honestly just want to watch their favorite teams kick the stuffing out of their opponents without paying an arm and a leg.
A “fair deal” between network and provider is not a real or pressing concern for most people. A fair deal to the average sports fan only involves adequate coverage and maybe some funny beer commercials.
College athletics are worth a lot. There is absolutely no disputing this. But it’s not worth alienating customers and fans who will worship at the altar of college football if you let them. Build a good network and negotiate with your carriers fairly, and fans will come.
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