Saturday, September 1, 2012

UNLV Televised Games: A New Player Has Stepped In

Time Warner Cable and ESPN, Oh my...
Update - 9/5/12 - Here is a new article by Andy Glockner that is related to the same topic, "Mountain West Hoops' success hasn't translated into broadcast gold" Link has been closely following the issue of the dissolution of "The Mtn" and the availability of televised games. Earlier this week, a new entity has become part of the mix, and it's important to see how this may impact our ability to see both home and away games this coming season. Also this past week, the belle of  the ball, ESPN, has announced  it will televise several UNLV games this season. First we'll recap what's been announced, and work on what this means for you.

ESPN to Televise Two More Games

On August 28, 2012 the Athletic Department announced that ESPN has picked up the rights to broadcast two road games this season. The games are:

UNLV @ Portland - 12/4/12 8:00pm ESPNU
UNLV @ California - 12/9/12 3:00pm ESPNU

Our take:

  • Hopefully this is just the beginning of  the road and a relationship with ESPN's family of networks 
  • Previously announced was our most prominent game of the season, the road rematch against the UNC Tarheels which will be played 12/29/12 @ 11am
  • This is great news for Rebel's fans who don't travel with the team, as they elected to broadcast two road games
  • This is great exposure for Mike Moser, as the Portland game will give the broadcasters an opportunity to highlight him, as he makes his presence felt in his hometown
  • Any news is good news when it comes to more games being televised
Time Warner Cable joins the mix

Time Warner Cable, who is already a major player in the broadcasting field, has announced that they have acquired the rights to broadcast several collegate and sports teams games on a new channel, the Time Warner Cable's SportsNet. Running a network similar to what we know as NBC Sports, CBS Sports, Fox Sports Net, and other regional sports networks, Time Warner will ramp up this new set of channels (regular and spanish language) in October. 

The teams that Time Warner Cable has acquired is more than impressive: The L.A. Lakers, L.A. Galaxy, San Diego State, Fresno State, and UNLV (the college teams for Football and Basketball games). As it stands right now this does not guarantee that the public will see more games than they would aready see currently with CBS sports, as T.W.C. got the rights to those games from CBS Sports. So right now, its just a switcharoo. To complicate matters further, T.W.C. is currently soliciting a price of $3.95 from potential broadcasters (Cox Cable, DirecTV, Dish, Etc.) to carry the networks. Events confirmed are 12 Mountain West Football games (list, four of them UNLV) and at least 24 Mountain West basketball games (not yet listed). One of  the reasons this deal occured, is CBS wanted greater distribution on TWC's broadcasting, and this will make that happen. 

According to Time Warner Cable's website (as of today 9/1/12) major Las Vegas broadcast services, DirecTV, Cox Communications, Centurylink Prism, and Dish Network will NOT be carrying Time Warner Cable's SportsNet. 

Our take
  • I really want to be happy about a new network that values UNLV enough to want to acquire the rights to televise games, but the lack of information about how I'm going to watch and cheer for the Rebels makes me especially uneasy. 
  • Because this network has only been announced as having two channels (Spanish and English) that could make for rocky viewing if UNLV basketball doesn't get on TV because the Lakers, or SDSU, or Fresno State are playing (honestly, I am unsure when MLS soccer's season starts or finishes).
  • Having Rebel's games broadcasted in Spanish would be a major plus as basketball grows in popularity in Spanish speaking nations - plus we have a Spanish speaker on the team, Carlos Lopez, who Spanish speaking viewers can root for, and perhaps he can do post-game interviews in Spanish. 
  •  The $3.95 asking price is steep and that frightens me. Mainly, because I've recently had to wait while DirectTV worked out its issues with Viacom which left millions in the dark for several weeks on many important channels -- much more important than a new sports network. I have a feeling that there may be a similar, much less public standoff, regarding entities such as DirecTV, Cox, Dish, and Prism paying the price, and then passing that price onto consumers. 
  • The main reason why its more likely than not that we'll get to see our games on this new network, is that having the L.A. Lakers games at your disposal is a major chip, especially in the ultra-important L.A. market. I'm hopeful that networks will come to terms.
  • L.A. Lakers' fans, both in L.A. and elsewhere, will be exposed by commercials to Runnin' Rebels basketball. This will be a beneficial recruiting tool in the future. Additionally, when San Diego State leaves the MWC after this year, they will be on Fox Sports, as that is where the Big West is broadcasted. 
  • I wonder if UNLV's contract with CBS Sports had any particular language or an out when it comes to the possibility of CBS assigning the rights to their games to another network. If this turns out to be a crap deal, there should be some legal recourse (injunction and lawsuit) against both Time Warner and CBS. 
  • As a DirecTV subscriber, I picked the particular package I have mainly because it included The Mtn. Hopefully I don't have to shell out major money just to get the package that includes the new Time Warner SportsNet - and hope the same for all of you with other providers. 
  • New networks mean new personnel, and dopier broadcasters. Hopefully they get don't have clowns calling the game -- that's simply annoying to the educated fan. 
Pray for broadcasting, Runnin' Rebels fans.

No comments:

Post a Comment