Mountaineer TV notes
Ever since it became official that West Virginia University would be joining the Big 12 Conference this year, there have been some murmurs among the fans curious as to how the new conference affiliation would affect WVU’s visibility on television. Fans in this area have been fortunate in recent years in that there has rarely been a game, football and basketball, that wasn’t available for viewing.
Yes, there may have been the need to purchase extra programming in some cases, but the vast majority of games could be found if you wanted to find them badly enough. The previous Big 12 TV contract didn’t involve ESPN so the outlets for the Big 12 were ABC, Fox and Fox Sports regional channels. The possibility of having a game on a Fox regional channel and not being able to view it in the panhandle seemed like a potential problem.
Last Thursday ESPN, which is now involved in the new 13 year $1.2 billion Big 12 TV deal, released its schedule for the fall and it included just one Big 12 game, Texas-Oklahoma in Dallas on October 13. The omission of other Big 12 games was startling, to say the least.
WVU deputy athletic director Mike Parsons explained, "That's not a complete schedule," Parsons said.
He added, "Basically you have ESPN, Fox and the Big 12 reworking contracts. That will come into play. My guess is you'll see more [Big 12 games on ESPN] coming." ESPN apparently needed to release the schedule they had confirmed. The new deal that includes ESPN has not been finalized; thus no Big 12 games have been confirmed. The lawyers are fine-tuning it," Parsons said. "In principle, they're there."
Parsons also said WVU fans can be assured "every game will be televised, and everyone in West Virginia will be able to see them." That is a relief, but it is still unclear just who will be carrying the regional broadcasts. Before, if a WVU game was designated as a Big East Game of the Week, it would almost always be on one of the MASN channels, WJAL or Root Sports Pittsburgh.
Fox has 16 regional sports channels, but none in our local region. Root Sports was a Fox channel in Pittsburgh until they went with the DIRECTV’s “Root Sports” concept. The answer to just who will be carrying the Big 12 regional games in this area will be forthcoming.