Checked in with Pac-12 Enterprise President Gary Stevenson about a variety of topics. Naturally, we touched on the prospects for a Pac-12 Networks distribution deal -- with DirecTV and/or other carriers -- sometime between now and the start of football.
"I'm confident we'll make a lot of progress in the next 60-90 days," Stevenson said.
He didn't get into details, and I didn't get the sense that he was necessarily referring to DirecTV.
But given how close-to-the-vest Stevenson plays carriage negotiations for the past year, his expression of confidence qualifies as significant.
So which carrier(s) is close to a deal?
Within the league's footprint, five affiliates don't carry the Pac-12 Networks, Stevenson said.
One is a smaller carrier: Cable 1, which is in Arizona and some areas of the Pacific NW.
The other four are major: Charter, Verizon, AT&T and DirecTV.
Adding distribution is "our No. 1 priority," Stevenson said. "We are prepared to negotiate anytime.
"Our offer has been market tested and four of the five largest distributors in the country (Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and DISH) said it's an equitable deal.
"Of the five we're targeting, we're in active discussions with most of them."
If the Pac12Nets are on the verge of a deal, my guess is that it's not with DTV. (Feels too early: If DTV is going to sign up, it won't be until mid-to-late August.)
And because Charter moves in virtual lockstep with DTV, we can probably eliminate it, as well.
So if there's movement, it's most likely with AT&T or Verizon. And if the Pac12Nets gets one, perhaps the other would cut a deal soon thereafter.