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Oct. 9, 2003
Corvallis, Ore. -
Why isn't Oregon State's game being televised? Why did ABC pick that game? Why are we playing at 7 o'clock?
Oregon State University athletic officials hear those questions every year. This year, it seems those questions are being asked more frequently.
'We certainly understand the frustration our fans have with regard to some of the television issues,' OSU Director of Athletics Bob De Carolis said. 'I get frustrated as well at times; the last thing we want to do is inconvenience our fans. I think most schools in this conference have a lot of similar issues.'
So who decides when a game is to be televised and at what time? It's not an easy answer.
One issue is the size of the television markets of the schools (the Oregon schools and Washington State are at an inherit disadvantage). Some stadiums don't have lights. Some schools won't move their Homecoming game. Others have a variety of reasons specific to their school.
There has been a lot of discussion as to what each institution receives monetarily from appearing on the various networks. An ABC national broadcast, such as OSU at USC on Dec. 6, pays each institution $603,000. An ABC regional broadcast pays $301,000, and a FOX/TBS game pays $270,000. Each institution also receives an equal piece of the overall television contract above what it makes from a game appearance.
The Pac-10 Conference has two long-term football agreements, one with ABC and one with Fox Sports, both of which run through the 2006 season. Starting last year, Fox began sublicensing games to TBS, such as the Washington at OSU game on Oct. 18.
The process of deciding what games are televised begins at least one year in advance. Conference officials, including athletic directors, and television partners review the schedule. Adjustments are discussed and some changes (such as OSU at USC) are made to maximize television opportunities.
During the course of the 2003 season, ABC will televise 14 conference games, while Fox Sports has 12 and TBS six. Sixteen of the 32 Pac-10 games that are being televised during 2003 were selected prior to the beginning of the season, which is why last week's OSU at California game was not available. The remaining 16 games are selected 12 days or six days prior to the contest, with ABC having the first selection.
Many people have inquired why Oregon State, for example, can't televise a game back to its local market or via the web while there is an ABC or Fox telecast. There are opportunities for waivers, meaning the school has asked permission from the conference and television network to allow the institution to broadcast a game in direct competition with a network league game. These waivers are rarely granted, however, there is movement by several league schools - including Oregon State -- to have a more equitable waiver policy.
'The amount of exposure Oregon State University and the football program receives is immeasurable when we make television appearances,' De Carolis added. 'The upcoming TBS broadcast will actually be in more households than if it was on ESPN.'
It's complicated and doesn't always seem fair as to what games and when games are televised. But, for the good of the whole, it's beneficial to the entire conference.