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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Keegan

Opinion: Zenger explains that TV deal good for KU

Kansas University athletic director Sheahon Zenger watches the Jayhawks warm up before tip off against Texas Tech on February 1, 2011.

Kansas University athletic director Sheahon Zenger watches the Jayhawks warm up before tip off against Texas Tech on February 1, 2011.

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The mind has a way of suppressing memories that hemorrhage at the slightest rekindling of them.

Remember the conference-realignment scare? Remember the term “Forgotten Five”?

Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri in some circles became known as that when college athletics were on the verge of a seismic shift driven largely by conferences seeking schools that could generate the biggest television bucks.

KU had two strikes against it. The Flint Hills may take breaths away, but beauty and a low-stress lifestyle free of insane traffic don’t equate to TV sets. Rutgers and Maryland are headed to the Big Ten because they are in the middle of large media markets, even though viewers aren’t tripping over each other to watch the Terps and Scarlet Knights play football.

Once Kansas made it out of the Forgotten Five forest alive, it was time to find out why raiding conferences were avoiding the school the way we all avoid compulsive talkers cursed with bad breath and a tendency to prattle about nothing but their ailments, their children, their shot-by-shot accounts of their most recent golf round.

They were told in part what they already knew. They didn’t have enough TV sets. They weren’t conveniently located. They were the idiot-savant of the college athletics world, brilliant in basketball, nationally anonymous in so many other sports.

To overcome the population and geographic issues, the Jayhawks had to patch the holes that they at least had the potential to fix.

That in a big way was behind the move to strike a deal with Time Warner. So the athletic administrators swallowed hard, coated themselves with a beehive-shaped coat of armor made of paper mache and handed clubs to those in their fan base from whom they had stripped their TV remote controls for two exhibition games and four regular-season ones. Tonight’s contest in Allen Fieldhouse against Iona College is the third of six such games.

Those who either can’t subscribe to cable TV because it’s not offered in their areas or choose to subscribe with a competitor of Time Warner’s and live in an area that blacks out a half-dozen of the games on ESPN3 feel like the next-door neighbor who liked their cozy neighborhood just fine and doesn’t like the idea of a hot-shot crashing the block, tearing down a small house and resurrecting a mansion. They feel helpless to do anything about it. They yearn for the way it once was because it was perfect.

The athletic department likes the new deal because it gives national exposure to sports that normally don’t get that and because of Time Warner, at its cost, not at the university’s cost, has produced coverage of the school’s lesser-attended sporting events. Also, Time Warner has loaded the airwaves with what’s known as “shoulder programming,” shows devoted to KU basketball, football, other sports and even academic-related activities.

KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger wishes he could tell the disconnected-for-six-games customers something they want to hear, but he can’t, so he is left to answer a simple question: Why did he do it?

“Two-fold,” Zenger said. “First, I believe any decision we make, the core value has to center around your student-athletes. This provided 500 student athletes the most exposure possible to regional and national coverage. What it did for them in exposure and recruiting is unrivaled.”

The games and shoulder programming are seen nationally, increasing exposure of a brand that in one way has a subtle advantage on most because, in the Jayhawk, the school has one of the nation’s coolest mascots. (I love it when someone from another region of the country looks both ways to make sure nobody’s looking and quietly asks: “Is it a real bird?”)

“If you are in the Time Warner areas, you’re naturally in there,” Zenger said. “Then the ESPN3 part lays over the top of it and takes you into another close to 100 million homes. Let’s say Ritch Price recruits a kid in California or Hawaii, Florida, wherever. His friends and family can watch him play baseball, whereas before they couldn’t. What he and other coaches were running into, now that we have it, we can say it, that was a problem.”

The switch has been painful for blacked-out fans whose interest in KU athletics pretty much begins and ends with KU basketball and in some cases to a lesser extent football.

“I’m from here (Hays),” Zenger said. “I would never do anything to alienate anyone in our fan base. But at the end of the day, we have to take care of our student-athletes and our coaches and give them that competitive edge every day and hope that people understand that those decisions are based on what’s best for the student-athletes and the coaches.”

What’s it in for Time Warner? Teaming with KU gives it an edge on its competition.

“They came to us,” Zenger said, “and said, ‘We’re willing to give you somewhere between $1 and $2 million worth of production a year that you don’t have to pay for. And not only are we going to do all these telecasts, we’re also going to do 300 hours of shoulder programming for basketball, football, for the university.’”

The university?

“If you watch Jayhawk Insider, the Chancellor was on there the other night,” Zenger said, “talking about all the attributes of the University of Kansas. We’ll have our Provost, the E.V.C. (executive vice president) of the Med Center. This is truly a Jayhawk Network to help sell this institution. In doing that, we expanded our brand to a level that most other schools don’t have the opportunity to do.”

Zenger’s position doesn’t allow him to repress the scary days and sleepless nights of the conference-realignment tremor. Becoming a more attractive conference member is reason No. 2 to the stated No. 1 of looking out for all student-athletes at KU.

“It’s all too clear in my recent memory,” Zenger said. “I was encouraged by folks around the country to continue to expand our national footprint and exposure.”

Those telling Zenger what negatives had to be reversed typically started by praising the basketball team and academic reputation and then told him KU needed to become elite and stay elite “nationally and within your conference with your brand.”

How?

“You’ve got to keep your national coverage, be a national brand, for everything, not just basketball,” Zenger said. “Your basketball has to stay at that high level, and your other sports have to rise up to it.”

As long as Bill Self stays at Kansas, basketball will remain an elite school. The winning tradition and conference affiliation are factors as well. Zenger signed Self to a 10-year contract extension worth nearly $50 million, so he did what he could there. Highlighting the tradition will take another step forward with the construction of the building that will house the original basketball rules.

That leaves conference affiliation. Zenger was told by credible sources he needed to increase the national brand of the athletic department and make more sports relevant to be well positioned the next time conference realignment rears its venomous fangs.

The TV partnership with Time Warner helps toward that end, even though it means for two exhibitions and four real games ripping the remote out of the hands of so many people who cherish KU basketball as the most important form of entertainment in their lives.

Given the talent and entertainment value of this year’s team, the negative consequence of a smart play for the future is especially painful.

Comments

Gavin Fritton 5 years, 4 months ago

“I would never do anything to alienate anyone in our fan base," Zenger said while explaining why he did something to alienate the fan base.

Jerry Long 5 years, 4 months ago

“I’m from here (Hays),” Zenger said. “I would never do anything to alienate anyone in our fan base. False statement Dr. Zenger. You most certainly have.

Olli Rama 5 years, 4 months ago

Both you two are letting yourselves get caught up in semantics and missing the point.

It’s pretty obvious that he means “if he had a choice” he would never alienate any fans. Unless you are members of KU’s elite debate team you really have no excuse for going after Zenger on this.

Quit being so butthurt over a few games.

Jerry Long 5 years, 4 months ago

Olli, semantics not withstanding, I did not "go after him", over the TV deal. I pointed out that he did, indeed, alienate fans. I didn't even say that I was one of them. In fact, I am looking forward to listening on the radio, as that is I how I became a fan at 6 years old, listening to Max broadcast the Big 8 pre-season tournament.

You, my friend, have no business or right to tell me how to react to anything. So, while I am not, as you so eloquently put it, "butthurt", if I were, it would not be up to you to correct me. Have a nice day.

Olli Rama 5 years, 4 months ago

You have no right to tell me I have no right to tell you how to react. By doing so you are telling me I have no right to react myself! Oh, we could do this all day...

You said Zenger made a “false statement”. Basically you said he lied. That sounds like going after him to me. If you don’t mind his decision, why bother bringing this little detail up? That’s all I’m saying.

Gavin Fritton 5 years, 4 months ago

Olli, when I was in college I was a member of KU's debate team (the team was elite, I was okay). Can I still "go after" Zenger?

Oh, wait. I didn't "go after" him at all. I also didn't get hung up on semantics. The AD made his call. It was bound to have ramifications and one of those is that some people are going to be upset about it. I'm not sure he needs you to defend him, but I have to believe that he understood this might happen.

Jerry Long 5 years, 4 months ago

Brett, of course I read the article. As an old boss of mine used to say, "Don't pee down my leg and then try and tell me it's raining." He stated he would never do anything to alienate the fan base. That is not a true statement, as I pointed out. He DID indeed alienate a lot of fans. Wether the decision is the right one or not, that is a by-product of his decision, so don't tell me that you wouldn't do anything, when it has already been done.

Gavin Fritton 5 years, 4 months ago

Wow. We even both went with the "pee down my leg" comment. I swear I'm not your sock puppet. Are you mine?

Jerry Long 5 years, 4 months ago

Nope, too dang old to be a sock puppet. I do think we must have minds that run in the same rut.

Gavin Fritton 5 years, 4 months ago

Actually, yes, I did read the article. Did you? Lookit, I understand that Zenger was in a hard position here. But when he says ludicrous things like "I would never do anything to alienate our fan base," he is, most charitably, whizzing on my leg and telling me it's raining. when he says things like this, he's trying to have it both ways. He wants to be the good guy that would "never" do anything to alienate the fan base, but he also wants the credit for making the tough decision to help the university's long term interests.

I'd prefer it if he'd just say "You know, I know this sucks. This deal is awful. People who live in Kansas have no choice in this matter. ESPN3 will be blocked for people who live here but people in Austin, Texas, Columbia, Missouri and damn near anyplace else in the country will be able to watch these games. It stinks for our fans but I made a tough decision and I stand by it."

While it would not make the deal any less awful for ACTUAL FANS of KU basketball, it would at least be a refreshing bit of truth to have him admit what he thought was most important to protect.

Joe Ross 5 years, 4 months ago

You have it wrong. Completely. To assume that your synopsis of Zenger is correct, one would have to believe that if Zenger COULD accomplish both, he would NOT. Only this scenario makes Zenger worthy of the kind of malice you are charging him with. Short of that, you have him putting two things in a balance and deciding to prioritize one above another. If his reasons for doing so are understandable, and they are, then it basically amounts to your being pissed off that the athlete was given priority over the fan. Ultimately, this institution is not well served by prioritizing the fan, which is the point Zenger makes when he says, "...at the end of the day, we have to take care of our student-athletes and our coaches and give them that competitive edge every day and hope that people understand that those decisions are based on what’s best for the student-athletes and the coaches." With this statement Zenger has done EXACTLY what you have prescribed when you say, "...it would at least be a refreshing bit of truth to have him admit what he thought was most important to protect."

Enjoy your refreshment, sir.

Your indignation is understandable up to the point that you would abridge what is best for the sports programs and the University. Beyond that, it's just selfishness.

Gavin Fritton 5 years, 4 months ago

Joe, I would be willing to accept that but for one thing: The Kansas-wide ESPN3 blackout. Just to be clear, I don't think Zenger is acting with any type of malice. In fact, I credit him for doing what he thinks is best. I'll even go one further and say that, on the whole, this is a good thing for KU athletics. I'll live without the games that are being kept from me and if this really benefits KU, I'll take the bullet.

But, again, Zenger, while not acting maliciously, has done the very thing he said he would "never" do. Should fans suck it up and accept this reality? maybe. Hell, probably. But the simple fact is that, whether he had malice or not (and, again, I don't think he did), this has had the effect of alienating fans. Look at how many people are genuinely upset by this. In light of that, how can you say that this hasn't had negative effects even if, on the whole, the effect has been a positive one?

As I mentioned earlier, this would be a lot easier to accept if TWC had a monopoly on these games on television only. But they don't. They also have a monopoly on the online carriage of the games as well. (And don't talk to me about hacks to get around the firewalls. Because to do that would mean that you suggest that I cheat to get around KU's business partnership and I know you are against harming any of the university's relationships.) And why is it that I could watch these games on my iPad if I lived in Texas but, because I live in the state of Kansas (where, not for nothing, I support the University with my tax dollars and it exists to support me as a Kansan), the games are blacked out to me? I understand how this makes sense for TWC (because money) and I'll even buy that there are lots of benefits for KU (again, money), but there is NO WAY this is a positive for Kansans.

Joe Ross 5 years, 4 months ago

I understand and respect your position. I know why you are frustrated. No fan wants his games taken away, especially because we wait ALL DAMN YEAR for one sport. We are not really a two-sport school, just being honest about it. To have someone cut in on your time is like an annoying classmate cutting in on your gorgeous date on prom night. But think about this. Not only can recruits' families get to watch them on TV now, but think of how many Jayhawk fans and alums nationwide will get to see them who haven't been able to. I used to live in Pennsylvania and Nebraska, and I NEVER got games there. Now, Jayhawk fans outside the area have greater access. Yes it costs us local yokels some, but as you seem to understand (judging by what you've written), it's good for recruits, recruits' families, distant Jayhawk fans, and the reputation of the University. These are huge gains, and quibbling over how Zenger worded his explanation seems somewhat trivial when so much has been gotten. Just my very humble opinion...

Gavin Fritton 5 years, 4 months ago

I think we probably agree more than we disagree on this. While I don't think that Zenger had any malicious intent when he did this, it's pretty clear he's been feeling lots of (justified, in my opinion) heat for this. If not, why do an interview on pretty much this and only this subject?

