Pac-12 Networks Launches Ad Campaign Urging Subs to Drop DirecTV

Multimedia 'Compare' Campaign Encourages DBS Provider's Customers to Switch

With Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott saying DirecTV won’t carry the conference television networks this school year, Pac-12 Networks has kicked off a multimedia campaign encouraging subscribers to punt on the DBS provider and pick up another distributor.

Deploying university-specific creative from ad shop  BarrettSF, the “Compare” campaign is playing out on TV, digital, radio and outdoor outlets within the conference’s footprint. The campaign urges DirecTV customers to make the move to alternate providers so they can watch Pac-12 Networks’ more than 750 live events, up from 550 last year, including 35 home football games, starting later this month.

The creative centers on in the case of the University of Arizona spot, wildcats that “recognize no geographic or political boundaries” and can be seen on DirecTV. That compares with the Wildcats -- in the case of a 30-second commercial, a running back stiff-arming a would-be tackler -- subscribers can’t see if they retain DirecTV as their video provider.

“We realize this is affecting many of our fans, and we share their frustration,” said Pac-12 Networks president Lydia Murphy-Stephans in a statement. "We built the Pac-12 Networks to give fans unprecedented access to their favorite teams and sports on TV, and with just two weeks before the fall sports schedule begins DirecTV continues to deny them that access.”

The campaign already houses video testimonials from Pac-12 athletic directors and will feature more testimonials from coaches in the coming weeks.

At the conference’s media day last month, Scott said he didn’t expect a DirecTV distribution deal would be consummated during the 2013-14 academic year.

Pac-12 Networks, which offers a conference-wide channel, plus six sub-regional networks, each dedicated to a pair of conference schools, said it has deals with more than 50 distributors, including three of the top four: Comcast, Dish Network and Time Warner Cable. But DirecTV remains unwilling to reach the same deal the others have assented to.

DirecTV, on its Website, says it is looking out for its customers and wants to offer only to subscribers specifically interested in the service: “DirecTV wants to make Pac-12 Network available to the fans who want it. To do that, Pac 12 either needs to agree to a price to make it affordable for all of our customers, as we’ve offered and done with dozens of other sports networks, or allow Pac 12 fans to buy the network separately or purchase individual games on demand. Unfortunately, Pac 12 has refused all of these options. Regardless, we stand ready to agree to add the network if they propose a deal that’s fair.”