Pac-12 launches campaign to get fans to drop DirecTV

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The Pac-12 Conference and DirecTV are currently in stiff talks for the satellite provider to carry its Pac-12 Network.

Looks like things have melted down to the point where the conference is throwing barbs. Hard ones.

The Pac-12 is trying to convince fans of teams in the conference to drop DirecTV. That way, fans with the satellite provider actually have a shot at seeing Pac-12 games this season.

They’ve launched a campaign and entitled it, ‘It’s time to switch,” which includes a number of commercials aimed at slinging mud at DirecTV.

“We realize this is affecting many of our fans, and we share their frustration,” said Pac-12 Networks President Lydia Murphy-Stephans. “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 includes a series of university-specific 30-second TV and digital spots as well as print and outdoor executions to rally Pac-12 fans and be upfront with DirecTV subscribers. Unless they switch, DirecTV subscribers will miss 750 live Pac-12 sporting events, up from 550 a year ago, including 35 football games and nearly half of all league games. The creation of new shows like The Drive, a 14-part docu-series offering an exclusive look inside the 2013 football season, Pac-12 Sports Report, the flagship studio show providing fans a complete weekly dose of all Pac-12 sports, and Pac-12 Football Weekly, guarantee fans the most in-depth highlights, analysis and behind-the-scenes original programming of all Pac-12 teams on television.

You can watch all the ads here. All Pac-12 teams have their own gimmick spot. They even have a link to show Pac-12 fans how to drop DirecTV. The ads are essentially (and playfully) telling customers that they will only see real (insert mascot here)’s on DirecTV, showing pictures of real wildcats, ducks, buffalo, etc.

This is a pretty aggressive approach from a conference. Though with the rise in television revenue being one of the main players in conference realignment, it’s understandable why a conference would be upset that the channel they worked to create isn’t getting any play on satellite. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see if there’s enough interest in the network for fans to follow suit. And if DirecTV would crack if the campaign actually did enough to put a dent in their subscriptions.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten