Rants, comments, thoughts and funny - mostly funny - on all things Michigan and college football.

If you have ideas, tips, links or pictures for the blog, e-mail us at: MichiganZone at gmail dot com.

Thanks for checking out the M Zone. And if you enjoy the site, please pass the link on to a friend or two. We'd sure appreciate it.

Twitter: @MZoneBlog

Facebook/MZoneBlog

Best Of Tat and Tresselgate

M Zone Videos

Best Of MZone 2.0

Best Of The Original MZone

Tosu Favorites

MZone Archive

Monday, October 30, 2006

ESPNU Holds College Football Fans Hostage as Negotiating Ploy

For Michigan fans, it might be tough to find a way to watch Michigan play Ball State this weekend. That's because the game is only being televised on ESPNU - not ESPN, not ESPN 2 and not on pay-per-view. And since ESPNU is only available on some satellite services (and not Comcast, the country's largest cable TV provider) many Michigan fans are going to be screwed.

Ohio State fans faced the same bullshit issue a few weeks ago when the Bucks played Indiana. Their game was also only on ESPNU.

And why is this happening? Why are there so few choices for college football fans to see the second ranked team in the country (or the top ranked in OSU's case)?

Well, as the linked article above explains, ESPNU bought exclusive rights so that more cable operators -- like Comcast -- will be pressured by customers to carry the station. Basically using college football fans as pawns in their negotiating tactics. Thus, Michigan fans will be forced this Saturday to go to a sports bar or simply follow on the sports ticker if they want to keep up with the Wolverines.

Or maybe not, folks.

I, your humble blogger, get ESPNU (while Benny does not). So we're feverishly working on a way that I can do live play-by-play over the Internet from my couch while I watch the game on TV. Sure, it's a crazy idea but, damnit Jim, it just might work.

Stay tuned for more details.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a Bucks fan, I can certainly feel you frustration. Yes, it was Indiana...but college football season is so short, missing one game on TV sucks.

The problem in Columbus is none of the providers offered ESPNU so they threw us a bone and gave us a late night replay.

I expect they may do the same for the Michigan game in your area.

All in all, it wasn't the end of the world listening to it on the radio while watching other games...good luck.

Anonymous said...

Thank god for SIRIUS Satellite Radio

F You ESPN...

Anonymous said...

Hold on just a second....

ESPNU bought exclusive rights to these games....

BUT....

WHO SOLD THESE RIGHTS???

We're blaming the BUYER - and with good reason - but doesn't the SELLER deserve MORE critcism?

It was the SELLER who made this decision - not the buyer. The seller had exclusive rights - and sold them for MONEY to the buyer.

Who can do this?

The NCAA? I don't think so.

The Big 10? Maybe, but UM, MSU, and OSU are three big votes in that group.

Could it be UM and OSU themselves? Are THEY the ones who sold us out? (Hey, it wouldn't be the first time, and it certainly won't be the last.)

There's some room for investigative journalism here - which the Freep clearly missed. Here's a headline for ya....

"UM and OSU Sell Out Fans to Support ESPN Power Play"

Inquiring minds want to know...

beast in bama said...

Good point, Anon 5:35. There are rooks, bishops, knights, queens and kings on the board - one set of black, one set of white. The pawns, I'm afraid, are all the same color.

richard cranium said...

Find a sports bar that plays all of the NFL football games (it means they have sattelite) and go watch it there. For the Ohio State game I went and watched it, I will say this they had an excellent broadcast of the game. It was definitely better than abc!!!

Scott said...

Anon 5:35 makes a good point, but while we wait for someone to pursue his investigation, I'm writing ESPN, and encourage you to do the same, to make it clear to them that I'm NOT writing to Comcast to compain.

Scarlet & Gray Matters said...

Scott... writing to ESPN and their parent -Disney- will not accomplish anything. There was such an uproar in Columbus two weeks ago one would think Disney would have reconsidered this game. Obviously the Buckeye Nation's calls and emails fell on deaf ears. So will yours.

Next year, we will have to see what the Big Ten Football Network will bring us.

Benny Friedman said...

There's plenty of blame to go around here. As Anon pointed out above, the Big Ten deserves some for selling these rights. ESPN/Disney deserves some for using die-hard fans as pawns in their battle with the cable companies. And those cable companies deserve blame as well. They have 500 channels and they can't find a place for ESPNU? How can this not already be part of my expanded digital package?

Yost said...

Question for those asking who sold the rights:

Did ESPNU really buy anything itself? Doubtful. That would be like saying ESPN2 individually bought rights to a game they showed. I'm guessing they're all purchased by ESPN who then decides which channel to show them on.

