Look UConn women’s basketball fans, we have all been through this before with how this television business works.
Do you remember the good old days – and I use the term advisedly – when you would get all hot under the Husky head about why CPTV was not televising the Big East tournament?
What did we tell you year after year after year?
Well, here we go again, Please know that neither UConn or SNY own broadcast rights to the 18 games the Huskies will play in the American Conference this season.
The American sold them to ESPN. Who is the American’s daddy? ESPN is their daddy. Who is UConn’s adopted family? ESPN is.
It is only through the contractual kindness of ESPN that SNY has the right to telecast 17 games to its viewership this season. That’s means on it network within its main “footprint” and off the satellite dishes that deflects its signal elsewhere. And we are also talking on its paid webstream subscription service, available to anyone who can call up the website and pull out a credit card before the service times out.
As far as I can tell, SNY’s footprint is about the size of Brittney Griner’s foot, which means basically from New York to Connecticut to New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
If you are reading this and live outside the area, this fading footprint will impact you, even though it may eventually help you financially.
If ESPN says so, you will not be able to see these games on SNY’s online streaming service. ESPN does not want you watching ITS games on SNY.
ESPN wants you to watch ITS games on ESPN3, ESPN The Moon, ESPN the Bathroom Stall or wherever it decides. If the Courant owned the rights, no television cameras would be allowed with 50 miles of Geno Auriemma’s hairline. I promise you that.
If you are living next door to Paige Sauer or some other alum outside the “footprint” and you want to watch the 17 games not already allocated to ESPN2, CBS, etc., etc., etc., you have only ONE choice.
ESPN3, which is a streaming channel on the main ESPN website, will be happy to expose you to its broadcast teams and ADVERTISERS. If you are a UConn foootball fan – and God bless you if you are – you will recall this is where you watched the Maryland game.
Look, it’s not the end of the world. Please don’t pout about this. You can not change it. Get used to it. Really, what’s the difference to Aunt Marge where she watches the games? Just tell her ESPN doesn’t (officially) charge a additional subscription fee and remind her not to watch it on a smart phone. No, that would be a very bad idea for her.
But I will say this: If I am SNY today, I am not very happy about this turn of events. Nope. Not happy at all. Nope. Nope. Nope. Not happy.
And I guarantee, this is not going to end well. SNY bid on this package during an era of Big East basketball that no longer exists. Now, instead of St. John’s, Georgetown, Rutgers, Villanova, and yes, even Seton Hall, it gets the chance to telecast 80-point routs at Houston and Memphis.
Yipee for SNY!
It won’t surprise me if it decides it wants out of this deal. And if there wasn’t someone in a yellow jacket guarding the door, it might sneak out out now.
Unless SNY can work something out that arranges more autonomy for the marketing and use of UConn women’s basketball nationally, on its own large screens, what is the point of it doing business with UConn and the American Conference?
There really isn’t much of a point, is there?
Personally, I don’t think $1 million a year for complete control of just 17 women’s games and associated Geno Auriemma shows makes any sense for the official network of the 2014 World Series champion New York Mets.
Not now. Not Saturday. Not in March.
Really, would SNY let ESPN tell it how to use its UConn property unless it had no other choice?
This is about money, network revenue, marketing and advertising rates, subscription increases and ego. Just like always.
The viewers? Don’t panic. Just follow the bouncing television rights