Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Talks continue on airing OSU-YSU game
WYTV-Channel 33 says it won't be showing any OSU games this year.
By ED RUNYAN
Bars and restaurants continue to prepare to show the Youngstown State-Ohio State football game Saturday by way of satellite provider DirecTV, as negotiations to carry the game on other cable and satellite providers continue.
"We're still hopeful we can do a deal by this weekend," said Bill Jasso, vice president of government and media relations for Time Warner Cable's Northeast Ohio operations. "My understanding is [negotiators] met as late as [Monday] afternoon," he said.
Jasso said the negotiations are being handled by officials in Time Warner's Stamford, Conn., headquarters. The BigTen Network continues to negotiate with cable companies such as Time-Warner and Armstrong, which serve most of the cable customers in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys, plus satellite providers such as Dish TV and Wow and cable company Comcast.
The Big Ten Network so far has agreements with DirecTV, AT&T U-verse and some smaller regional cable companies.
Jasso and Big Ten Network officials agree that the sticking point in negotiations has been the network demand that cable providers carry the channel on their basic expanded channels, which also include ESPN and CNN. The network is also seeking between $1 and $1.10 per month per subscriber.
Time-Warner serves the Youngstown, Warren, Niles and Girard areas, as well as most of Mercer County and part of Lawrence County. Armstrong Cable serves much of central Mahoning County.
Jasso said the network will be showing football and basketball games, as well as sports that have generally not been broadcast before, such as lacrosse, regular-season baseball and ice hockey.
"Our research is that this is a niche channel that is popular with a small segment of our customers," Jasso said.
As such, the channel belongs on Time-Warner's digital sports tier, which costs an additional $5 per month for an additional 12 channels, Jasso said. That channel is geared to "true sports fans, not the folks that just watch ESPN, which carries hundreds of top-drawer events," he said.
No more OSU on WYTV
Meanwhile, WYTV-Channel 33, the Youngstown channel that aired several of OSU's less popular games in the past, says it won't be able to air them this year.
Dave Trabert, station general manager, said ESPN Regional has advised him that local television stations such as his will not be carrying the YSU-OSU game or any of the Ohio State football games. ESPN Regional sold Channel 33 the rights in previous years, Trabert said.
ESPN and ABC will broadcast many of Ohio State's games this year, but the Big Ten Network, which begins operations Thursday, owns the rights to the remaining games.
Trabert said ESPN Regional told him the Big Ten Network will retain the rights to games such as OSU-YSU in an effort to reach agreements with cable television and satellite television providers.
"We picked up everything that was possible, but that's not possible anymore, and that's strictly [the decision of] the Big Ten," he said of OSU football games.