UW Hoops Television - A Quick Explanation
With the announcement that next Thursday's Washington men's basketball game at the University of Oregon was not selected as part of the Pac-10 television package, it is probably a good time for a quick refresher on a couple of the league's basic TV policies.
Prior to the season, roughly September, the Pac-10 and its television partners (FSN, ESPN, CBS) select most of the games the league plans to television for the entire season. The television schedule includes conference and non-conference home games for every Pac-10 school.
The only games exempt from this early-season selection are those played on the final weekend of the regular season. The league reserves those games in order to ensure they can select games for its package that have the most appeal or impact on the league standings.
After the league makes its selections public, the rights to whatever games remain untelevised revert back to the schools to broker whatever television deals it is able to. In the case of the UW, FSN Northwest is the school's exclusive television partner and is obligated to televise every available game - home and away.
Because of the relationship with FSN Northwest, the UW has one of the best local/regional television deals on the West Coast - perhaps one of the better deals in the country. Over the last several years, only a couple of the program's games each season have gone untelevised. The same is true in football where almost every game over the last several years has been televised live.
Now... back to the Oregon game.
When the league televises a game as part of its package, policy dictates that schools may not televise a game at the same time - or "head-to-head" against the telecast. This policy protects the integrity of the package and ensures league can capture the largest audience possible for its television partners.
When the league did not select the Thursday night game at Oregon, the only options were for 1) Oregon to move the time to a window that would not conflict with the Pac-10 telecast; 2) apply for a waiver of the policy that dictates time period exclusivity; or 3) Allow the game to go untelevised.
With FSN televising the 5:30 p.m. USC at Arizona State and 7:30 p.m. UCLA at Arizona games, the only options would be to move the game to either 3:30 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. tipoffs. Obviously, on a Thursday neither of those times make a lot of sense for fans attending the game.
The UW worked with FSN Northwest to try to put together a workable solution to televise the game, but every potential solution found a stumbling block.
Clearly, it's easy to find blame in a situation that does not favor the Huskies. But, keep in mind the big picture - that all but two games this season have been televised live this season and the UW and FSN Northwest are doing everything possible to televise every Husky game possible.
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