March 26, 2013 — The abandonment of a sports property

Today’s Game of the Day
Radnor (Pa.) at Concord Carondelet (Calif.)
If you haven’t heard of Carondelet before, you should. They might be the best team in the state of California right now. The Cougars are 8-0 this season and take a 19-game winning streak into a game with Radnor, who made the PIAA semifinals a year ago.


If you turned on ESPN over the last few days, there is one very wide-ranging sports event that you might not know is going on, despite the fact that there are five over-the-air channels which could handle it.

Indeed, while it was going on, the network chose to show the Winter X Games, NASCAR, the National Invitational Tournament, a year-old college hockey game, and an NBA game.

The event is the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.

While the men’s tournament is covered live by four networks — TNT, CBS, TBS, and Tru TV (formerly Court TV), the women’s tournament does not have the same level of coverage on the ESPN networks at all. Indeed, the games have been hard to find anywhere but on the network’s broadband services, ESPN3.com and Watch ESPN.

What this has done is set up a situation this evening where Louisville, one of the better teams in the land, will not have its second-round game against Purdue shown in the state of Kentucky.

That’s right — Louisville’s basketball team is being blacked out in its home state.

Instead, Kentuckians are going to be shown the game between Dayton and Kentucky. Meanwhile, Louisville-Purdue will be shown in Chicago and Indiana. All of this coverage will be split between ESPN2, ESPNews, and ESPNU.

ESPN, for its part, will be showing an NIT game followed by a World Cup qualifier from Mexico, including an hour-long pregame show.

It’s hard to get a straight dollar figure for the outlay for the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, since it is one of 20 championships (including hockey, lacrosse, and women’s hoops) for which the network paid some $55 million. But I do wonder if ESPN is going to make these same kinds of coverage cutbacks in other sports.

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1 Comment»

  rjscott wrote @

So in lieu of the Louisville game airing in the State of Kentucky, the Kentucky game will air in the State of Kentucky? That’s a “dog bites man” story if I’ve ever heard one.

For that matter, how can an event televised on multiple ESPN stations be “hard to find anywhere but on the network’s broadband services”?


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