And, like you, I'm happy with anything that has the effect of widening our footprint and improving our brand. You can't be against that. No one could. But this only puts KU in the homes of recruits if those homes have Time Warner. Obviously, a LOT of kids will have Time Warner service, but to me this seems more about the money than about the footprint. Which is fine, truly. Money is a worthwhile pursuit right here and if we want KU to be competitive, there had better be money and plenty of it. But by the time you consider how many homes have Cox Cable, Verizon, Google Fiber, Dish Network, DirecTV, etc., it seems like this is actually going to have the effect of keeping us out of more living rooms than it will be getting us into. Of course, there's no guarantee that KU could have made any deals with those other cable providers, so the net effect may well be that KU is on more TVs than they would have without this deal. I can see that point.

And, not to beat a dead horse (I know, too late) but this Kansas blackout is what really sticks in my craw. It's not a bad thing to have KU on in Pennsylvia or Nebraska, but the rationalization to have these games blacked out in the state that serves KU and is in turn served by it is baffling to me. I understand that lifting the ESPN3 blackout would only provide intermediate relief and that people who don't get ESPN3 would not be any better off, anyway, but I am having a really hard time understanding why someone in Philadelphia (which may not even be a Time Warner town, I honestly don't know, but it seems like a lot of the east coast is serviced by Cablevision) should be able to watch my Jayahwks when I, someone who lives here and supports the university through my taxes, should be denied that same access.

But I get it why it happened. And even if I didn't, this is the way it is and I understand that as well.

Foster Coburn 5 years, 4 months ago

"darned near anyplace else" isn't completely true either. ESPN3 is ONLY available if your Internet provider is one of the blessed who pays Disney for the privilege of offering it. Where I live (metro Phoenix), there are only two Internet providers available to me and neither offers ESPN3. I asked the one I have and they claimed I was only the second person to ever ask about it.

Steve Corder 5 years, 4 months ago

Nothing mentioned regarding up-grading the football stadium.

Ron Prichard 5 years, 4 months ago

Its in the works. The architects are already working on proposals and the renovations are supposed to start after next season. I was hoping for after THIS season, but for the timeline they are working with (funding, planning, finishing Rock Chalk Park, etc) I can understand why it's a year away.

I heard Zenger speak at an alumni event and believe me, upgrading the football stadium is at the top of his list, along with improving the football program in general.

Vaughn Kruger 5 years, 4 months ago

I don't think I understand his line of reasoning. More visibility for "other sports" doesn't really matter. There is football. There is basketball. There is other. No one pays attention to other.

Most Big 12 teams beat the crap out of us year after year at "other sports". It was crazy lopsided. No one noticed or cared.

If all it does is help other sports, it's not worth it.

Michael Sillman 5 years, 4 months ago

If losing access to a few basketball games while strengthening the overall athletic program alienates some fans, then they weren't really Jayhawk fans to begin with.

Jeremy Bolinger 5 years, 4 months ago

Wrong. This could've been done differently. Zenger could've gone about this differently than what he did. He took what seemed to be a great offer, and shoved it down our throats. It's truly sad that in "expanding our footprint," we handcuff what has always been here all along. Never, ever should we cater to a baseball recruit whose family lives in Hawaii, California, or Florida over the local family that has supported these programs for years. Zenger screwed the pooch on this one, and he screwed the fans as well.

Ian Legler 5 years, 4 months ago

I am going to agree with Michael on this one. What's 6 games out of 30+ if it is going to put Kansas on the same level of overall program success as the Florida States, the Stanfords, etc. I understand how people could be upset. But to say he "screwed the pooch", I respectfully disagree. He made an executive decision that benefits more than it doesn't. Having lived out of state for some time this is the first year I've been able to watch pre-season bball games for the first time. And as I understand, most Lawrence residents could get the games on local channels anyway.

And the reason we "cater" to family's from out of state is so we can draw in the recruits, improve the program, etc. Your views I am afraid are terribly short-sighted.

Brandon Koch 5 years, 4 months ago

Time Warner has tried to make sure that they get the games to some of the alienated fan base. They have an agreement with Cox for the games and the original programming and they have also made the satellite feeds of the games themselves available to several of the rural cable companies. I know there are still some out in the cold, but hopefully they will continue to expand their agreements to restore it to the rest of the local fan base.

Roger Tobias 5 years, 4 months ago

Has anybody talked to the Alumni Association and had the organizers of their watch parties weigh in on this? I am vacationing in Cocoa Beach. I checked with the sports bars in the area and they, like probably 99% around the country, are on DirectTV. So it doesn't matter if Time Warner has cable to the homes of alumni, unless someone in a large resort city wants to open their home to a 100 or more alums. Or am I missing something? I wonder if Time Warner's money gained will exceed the money lost by those rural Kansas donors upset over this, who's lifetime loyalty has been ignored. It's hard for me to believe that the one entity that, over time, has generated the most eyeballs directed at the university, is ignored for 6 games. The only reason something should be blacked out in an area is because tickets are still available.

