Add UConn To List Of People Unhappy With ESPN

Thursday, November 01, 2007


UConn plays it's first game as a ranked team against Rutgers this Saturday night, and no one in Connecticut or Jersey will be able to watch. Well not no one, but very few....the game was picked to be aired on ESPNU by the Leader.

UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway said Tuesday he believes the network is using the game to leverage cable companies to add ESPNU.

Burke Magnus, the vice president and general manager of ESPNU, called that assertion 'ridiculous.' He said the decision to put the game on ESPNU was made before UConn upset South Florida and jumped to No. 16 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll.

'Our crystal ball works about as well as anyone else's,' he said. 'You can't look at one game in the landscape of all the games that we're doing on all of our networks and single it out as a mistake or some giant ploy against Comcast to leverage them into carrying ESPN. That's just not the way it works.'
Magnus said negotiations with Comcast continue.
Here we go again. I'm almost ready to side with ESPN on this one because it's tough to please everyone. Buuuuut the conspiracy theory of leverage sounds like a good idea, and you have to think ESPN would jump at the chance to get people demanding the U.

UPDATE: Sean O added some context in the comments that I thought I would add to the post....

"As a UConn fan, let me add context. The AD is NOT mad about the UConn/Rutgers game because that was made before the USF game. He is mad about the Nov. 10th game against Cincinnati at ESPNU, and that decision was mad Monday."

UConn Unhappy Over Game On ESPNU (CNN)

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 12:11 PM

19 Comments:

Going back to the earlier argument:

Maybe the game could have been aired on ESPN at 5:30. But that's where ESPN had to shoe-horn in the AZ State/Oregon.

All because ESPN decided four months ago to air USC in primetime this weekend. And show UCLA during the day.

Anonymous said...
Nov 1, 2007, 12:58:00 PM  

Far be it from me to stick up for the WWL, but Tirico made an excellent point about this yesterday; you don't have the track record. Play at the same level for another 2-3 years, and then maybe you have a right to bitch. Get over it.

Bruce said...
Nov 1, 2007, 1:17:00 PM  

UConn needs to shut up..Every game cant't be on ESPN and ESPN2. It's not like this game was on ESPN and then moved to ESPNU at the last minute. Who cares? Go to a sportsbar. I think Rutgers is going to lay the smackdown on UConn this week. Teams that complain about TV coverage end up getting smacked in the face by the Football Gods.

rs27 said...
Nov 1, 2007, 1:28:00 PM  

The more curious aspect of this is the fact that the freakin' AD is beginning to sound like dupey fans and their typical reactionary comments.

As Bruce said, far be it for me... But cripes, this piling on the WWL over every decision is getting old and just isn't fun anymore.

It's freakin' UCONN vs. freakin' Rutgers. That's ESPNU material if I ever saw one, especially given the options.

Both teams are nice stories and all that, but c'mon.

Christo P. Ney said...
Nov 1, 2007, 1:32:00 PM  

As a UConn fan, let me add context. The AD is NOT mad about the UConn/Rutgers game because that was made before the USF game. He is mad about the Nov. 10th game against Cincinnati at ESPNU, and that decision was mad Monday.

I think his points are valid. Comcast has a virtual monopoly in Connecticut. What other first-place team would ESPN banish to the U?

Sean O said...
Nov 1, 2007, 1:47:00 PM  

Thanks for that Sean. I missed that info.

Nov 1, 2007, 1:50:00 PM  

As much as I would like to slam ESPN, anything that gets ESPN and Comcast to the table regarding ESPNU is good in my book. The local Comcast vice president here told me at an event that they would love to add ESPNU, but the decision for that network (and not having it) was at the national level.

Normally, I would chalk that up to deflecting customer complaints, but I know this guy pretty well personally.

Brian said...
Nov 1, 2007, 1:57:00 PM  

"What other first-place team would ESPN banish to the U?"

