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UA News
Why do fans have to wait?

By Brett Fera
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday October 10, 2002

Gentle Ben's won't have it. Don't count on Dirtbag's. Try O'Malley's or Old Chicago, but good luck finding any bar showing anything other than Oregon at UCLA.

Many students and football fans who want to watch Arizona face off against Washington in Seattle at 12:30 p.m. will be out of luck come game time on Saturday, since the game will not be shown until that same time on Sunday in the Tucson area, on Fox Sports Net Arizona.

In a time of sports tickers every 20 minutes, never-ending Sportscenter repeats, and ESPN.com ÷÷ the official homepage of most of the 18-25 male population ¸ airing a football game a full day after it is played is simply unacceptable, let alone confusing.

As a part of their deal to air Pacific 10 Conference games throughout the season, ABC has exclusive rights to the 12:30 time slot for all conference contests, giving it a choice of which game to choose as their "Pac-10 game of the week." This means that neither Fox Sports Net nor local networks can air the game until a later time, in order to not conflict with the ABC game. In the Pacific Northwest, the game will air at 7 p.m. that night, while not being shown until Sunday here in the Southwest.

The athletic department at Washington decided against changing the start time of the game, despite having the option to, said Brett Hansen, director of public relations for Fox Sports. If they would have changed the start time to 7 p.m. on Saturday night, it would have been the logical solution for all parties involved, since the game would have aired live on Fox Sports Net in both Washington and Arizona.

Honestly, how many people here in Arizona, besides those few lost souls like myself, will actually watch the game on Sunday, when they have known the score since the day before? Sunday is reserved for the NFL, never for college football.

"I go to Old Chicago a lot to watch games, and I will still probably go later, but I wish I could watch the game," said Matt Bracconeri, a management information systems senior. "I think that's ridiculous. If a ranked team can't even get its home game broadcast on some sort of TV, that is just piss poor. It was a big deal when we didn't have our North Texas game on TV."

Well said.

Even the local sports bars agree that replaying a game, when the opportunity to air it live was available, is a mistake.

"If we can't get the game on live, it will definitely affect our business," said Kristie O'Brien, manager at Old Chicago. "People are not interested in watching a replay, especially on Sunday. Even if we can get (the replay) on the satellite feed, it still slows down our business a lot."

But why would Washington not want to change the game and earn some television time? Do they think that there will be that many Husky followers that will show up to the game if it is not on TV? Maybe they are so embarrassed by the recent NCAA rules violations against both their basketball program and head football coach Rick Neuheisel that they figure that no publicity right now is good publicity.

Or maybe, just maybe, they know something that the rest of us in Tucson already know ÷ that they are going to be beat by Arizona, and they just do not want anyone else to see it.

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