Mel Clare 5 years, 4 months ago

Don't sit there and fill me with this crap! IT IS ALL ABOUT MONEY!!!!!!!!!! Time Warner? Are you kidding me? As I have stated in western Kansas we DO NOT GET Time Warner!!!! SO Zenger alienates the WHOLE western half of the state??? Where KU has Alumni groups, graduates, donors, students parents, ect. ect. ect..........for MONEY??? What a MORON!!!!! Piss poor way of doing things Zenger. How much did YOU pocket???

Joe Ross 5 years, 4 months ago

It's not just about money. Did you read the article about the suggestions to our athletic department that it advance its brand nationally?

Travis Taggart 5 years, 4 months ago

Almost all of western Kansas has access to the games from a local provider according to this website (http://www.kuathletics.com/sports/2013/6/21/GEN_0621130651.aspx#Channel) . In Hays, both of our local providers picked up the option to show the games.

Ben Miller 5 years, 4 months ago

If your sports bar is worth its salt, they should have a good enough internet connection to show ESPN3 games. Most of the U of South Alabama Jaguar football games fall into this category and the bar I go to shows them all, streaming in HD.

Bryce Landon 5 years, 4 months ago

Have any of you guys ever heard of this thing called "radio"?

Andy Hess 5 years, 4 months ago

Because that's totally equivalent to watching the game on TV. We know you're used to actually watching the games like a normal human being, but why don't you gather the family around the radio like it's 1930 and LISTEN to a basketball game? Give me a break. Also, I don't know about most of you, but I don't even own a radio outside my car stereo. How many of you actually have a radio in your home? I use an mp3 player myself. Web radio typically blocks the game (at least it has for the past several years whenever I listen). Just stop trying to act like WE are being unreasonable, when we all know who is really at fault here.

Josh Galler 5 years, 4 months ago

I have sure west and it sucks that I could not watch my games, and I would never ever go back to TWC. expensive fees and bad customer service. I would not be too upset if ESPN3.com did not block out the Kansas City Market and state of Kansas. I understand TWC deal, but I do not understand with ESPN3.com that they alienate state of KS and KC markets. The first exhibition I saw the game on ESPN3 which was cool, but the second exhibition I could not. However there are some .eu websites you be able to get online to watch the games

Andy Hess 5 years, 4 months ago

That's what I use here in KC. The .eu sites and the jayhawktv site on Justin.tv

Bryce Landon 5 years, 4 months ago

So the page on Justin.tv is working again? Last I checked, it wasn't streaming any games. And I wouldn't go back to the .eu sites again; I got malware last time I used one for the Kansas-South Dakota football game.

Andy Hess 5 years, 4 months ago

yea it's working again. and those .eu websites are perfectly safe if you use common sense and don't click on random links and download software from their site.

Doug Roberts 5 years, 4 months ago

It's truly a sad (and greedy) state of college athletics and cable TV when I have to watch a game that takes place 40 minutes away through a European website.

Bryce Landon 5 years, 4 months ago

And one that keeps losing the feed and giving you viruses.

Ron Franklin 5 years, 4 months ago

Live n sek. Bought cox Internet for espn3. Upgraded to full court. Still can't watch the games. First time in 10 years can't watch live games.

Andy Hess 5 years, 4 months ago

Live in KC, buy TWC Internet for ESPN3. Find out after the fact that TWC blocks you from getting ESPN3 access unless you pay for their cable service too.

Rob Chestnut 5 years, 4 months ago

“Two-fold,” Zenger said. “First, I believe any decision we make, the core value has to center around your student-athletes. This provided 500 student athletes the most exposure possible to regional and national coverage. What it did for them in exposure and recruiting is unrivaled.”

This quote is in itself conflicted. Student athletes for the most part are not worried about national exposure nor recruiting since very few of them will ever play professionally.

The pressure to expand budgets and generate revenue is enormous in Division I college athletics. But, let's not confuse the issue with thinking that decision-making by any athletic director begins with the student athlete.

Conference realignment was about money and TV. How beneficial was it for the players from West Virginia to travel to Lawrence, Kansas and play a game at 11 am in the morning?

I think Dr. Zenger is in a difficult position in trying to explain the unexplainable. The NCAA continues to promote the idea of the amateur athlete as a model. It simply doesn't apply anymore. Once athletic departments began incorporating and forming a separate governance, the business of college athletics is in direct conflict with the structure to manage it. It is a difficult challenge to balance.

