Yesterday's announcement of the partial Pac-12 football television schedule brought some clarity to when and where we will be seeing Oregon football on television next season. Seven games had their networks announced, while five also included game times. This includes two games (California and Colorado) on the Pac-12 Network, and two (Nicholls St. and Oregon St.) on the soon-to-be-launched Fox Sports 1.
We know that, for the second straight year, every game will be televised, as they will be in perpetuity thanks to the Pac-12 Network. However, even as the conference network prepares to enter year two of its existence, there is residual anger and confusion from fans who proclaim that they have "no way to get the channel." This was evident last night on Portland's best local sports show, Primetime with Isaac and Suke, lamented that as DirecTV customers that they cannot get the Pac-12 Network, blamed Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott for this situation, and also expressed doubt that they will be able to see the Civil War, as it is to be broadcast on the mysterious Fox Sports 1.
Primetime is easily the most entertaining local show in Portland (especially compared to their counterpart, which features a self-righteous columnist inevitably telling all of us how to think), and the sentiment that they expressed is one that is very real among many Duck and Beaver fans in the region. That said, it simply isn't rooted in reality. It's largely a product of misplaced anger and making a choice to stay with the one provider that doesn't offer the network.
Consider this your Pac-12 Football TV FAQ.
Why can't I get the Pac-12 Network?
You can, even if you don't know it. The major cable systems in the region-Comcast, Cox, Time Warner-already have the channel. Most of the smaller carriers in the Western US already have the network as well-Wave, BendBroadband, etc. The Network is also in the process of finalizing a deal with AT&T U-Verse to get the network starting this summer, which leaves just three carriers in the Western US-Verizon, Charter, and DirecTV, without the channel.
However, there is a mitigating factor, in that Dish Network offers the Pac-12 Network. So even if you are in an area such as Medford or Seaside, where Charter is the cable company available, you still have the option of getting the network by switching to Dish. That said, most of the criticism come from people who, like our esteemed radio hosts, are DirecTV customers. DirecTV customers certainly could switch and get the network, but many choose not to.
The reason they choose not to is obvious-the NFL is king, and NFL Sunday Ticket is available exclusively on DirecTV. This relationship with the NFL has been a large part of DirecTV proclaiming itself the "King of Sports," knowing that many football fans will flock to their product for this service. However, that "King of Sports" claim comes up empty when you can't watch either of your local college football programs (or your only local pro team, either, as DirecTV doesn't carry Comcast SportsNet Northwest). Isaac and Suke blamed Larry Scott for this, but the truth is pretty much every other carrier in the Western United States already has this network, and DirecTV won't play ball on the same terms that those other carriers have already agreed to. If Larry Scott cuts a deal with DirecTV at a lower value, he is simply undercutting himself in relation to his other carriers, who will all demand the new lower rates that DirecTV is getting. It's bad business for the Pac-12 to offer DirecTV a sweetheart deal. Instead of looking at the Pac-12, one should start looking at DirecTV, as it's clear that the service isn't really the King of Sports, they are just using their NFL Sunday Ticket monopoly to keep customers while they shy away from other sports properties.
This isn't a Blazers situation where everyone who doesn't have Comcast is shut out of seeing the games. The Pac-12 Network is widely available. Even in the Alaska wilderness you can get Dish Network. For people who make the choice to remain with a carrier that doesn't have the games, the choice is on them.
What is Fox Sports 1?
Fox Sports 1 is the new channel that FOX is launching to compete with ESPN. This channel already has significant sports rights-including college football and basketball, Major League Baseball, and the English Premier League. It essentially replaces FX (football) and FSN (basketball) as the Fox partner in the Pac-12 TV deal. Fox is turning the Speed Network into this channel-so if you already get the Speed Network, this channel will take its place in August, and the Speed Network will cease to exist. Most carriers already have this channel-including Comcast, Dish, and DirecTV.
Why are some games on the CBS Sports Network?
A couple of non-conference games (Oregon State at San Diego State, USC at Hawaii), are on the CBS Sports Network because they take place at Mountain West Schools, and are thus part of the Mountain West TV contract.
When will the rest of the game times and channels be announced?
The rest of the games will be placed in a lottery between Pac-12 Network, ESPN, and FOX, and will be announced 6-10 days before the game.
This really sums most everything up. Unless you are absolutely wedded to DirecTV, you have no reason to fear not getting the games. And, if you are that serious about keeping DirecTV, a trip to the sports bar the few times a year that your team is on the Pac-12 Network isn't going to kill you.