There likely will be no agreement between the Pac-12 Networks and DirecTV for the third straight football season, conference commissioner Larry Scott said.
“There is no latest, unfortunately. It looks very unlikely under the present ownership of DirecTV that they’re going to carry us,” Scott during Wednesday’s Pac-12 football media day at Paramount Studios.
AT&T announced in May its intention to purchase DirecTV in a $48.5-billion deal that is not yet finalized.
“I’m much more hopeful that when AT&T buys DirecTV we’ll have different kinds of discussions and outcomes,” Scott said.
He pointed out that AT&T is a significant Pac-12 partner, already carrying the Pac-12 Networks through its U-verse television package and serving as the official telecommunications partner for the 12 universities.
Scott conceded a deal might have been brokered long ago had the Pac-12 Networks partnered with an established sports network. He wasn’t willing to concede the long-term benefits.
“Short-term, it would have been much more expeditious to partner with an ESPN or Fox, someone who had leverage to go in and get a distribution deal done,” he said. “But I really took the long view. My goal is what’s going to make the Pac-12 the strongest conference in the country 10 years from now, not just three years from now.
“I’m convinced people are going to look back and say, `How’d the Pac-12 do that? How’d the Pac-12 get full distribution and still own its own network and be master of its own destiny.”
Scott said remaining indepedent will allow the Pac-12 to control its content, including substantial coverage of other sports, and its quality.
“Plus, 100 percent of the benefit will ultimately go to our schools. Five years from now we’ll check in and how we’re doing compared to the other conferences. I feel pretty confident we will be the envy of the rest of the conferences.”