Jack Jones 5 years, 4 months ago

Yes, an extremely frustrating, and tremendously upsetting situation for thousands of long-time, loyal KU fans, and supporters ~ both financial, as well as otherwise. However, I completely understand, and agree with (although, I am one of those fans affected), the reason for the change in coverage of the football and basketball games ~ as so clearly explained (for the nth time) in this interview. The priorities set forth regarding the overall impact for the University ~ not only the overall athletic programs, but the entire University ~ had to be the first consideration at the time the deal was negotiated. It is unfortunate that there is not a way to revise the terms in order to rectify the 'harm' done to those Jayhawk fans, who are indeed "losers" of something very important ~ not only to them personally, but to the University as well. There must be a way.

Joshua Ames 5 years, 4 months ago

This could have been done differently. They could have allowed people that purchase ESPN Full court to watch the games as they originally stated they would. However TWC has blacked out this game the next game and apparently 2 more. I don't Want to drive to a bar and watch the game. I want to watch it In my home with my daughter. Now I am out money for the ESPN Full Court package since I only bought it to watch the KU games. Hey Zenger you want to reimburse me for your stupid decision and obviously not fully understanding the deal since this is the 5th or 6th article I've read on this and they all have different information. I'm glad somebody in Hawaii can watch the game tonight but long time fans in Kansas can't. Bravo

John Spencer 5 years, 4 months ago

Does anyone know who the sponsors actually are, I would like to make sure I boycott them. This really pisses me off, and I want to 'vote with my dollars'. The black outs make the least sense since Allen Field house is always sold out!

Ron Prichard 5 years, 4 months ago

I feel your pain but the black outs aren't because of home ticket sales. ESPN3 is blacked out in KC because that is where Time Warner is (for the most part) available. Time Warner paid a lot of money to KU for the broadcast rights. To allow ESPN3 to show the game in the same markets where people could buy TWC doesn't make business sense. TWC purchased the broadcast rights to add value to their TV package and to gain (and keep) more viewers. This is not only a business decision for KU but also for TWC.

Joshua Ames 5 years, 4 months ago

Growing up the teams that we could get on TV were the teams that shaped who I cheered for as an adult. Now that I want my children to share those teams in a day and age where you can virtually watch any game anywhere, that is no longer possible because of the new deal. So when my daughter asks, "can we watch the jayhawks?" I have to respond with "ummm, well, ugh, wait yeah go get you lap top and a sticky note." The lap top is for JustinTv and the sticky note is to cover the comments of some of its users. Unfortunately we get every stinking Kentucky, Kansas State game, so let's hope my children's teams aren't shaped the same way mine were.

Ron Prichard 5 years, 4 months ago

Think about what you said, because you just made Zenger's point for him. "Growing up the teams that we could get on TV were the teams that shaped who I cheered for as an adult." I seriously doubt that your daughter missing out on six of the pre-conference KU basketball games is going to cause her to be a KSU fan as opposed to KU. Especially if you are in the KC market, which is saturated with KU marketing, merchandise, fans, etc.

However, if you lived in Georgia or Virginia or anywhere else, you now have the ability to expose your kids and family to all sorts of KU programming. That is the real benefit of this TV deal, and you just provided the primary reason FOR it while arguing against it.

As for the SEC and even other Big XII teams, their television coverage for basketball (and even football for some teams) is significantly LESS than the coverage of KU right now. Think about the fact that two of Missouri's football games this year were only available on pay per view, and their game against Indiana was only available on the Big 10 network.

KU's coverage is better than most, but because they are the only team we care about seeing every single game, that is what we notice. From what I can tell, several of Kentucky's games are broadcast on TV by UK IMG, which is only available in select markets in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. So, I'm not sure how you would have seen every Kentucky game unless you live in an area where you can also get ESPN3 that is not blocked out for KU games.

Again, I know it sucks, but this is good for KU as an institution as well as it's athletic teams.

Joshua Ames 5 years, 4 months ago

UK IMG is much like Jayhawk tv last year where they allowed ESPN to broadcast the games on ESPN3 or Full Court. This gave the availability to people across the nation as well as folks in the MARKET to view the game. If you honestly think this is best for the university than take a look at Texas and the downfall they have had since creating the longhorn network. They are struggling through all athletic programs with recruiting and performance. They sure do have a lot of money though. Trust me if I had the option to switch to TWC I would which is the business plan for them in the first place. The extended coverage sounds awesome. The point is they blacked out half the state for a couple million dollars.

Glen Miller 5 years, 4 months ago

The guy went out and hired Charlie Weis as our "big fish". Did you expect any less from him?? Seriously, sometimes Z makes me scratch my head with his decision making.

