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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cablevision lone ESPNU dissenter

After receiving the e-mail about Comcast joining the cabe providers who carry ESPNU, I got in touch with Tilea Coleman, who handles women's basketball media inquiries for ESPN so see which other companies don't offer ESPNU.

Here's her response:
"All cable systems in CT carry ESPNU, except for Cablevision. Charter, Cox, Comcast, Groton Utilities, Metrocast Cable are in the state of CT. These cable companies as well as AT&T (telco) and the satellite companies (Dish/DTV) all carry ESPNU."

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear as if Cablevision intends to join the club. It has taken a bit longer than anticipated. I still remember speaking to an ESPN executive before UConn's Dec. 18, 2006 game at Virginia. That game was carried on ESPNU with the hope that UConn fans would raise enough of a ruckus to get more Connecticut cable companies to add ESPNU to the channel lineup.

Here's the lead to the notebook which ran in the Dec. 19, 2006 Register.

University of Connecticut women's basketball fans live for game nights. They sit back in their chairs or couches, click on the television and intently watch their beloved Huskies. That was not the case on Monday without either DirecTV or a satellite dish. The UConn/Virginia game was televised on ESPNU, but in the Greater New Haven very few cable providers offer it.
The "blackout" could serve as a dress rehearsal for the Big East tournament as the quarterfinals and semifinals are also scheduled to be broadcast on ESPNU.
There could be some good news on the horizon, however. ESPNU is in negotiations with Comcast.
"You never know (when an agreement will be reached). It does take time," said Burke Magnus, general manager and vice president of ESPNU.
Magnus said the talks are amicable, and he is hoping a deal could be reached before the start of the Big East tournament in March.
"We have a way to go, but it is not an adversarial relationship. This is not like the NFL Network versus Time-Warner," Magnus said.
ESPNU debuted on Mar. 4, 2005 as a way to increase the ESPN network's college sports coverage.
ESPN saw an opening with the UConn-Virginia game and landed the rights through the Atlantic Coast Conference. With ESPN and ESPN2 unavailable, the decision was made to air the game on ESPNU.
"College sports are very important to us," Magnus said. "We take it upon ourselves to provide quality programming."
If ESPN did not acquire the rights to the game, Connecticut Public Television would have shown the game. Unlike the College Sports Television network, which owns the rights to the Jan. 2 UConn-West Virginia game, there is no agreement for ESPN to allow an area station like CPTV to air the game, so the result is the "blackout" situation for the loyal UConn women's basketball fans, who have grown accustomed to seeing every game.
One direct result of not seeing Monday's game could be an increased volume of calls from viewers to their cable providers requesting the addition of ESPNU to the channels offered.
UConn's associate athletic director/communications Mike Enright likened the current ESPNU situation to the infancy of ESPN2. Using high-profile college basketball games as tantalizing bait, ESPN2 began being added by cable providers nationwide.
Will history be repeated with ESPNU? Only time will tell.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

ESPN = greed. We already pay an arm and a leg to ESPN in our cable bills.

12:36 AM 

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