A number of Boston College & Virginia games have been on ESPNU this season. Not to mention the Big 10 conference games that ESPNU poached last season from ESPN/ESPN2/ESPN Plus.

Anonymous said...
Nov 1, 2007, 2:07:00 PM  

I think i would have rather seen this game as an ESPN plus game. That way it would have been carried by WCTX in CT and MSG so people in Jersey and CT, probably the only people in the country who care, could have actually seen this game.

Anonymous said...
Nov 1, 2007, 2:13:00 PM  

Sean-

That game next week is also at 330. Which means thats the ABC window. What games are ESPN/ESPN2 showing at that time? Any?

Not to be harsh but I don't see anyone outside of Uconn/cincy watching that game.

I hate ESPN, but this is a little ridiculous.

And this point becomes moot if Rutgers wins this week.

rs27 said...
Nov 1, 2007, 3:23:00 PM  

Consider it payback for constantly being subjected to their sorry-ass basketball team last season :)

Anonymous said...
Nov 1, 2007, 8:59:00 PM  

Anon @ 859: The women are actually pretty good :)

ESPN since the battle over ESPN U has stared with the Comcast and Time Warner has consistantly scheduled games on the U in markets where the U is not fully available. This is a ploy to add that pressure that was spoken of. if not why not make it an ESPNPlus game?

ESPN did this last year to my friends in Cincy with the crosstown shootout and put it on the U.

Steve said...
Nov 1, 2007, 9:48:00 PM  

rs27 -

I don't think it's ridiculous. ESPN has lots of open slots to put on the UConn game, it didn't have to be at 330. Or on ABC. I'd settle for 11am on ESPN2. The point is that it's clearly a bargaining chip. I'm mad at ESPN. I'm mad at Comcast. They both suck in my opinion, both sides are out of line. People just want to watch football and they can't agree.

If it was your team in the midst of a possible dream season, you might be upset too.

Sean O said...
Nov 2, 2007, 11:20:00 AM  

Moving to a weeknight is always an option...I know, I know the Big MAC err.. BIG EAST is loathe to do that, it's above the standing of a legitimate BCS conference...way too take it to Temple...

Anonymous said...
Nov 2, 2007, 1:08:00 PM  

Seriously, you lost to Temple...

Anonymous said...
Nov 2, 2007, 1:09:00 PM  

Moving that game to 11 is not ESPN's call, It's Cincy's. Your venom is directed in the wrong direction. The home team dictates what time the game starts outside of CBS' 6 day thing they have with the SEC.

Sorry this one is not ESPN's fault.

rs27 said...
Nov 2, 2007, 1:13:00 PM  

I should add that the game will be simulcast on ESPN in the West Coast states, because FSN has the exclusive rights to the Arizona State-Oregon game in that territory.

The confusion over the coverage of the big game would be a post in itself if the AA webmaster didn't have to quit early to go to the Wisconsin-Ohio State game. (I still don't know his name but I guess I know that he goes to UW-Madison.)

Desmond said...
Nov 2, 2007, 2:34:00 PM  

Also worth mentioning...Big East games on ESPN/ESPN2/ABC get each school $100,000.

Games on the U? Nada.

UConn has- as of right now- four games on ESPNU this season. That's a third of the season, and they aren't getting compensated for it. At all.

I'd be worried if Hathaway WASN'T ticked off, and you'd feel the same way about your AD's.

PS- College Football Live had a local TV angle that ***CLEARLY*** showed the Temple guy didn't have posession (though UConn had 50 seconds and 2 timeouts). If you want to say they shouldn't have been in that position against Temple, I agree, but to say they lost, when the evidence says the call was correct, is idiotic. Or it makes you Robert Smith, either/or.

Anonymous said...
Nov 3, 2007, 12:51:00 AM  

Comcast really needs to add ESPN U. Hopefully that will happen soon...

Draft King said...
Nov 6, 2007, 4:00:00 AM  

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