Ron Prichard 5 years, 4 months ago

I know what you mean. I heard Nick Saban was interested and Zenger wouldn't even talk to him.

I'm just curious, how many "big fish" do you think were interested in being KU's football coach? I'm guessing not many.

Lance Cheney 5 years, 4 months ago

All I know is that I am not donating any more money to the school until they get rid of this. And on a side note, I'm not having to answer any survey questions anymore. I don't know if I should be happy or worried. Has anyone else had this?

Bruce Brenner 5 years, 4 months ago

At least these games are broadcast on ESPN3 in NYC area.

Mike Payne 5 years, 4 months ago

For those in the Blackout - To Stream ESPN3 during a blackout here is a little trick.... Use Google Chrome. Once you have Chrome on your machine go to the Chrome App Store. Download a free app called "ZenMate". And boom you can now watch ESPN3 on your computer during a blackout. -- What this app does is change your IP address on your computer to some other place in the country. I live in Johnson County but ESPN3 Thinks I am in NY.

Spencer Hurst 5 years, 4 months ago

Good info! Might have to try that out. If that doesn't work for many of you, try this link! It should work for tonight's Iona game!

http://www.feed2all.eu/watch/222381/1/watch--iona-vs-2-kansas.html

Joshua Ames 5 years, 4 months ago

That is great info. Unfortunately a lot of us are in an area where Internet providers don't support ESPN3. That is the reason we purchase ESPN Full court which is also blacked out.

Kara Guthrie 5 years, 4 months ago

Just posting this for those that care to know. If you have cox cable it is on channel 22.

Bryce Landon 5 years, 4 months ago

If you live in Topeka, you can get it on WIBW-TV.

Mike Adams 5 years, 4 months ago

Also, even though you live in Kansas/KC you can get EASILY get around this blackout. Do a little research online (I know if I post all of the info it will be removed and the workaround possibly remediated so don’t want to chance spoiling for others and myself). Basically you run some free software in Chrome and you will NOT be blacked out, the software keeps ESPN from knowing where your IP is coming from, mask it. Took me less than 2 minutes to setup and I was watching the game, a friend told me about it. Then get an adapter and plug into your TV, or just watch from your laptop/pc. It’s better than the game IMO as you don’t get all of the redundant commercials. Everyone I know is doing this … amazed the word isn’t out more.

Steve Kubler 5 years, 4 months ago

Do the same thing on an IPAD with a flash relay browser. Sometimes not a great picture but it can be done.

Mike Adams 5 years, 4 months ago

just noticed someone above posted on ZenMate, this is the software as he mentions & I only refer to, works great...hope they don't figure out a way to detect and block this, call me paranoid! Here is the URL to watch the game after you install and run Chrome with ZenMate - http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index/_/channel/espn3

Barker Gwen 5 years, 4 months ago

I live in oklahoma city area. I have Cox cable, I called them to ask about ESPN3 and how to get it . The tech support has never heard of it & they don't have it. Kara I have been all the way from channel 1 to 2054 and never found it. I will have to suffer thru missing another game. I will also try Mike Adams way. Thanks.

Nick Cole 5 years, 4 months ago

Maybe this is a dumb question, but why is it blacked out in KS? I get the whole money aspect, which I understand is reason #1, but to me this is not a valid reason, and here is why. As SZ stated, TWC approached KU and not the other way around. If SZ could leverage that to say ESPN3 can show all these games too, why allow them to black it out in KS? If it's shown in KS as well then it's on even more TV sets which means more viewers and potential advertising dollars. KU needs to recruit the state in football, and if we have any disadvantage with KSU like one game not being shown it's a big deal in my book. It's jus one more thing KSU can say they have over us when recruiting the state. Not smart for our coaches and student-athletes, Dr. Z. I get more sports are shown nationally and blah blah blah, but this doesn't help locally in football which ultimately hurts the very things SZ says he is trying to help. I think it's a good move overall for KU and the athletic programs, but this deal hurts us locally which devalues this deal a little bit in my opinion. But nobody asked for my opinion so I guess I'll just shut up.

