Friday, November 23, 2012

Ken Goe: "No good guys in the Civil War television flap"

Ken Goe of the Oregonian newspaper:

The situation is as bad or worse in other parts of Oregon, where Charter Communications is the cable option. Charter hasn't come to terms with the Pac-12 Networks either. This story from the Medford Mail Tribune explains.
Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News calls it "unfathomably unfortunate" and "sobering" for the conference.

It's too bad, because the 2012 Civil War could be special. Both teams are nationally ranked. Oregon still has national championship possibilities if things break right. Oregon State conceivably could appear in a BCS bowl game given a victory and the right sequence of events.
I'm struck by the way none of the parties to this dispute seem particularly interested in fans who won't have an opportunity to watch the game at home.
-- Let's start with DirecTV and Charter, who are insisting on a better deal than one other cable companies and satellite providers already have accepted. That puts Pac-12 Enterprises in an impossible position with say, Comcast and Dish Network. DirecTV and Charter have willingly used fans and their passion for their teams as a bargaining chip.
-- The Pac-12 Networks could have allowed the game to be televised by, say, one or more of the local television stations as a one-shot, goodwill gesture. The Pac-12 Nets position -- that a one-time exemption would compromise the integrity of long-term agreements already struck -- is so unyieldingly draconian it almost makes me sympathize with DirecTV and Charter.
-- This was a golden opportunity lost for Oregon and/or Oregon State to facilitate viewing parties for fans without good options.
The two athletic departments stand to make fortunes from Pac-12 television rights. Some estimates say it eventually will be as much as $30 million per year. But nobody to whom I talked at either school seemed concerned about the dispossessed fans.
Taking the money while terms of the deal prevent many loyal fans from viewing the game, then ignoring the plight of those fans seems like bad business to me. Some fans will find something else to do on Saturday afternoon -- this year, and possibly in seasons to come.

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