If you’re a Directv subscriber, people in China will have easier access to Pac-12 football games and other sports on the Pac-12 Network than you will.
We’re not kidding.
The Pac-12 Network announced a partnership with Alibaba on Thursday that will provide residents of the country access to “175 live Pac-12 Networks events and 100 hours of original programming” starting this fall. The events will be available via Youku Todou, a video hosting and streaming service in the country.
“Expanding global fan interest in our conference and member universities through sport, along with providing unique international opportunities for our student-athletes, are at the core of our Pac-12 Global initiative,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. “In Alibaba we have found the perfect partner to help us achieve these goals. Alibaba’s agreement to distribute Pac-12 college sports content across its channels demonstrates their confidence in the value of our content and brand, and aligned global vision that we have for college sports and the student-athlete experience.”
Perhaps we’re being too selfish here — we are one of the Directv subscribers without access to Pac-12 Network — but wouldn’t the Pac-12 want to worry about getting widespread distribution in the United States before going across the Pacific Ocean? That makes sense, right?
The conference’s lack of a deal with the satellite provider means about 20 million subscribers don’t have access to the network without finding an illegal stream or using someone else’s log in. That’s a substantial number, even if just a fraction of those people are sports fans that would watch a football or basketball game on the Pac-12 Network. This five-year stalemate needs to end and looks even sillier with this Alibaba deal.
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