Point is, I don't think UM or OSU sold individual game rights to ESPNU.

Yost said...

PS Besides, why would UM or OSU do that? Doesn't make sense as it makes them look bad to their fans and doesn't exactly help as recruiting tool. You want to say you're on national TV each week.

No, I think the culprit here is the WWL.

Anonymous said...

You're right, Yost.

It is possible that UM and OSU are victims here as well - or maybe they just didn't read the fine print.

In any event, someone deserves to be mad at someone - and to best decide it we need to know the facts. (Cue the "investigative journalist".)

Anon 5.35

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that Comcast sucks. Let's get rid of the cable monopoly. I repeat, Comcast sucks.

Anonymous said...

It also appears that you cannot even order this game through ESPN's College Gameday PPV package (http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/gameplan/howtoorder?poptv#tv and click on view TV schedule at the bottom of the page). I would have paid the $21.99 to watch it, but it is not even an option.

guthrie said...

Yost and Benny, I've got an idea for you (assuming it doesn't break any laws):

Hook up a webcam and aim it at your TV, broadcast the game on your own website. Since you aren't doing it for commercial gain, it might be okay.

Just a thought.

Medals said...

I did fork over the cash for Gameday and now will have to go to a bar to watch the game. Thanks ESPN, Time Warner Cable, etc. Any suggestions for a place to watch the game in NYC besides the PACC?

Crabapple Buck said...

I have DirecTV with the sports package and Gameplan, so I got the OSU game that was on ESPNU, and was not affected. However, I think that the virtual holding for ransom that the WWL is doing is par for the course. They don't care about the fans, they want to make money and their shareholders are applauding the move. Evidently, the OSU lawyers don't bother with fine print (witness O'Brien contract debacle) and UM lawyers must be of the same ilk. If these two schools, with their influence, would be more careful in the next negotiations this would be averted.

I will say that ESPNU and CSTV, which is another obscure college sports themed channel, do have some decent stuff to watch vs the shit that is network primetime. At least it is OK for the college sports junkie in all of us.

It's Ball freaking State said...

It's Ball State. If you were playing a big school, you can be assured it would be covered on a major network. Maybe the UM athletic department should get the blame for the schedule and not the media.

Writing ESPN may help. South Carolina fans started a huge email campaign to get the USC-Vandy game on PPV (it was understandably on nothing originally) and ESPN picked it up by mid-week for Gameplan after initially saying they wouldn't. This is a little different situation in that the U is already carrying your game, whereas the USC-Vandy game was not being carried by another network or ESPN/ABC affiliate.

scarlet & Gray Matters said...

TO clarify. The BIG TEN sold the rights to ABC/ESPN/Disney to broadcast xx number of games this year. ABC/ESPN decides what games are on what network and when...ABC/ESPN/2/U.

Sorry guys...there is nothing you can do. Either buy a service with ESPNU or go watch it with a freind or at a sports bar

don said...

benny,
why don't you just invite your faithful following over to your place to watch the game? I'll bring a pot of chili and some jagermeister.

Scott said...

S&G Matter:
I will go watch at a bar. ...but why not write the letter? It takes about as long as leaving a comment on a blog.


What I don't get is why you would want to discourage someone from writing.

Anonymous said...

I threw a little love your way, here. (2nd item)

http://thepenaltykill.blogspot.com/2006/10/no-thanks.html

19 days and counting - Go Bucks

Howard21 said...

You can get the radio broadcast over the internet from mgoblue.com. The CSTV broadcast you have to0 pay for (I think) but the other option, qicktime i believe, is free and actually comes through well. If you don't have satellite radio it's another option.

Anonymous said...

Two words:

Sports Bar

Anonymous said...

I have the season package for gameplan (about 40% of the games are the likes of MTSU vs N.Texas) the other half are decent games. I also have XM satellite radio (does not broadcast non- BigTen Michigan games). So i'm in a minority(?) of people who would pay extra to watch/listen to "my team" play. Surely i'd give an extra $5 a month to get ESPNU. Why doesn't Cox cable get that? They are making that decision for me, at least let me decide right? Aside from that one, Cox cable does not allow me to view ESPN360 (another beast but same in nature), it's the friggin internet right? Yet my ISP doesn't support ESPN360...i'm at a loss, but willing to pay extra (within reason) for these services. Thanks to the poster who told me about the radio broadcast on mgoblue.com. My question is this, how many games has Michigan had on t.v. in a row (either by cable or gameplan).

Anonymous said...

