Pac-12 Networks and AT&T U-Verse are close to finalizing a deal that would bring the former’s programing to the latter’s 4.5 million television subscribers in the next week, according to a Pac-12 school source briefed on the negotiations.
An official announcement is expected to come in the next 48 hours, which coincides with the start of the college football season.
Pac-12 Networks, which is based in San Francisco, will broadcast its first college football game of the season tonight (Northern Arizona at Arizona) and has two games on tap for Saturday (Eastern Washington at Oregon State and Nevada at UCLA). There remains a chance the Saturday games could be available to U-Verse subscribers, albeit very unlikely.
Barring a major setback, the cable provider will have Pac-12 Networks on the air before next week's slate of games, in which six of the nine games involving Pac-12 teams will only be available on Pac-12 Networks -- including Stanford’s season opener against San Jose State on Saturday at 8 p.m.
There has been strong speculation that this deal had been coming for months. In May, Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News reported the “Pac-12 Conference and AT&T have agreed on the framework for a distribution deal,” but it wouldn’t be finalized until later in the summer.
The network, which launched last year, is already carried by a wide range of television providers (Xfinity/Comcast, DISH, Cox and Time Warner), but remains far apart with DirecTV.
Earlier this month, the network announced plans for an anti-DirecTV ad campaign intended to persuade DirecTV customers to switch to other providers..