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(Keith Srakocic | The Associated Press)
Pac-12 targets DirecTV in Utah-themed spot
Sports on TV » Ad is part of series designed to put pressure on holdout TV provider
First Published Aug 12 2013 03:05 pm • Last Updated Aug 13 2013 04:30 pm

Would you rather see hikers stroll through Bryce Canyon or watch a University of Utah football player run into the end zone?

The Pac-12 Conference is juxtaposing those scenes in one of a series of aggressive, market-specific commercials that ask fans to drop DirecTV.

At a glance

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To see the Pac-12’s Direct TV commercial on Utah, and other member schools, go to http://pac12.me/13eOQMD

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The conference’s "Compare" campaign, announced Monday, targets DirecTV as negotiations with the provider remain unfruitful regarding the Pac-12 Networks. "With just two weeks before the fall sports schedule begins, DirecTV continues to deny [fans] access," Pac-12 Networks president Lydia Murphy-Stephens said in a statement.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott initially urged fans to drop DirecTV when he spoke during the conference’s Football Media Day on July 26, saying the provider has rejected offers that are "fundamentally the same" as 50-plus other outlets across the country have accepted.

Most of the spots contrast animals such as bears, ducks and beavers with football players whose schools use those mascots. In the Utes’ version, the spires of Bryce Canyon are shown as the "Utah on DirecTV" view, compared with footage of running back Lucky Radley scoring a touchdown against Washington State last November.

The advertisements will include digital, print, outdoor and radio outlets. Athletic directors of the league’s schools, including Utah’s Chris Hill, appear in testimonial videos on the Pac-12 website with messages to their fans. Hill cites Comcast and Dish as the only Utah-based providers that carry the Pac-12 Networks, which will televise 35 football games this season and a total of 750 live events in all sports — up from 550 in 2012-13.

The other issue for Utah fans is the distribution of the new Fox Sports 1, which launches Saturday.

Only one of the Utes’ first four home games, Sept. 7 vs. Weber State, has been selected by the Pac-12 Networks. The other three — Aug. 29 vs. Utah State, Sept. 14 vs. Oregon State and Oct. 3 vs. UCLA — are on Fox Sports 1.

Comcast is rebranding the Speed channel as FS1, beginning Saturday. The channel is 265 for standard definition and 691 for high definition. FS1 is still trying to secure a deal with Dish.

Utah’s Sept. 21 game at BYU will be on one of the ESPN networks. The Utes’ remaining games will be selected by broadcasters 12 days in advance.

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