Joseph Bullock 5 years, 4 months ago

OK, I am a Businessman, and this deal is 'Strictly Business'! It is about $ & Cents! NO wait, just $! If it would have been done before the Big 12 was saved, I would have totally understood it, and even been for it. But this is about money, period. Don't give me this crap, that this deal was about helping "ALL" the Student Athletes! The only sport, in most Major College Programs, that make money is Football. K.U. happens to be one of the few that make money in basketball (although there may be more now, than when I read about this a few years ago). Oh, and by the way, I am a season ticket holder, so I can see every game, so my opinion is not biased, or out of anger. PS: This deal is also about Time Warner, trying to beat out their competition, and they used K.U. to do just that. Again, it is all about the $. And being nasty with each other, like saying 'did you even read the article', is very childish and immature! People have a right to their opinion, even if, oh my gosh, it differs from yours. You can disagree with me, as I'm sure some will, but I am fine with that, as people have a right to do so. In closing, I hate this deal, although it ultimately may help the University, down the road, but once it is done, I hope it is not renewed. Also, I sometimes give my tickets to those who can't afford to go, or sell them to friends, and I go watch the games at a sports bar, with friends. That is a lot of fun, and usually a good meal, also. Rock Chalk!

Joshua Ames 5 years, 4 months ago

My frustration with the logic of this deal is the motives. For example if KU is basing this deal on the Texas, Long Horn Network than we need to bow out of it immediately. Look what good that has done for Texas. Every major sports program is in decline. But hey we have a lot of money to renovate empty stadiums.

Benz Junque 5 years, 4 months ago

This move was a huge mistake plain and simple. Mr. Zenger, TIME WARNER SUCKS and has alienated a huge majority of users/former users in the KC Metro area. People are leving them in droves because of their terrible service, terrible support, terrible uptime and inferior product.

And KU should SUE ESPN for their pi$$ poor coverage on ESPN3.com. The feed of Late Night, which was supposed to "increase national audience" was CUT OFF before the mens team even took the floor. Ridiculous. And I got all of the non-nationally televised games on ESPN3 before this contract with Time Warner so you really didn't add anything.

If you are going to sign a deal that impacts your local market, at least do it with the company that isn't currently screwing the local market like Time Warner.

Larry Smith 5 years, 4 months ago

If you want to Watch it on ESPN3, you can also install Hotspot Shield here http://www.hotspotshield.com/ it is also free and will give you a different IP that is not in the Blackout area. You can do from any browser, not just Chrome.

Yolanda Gay 5 years, 4 months ago

I personally have been having good luck with this. The late night was shown, I think, on a Fox channel in its entirety. Cox was able to show the exhibition games on Channel 22/2022. WIBW also has carried the KU games.

There are also shows like Jayhawk Insider which is really good as well as the pre-game shows.

During this conference reallignment talks, do we know if other offers were made and if so, how good they were. If not having a television market was one of the downfalls of not making KU as a whole attractive, at least we have that part fixed.

I think our conference is pretty strong now; but if reallignment talks should happen again, at least we have the television market in place. Maybe in the future, Zenger can get a better deal.

Steve Kubler 5 years, 4 months ago

I understand the TV deal. Just wish they would not say thinks like "choose not to have TWC." Most of KS, speaking geographically, we do not get a choice of cable providers. We have one, and only one, take it or leave it. My cable provider made a deal with TWC to rebroadcast locally which was great in theory but the picture/sound quality has sucked to be polite.

Just admit that decisions are made that are good for the school, if not KU fans overall, and be done with it. Most of us are smart enough to know how things work and would prefer the unvarnished truth to a bunch of politically correct platitudes.

Brad Farha 5 years, 4 months ago

I fully admit that my move from U-Verse to Comcast Xfinity (back in August) was heavily influenced by all of this.

Bruce Beckum 5 years, 4 months ago

Is it too much to hope that this will lead to KU not being left out next time conference realignment occurs? If that happens, then I will see this as a period of trading a few games a year to avoid becoming a mid-major. If that happens, it will have been worth it for me. If that happens.

Jason Bailey 5 years, 4 months ago

Guys...this isn't difficult. Just fire up a VPN solution (like VyperVPN or others) and voila! Even though you may be in the middle of black-out central, ESPN3 thinks you're living in Austin, TX and all's good. Your room is ablaze with the flickering light from your monitor of KU Basketball.

Stick it to the man...it's not hard.

Jeffery Stadler 5 years, 4 months ago

Welcome to my world which is Joplin Missouri. Blacked out on Directv. Blacked out on ESPN3 and too far from a radio affiliate to listen to the game. I paid to have ESPN Full Court because I live in enemy territory but still love the Jayhawks. The best example of the love is I have lived here for 17 years and have had season football tickets for 16 years. I have missed maybe 12 games since 1996. I know pain. I have no idea how KU games can be blocked over 3hrs from Lawrence. Money isn't everything but I understand it pays the bills. Did not ease the sting of not watching the game tonight.

Paul Peters 5 years, 4 months ago

I live in Lawrence. I have satellite and an antenna. It was bad enough listening to KU football games but listening to basketball just doesn't cut it. I feel like a second class citizen.

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