We finally have a satellite provider who has signed on to offer the Pac-12 network. There are uplink reports that show Dish Network testing the Pac-12 Network on channel 413 in standard definition:
(*Echostar is Dish)
Testing generally lasts for about a week, so it looks like DISH will have the PAC-12 National network by this coming Wednesday.
The Pac-12 National network will be placed either the Top 250 tier (where NBC Sports Network, Tennis Channel, Fuel TV, FOX Soccer, and beIN SPORT) or the Top 200 tier (with Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, ESPNU, MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Network, NHL Network, GOLF Channel, and SPEED) on Dish.
Since Comcast and COX have chose not to offer the PAC-12 National network in many large metropolitan markets: (Minneapolis/St. Paul, Detroit, Chicago, DC/MD/VA, and Houston among others), the Pac-12 Network really needed a satellite provider to step up and ink a deal. It looks like Dish beat DIRECTV into these markets as a provider that customers can turn to if they want to watch Pac-12 games.
What about DIRECTV?
Whether this places any pressure on DIRECTV remains to be seen. DIRECTV has NFL Sunday Ticket, so sports bars aren't going to drop DIRECTV just because they can't get the Pac-12 network.
Although we all hope that DIRECTV gets a deal done soon, it really depends on what exactly are the sticking points in their negotiation with the Pac-12 Network:
- How much does the Pac-12 want per subscriber in and out of their regional market?
- Whether DIRECTV will carry the PAC-12 National network on their Choice or Choice Xtra tier
- Whether the Choice (Xtra) tier placement will only be within the 6 PAC-12 states, and if it will be on a Sports Pack tier elsewhere.
- How often the 6 Pac-12 regional networks are turned on for overflow events, including sports besides football. It could be that DIRECTV wants overflow football games only, while the PAC-12 is pushing for televising all overflow live events (Olympic sports like swimming, basketball and volleyball). The way DIRECTV satellites are set up make it much easier to broadcast a national Pac-12 channel versus local geographic coverage of regional channels.
- Will a portion of overflow live sporting events be only accessible on PAC-12.com via user authentication.
Edit: The deal is now offical between the Pac-12 networks and Dish Network. The carriage deal will be for the Pac12 National Network:
Customers who get Pac-12 Networks on DISH will receive the national network. The regional networks will not be available on television, but DISH and Pac-12 Networks are working to make them available online via Pac-12 Now.