Before assuming his duties as master of the house at his annual “Fore The Children” golf outing at Hartford Golf Club to benefit the Connecticut Children’s Hospital, UConn coach Geno Auriemma opened up about a lot of things, including his first extended statement about the Huskies decision to leave CPTV after 18 years for SNY.
“Listen, CPTV did a lot for our program. And we, in turn, helped them become the No. 1 public broadcasting station in the United States,” Auriemma said. “No one made more money then they did. The way it worked for all these years is, we helped make them what they are by televising our games; the most watched public broadcasting station in America – and the most profitable.
“In return, they gave us the platform and the exposure that no other women’s team in America had. It was such a great partnership, such a great relationship. It was unique. It didn’t exist anywhere else in the nation.
“And because of it, an entity such as SNY came along and decided it could help make us the women’s basketball equivalent of Notre Dame football on NBC. It was hard for us to say, ‘We’re not going to do that.’
“As much as you value what you have, there was an analogy that I used to describe the situation..A 20-year-old kid comes up with the Kansas City Royals to play shortstop and then when he’s 27 he’s become the MVP and won five Gold Gloves. Then the Yankees approach him and say, ‘Yo dude, want to play in Yankee Stadium?” What’s the kid going to say? No, I’d rather by loyal to [the Royals]?
“There’s something to be said for that, but in this case, there are things that can’t happen for us now [with CPTV] that can happen in the SNY world. It’s just wasn’t going to be possible.”
“It’s not like people are saying; we just didn’t turn our backs on them. It was us saying ‘yes’ to an opportunity that only came about because of our previous relationship with CPTV.
“The stuff I”m hearing about not being able to watch games is ridiculous. …This is not about us getting more money from SNY. I don’t know that’s the case at all. How can we? The only way would be if they make so much money from advertising revenue over the length [four years] that they can afford to pay us more for the next one.
“This is strictly about the exposure of UConn women’s basketball. It’s 1 million homes [CPTV] vs. 14 million [SNY]. Plus, anyone in America with DirectTV can watch SNY.”
“SNY must think the audience will be there. And part of our thinking was, we need to expand our target area, find out if the audience may be larger than we believe. In 1995, didn’t anyone think this would happen. SNY wants to find out how many women’s basketball fans there are outside of Connecticut. I guess they have done their research. Why would they spend all this money if they didn’t believe they would get a return.”
Pretty good stuff from the coach..
That said, there is a much left unsaid, but blatantly true. UConn President Susan Herbst wants UConn’s national image to grow and she wants the school positioned as sturdily as possible for the next round of conference expansion. And this move puts UConn in a better position to accomplish both.
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