I did an internet radio listen for OSU and Indiana. It was refreshing to listen to the game and I got some good insights from the announcers I would miss otherwise. The TV guys are all silly talk; the radio boys got it going on. Enjoy your game anyway you can Michigan fans.

Anonymous said...

om mgoblue.com in the football section their is a link for free audio for the game its in the next game section all you have to do is register and its free to listen
http://mgoblue.com/section_display.cfm?section_id=185&top=2&level=2

Ali Haji-Sheikh said...

Do what most sensible people did years ago, dump cable already and get DirecTV which has ESPNU. I'm sure they are giving away dishes and receivers (with a DirecTV subscription) this weekend at Best Buy, etc. like they are every weekend.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you get SlingBox and post the game here on your Blog

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone want to watch Ball State play football? Seriously, unless you're a Michigan fan, why would you want to match such an enormous mismatch?

Anonymous said...

Totally off topic, but I had to post this.
Stat of the Day:
Michigan is currently allowing the fewest rushing YPG since 1959! (Syracuse, 19.3 RYPG).
WOW!

scarlet & Gray Matters said...

Scott... oh you can write letters 'til there are no trees left, it just won't change anything at this point this season.

phoennix10 said...

I am lucky that I have ESPNU on Dishnetwork. However, I had another beef with COX (my broadband provider), I have no idea why an internet provider would not support ESPN360?!!! Especially if that cable provider already carries ESPN.

I totally missed the Iowa game and had to watch it on replay on ESPNU.

Anyways, I'm very fortunate that we have a huge following and most of our games are televised. I would hate to have gone to an SEC school, ONLY half of their games are televised on either CBS/LincolnSports/Sunshine network if it's carried at all.

GC said...

Benny,

"They have 500 channels and they can't find a place for ESPNU?"

They pay peanuts for 480 or so of those channels. Disney charges an arm and a leg for each of the ESPN channels. My cable bill went up not too long ago solely due to a hike in ESPN fees. So, no, the cable company can't just replace the 5th shopping channel for ESPNU without taking a hit in their profit margin.

That's the free market for ya.

BuckeyeSteve said...

I feel for ya. I really do. Had to completely miss the OSU v Indiana game for the same reason. Sad isn't it. Unable to watch a perfectly good blowout. Used to love ESPN. Got on TV for Gameday in Columbus in '96. Can't stand what they are doing to College Football and cringe as to what it will be like next year. Ah well enjoy the "free" games while you can.

Tommo said...

I definitely feel your pain after missing OSU-Indiana, although they don't exactly have the cream of the crop calling the games on ESPNU.

Howard21 said...

Anon 12:52 is right, the radio isn't too bad at all. I did homework while I listened and the commentary is much better than Spielman talking about Chad Henry and the Michigan offense. Why does he do so many Michigan games?

Anonymous said...

Geez, Ball State vs Michigan. Who gives a rats ass except Michigan fans anyway?

Anonymous said...

In response to Phoenixx10 - the freaking Gamecocks have been on TV (air, cable, PPV, national or regional) every week except 1 or 2 weeks at the most. A middle tier team in the SEC with that much TV and you're saying the SEC gets no TV? Get over yourself.

Anonymous said...

It is a good thing because in the end it will be carried by all services and that's one more channel to watch football.

Anonymous said...

No offense, but why would I listen to you guys when I can just listen to Brandstatter and Beckmann?

Anonymous said...

You should just look into the TVU player. Hook up your Sat feed to your PC & Feed the picture Peer-to-Peer to everyone else that wants to watch.

Anonymous said...

So, there is noooooo way to rewatch it later like a re-air on some other station later in the week? I can handle finding out the score and then watching it later. I will be unable to listen to the game during gametime so I am really screwed. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Meethinks said...

Maybe if scUM would play better out of conference teams (other than ND, yes I know you did play Colorado, but that was close to a dozen years ago) and could create ratings high enough to have their own network, then you wouldn't have to worry about watching your scrimmage against the Jason DimWhitlock's alma mater.

Anonymous said...

Meethinks,

Nobody cares what yooouuuthinks.

Yeah, watching Notre Dame play Navy & Stanford is better.

If you have help for those looking for a way to enjoy their team's game, then please add like some Buckeye fans have. If not then go away.

Spartan fan said...

REMEDY FOR ESPNU?

Any UM fan who has ESPNU and the proper computer tools might do his/her brethren a favor by using the TVU site and broadcasting the game over the web.

http://www.tvunetworks.com/

The main thing that pisses me off about ESPNU is the network omits these games from the GamePlan package.