Tuesday Night Musings

Some stuff to get out of the hopper, so we can work on other things…

BLAME LEBRON: As OMW – thanks to an Orlando newspaper writer – reported back in April, Raycom Media CBS affiliate WOIO/19 “19 Action News” is losing weekend sports anchor/reporter David Pingalore to Orlando’s WKMG/6, the CBS affiliate in that Florida city.

Well, eventually.

OMW hears via Orlando blogger Roger Simmons’ TV blog – which quotes TV news/gossip site NewsBlues – that Mr. Pingalore hasn’t left the North Coast yet for a good reason.

LeBron James.

Well, to be specific, the Akron superstar’s team, the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers. It appears Mr. Pingalore promised “Action News” that he wouldn’t head to Orlando until after the Cavaliers’ playoff run.

Even if the Cavaliers lose to the hated Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals, it could keep the WOIO sports anchor here until at very least next Tuesday (the scheduled Game 4), and much later if the local team manages to advance to the Finals…

BIG TEN PUSH: With our earlier item confirming that the Big Ten Network hasn’t yet reached an agreement with Time Warner Cable, a web search on it apparently led the cable/satellite network’s media types to put us on their mailing list.

Apparently, though, they think we’re a Big Ten school-related fan blog.

We got an open letter from BTN president Mark Silverman, who addresses, among other things, the network’s carriage situation.

Since they’ve helpfully passed along a link to an FAQ on the network’s website, we’ll let you follow along.

Silverman mentions the existing deals with DirecTV and AT&T’s video arm (which is not yet available here in Ohio), and addresses negotiations with major multi-state cable operators…like, say, a certain company going by the initials “TWC”:

We have had productive conversations with larger cable operators. Getting those deals done is more complicated because we’re talking about several different kinds of services in several different markets.

These deals take longer to complete due to their complexity, but the fact that DirecTV, AT&T and others have agreed to carry the Big Ten Network is a good sign that all cable and satellite operators – both big and small nationwide – understand the value of our programming.

This is a very standard “New Network Playbook” move, most recently employed here in this region by SportsTime Ohio – before its first year launch. Basically: “We have programming of value”.

BTN also, as STO did last year and other networks have done, encourages would-be viewers to call their local provider:

We urge all Big Ten fans, whether they are inside or outside of the Big Ten footprint, to contact their cable or satellite provider to ask if they plan on carrying the Big Ten Network.

We fully expect all cable systems and satellite providers to carry the network because they understand your passion and love for your team, and thus how important this programming is to you. By calling to inquire if your provider plans to carry the Big Ten Network, you will reinforce what they already know.

Back to that “value” proposition for a second.

Big Ten Network does indeed intend to carry popular sports like the conference’s football games.

But it reminds us of the NFL Network’s struggle to get cable deals after starting to air live NFL games.

Sure, they’ll carry, for example, games involving schools that aren’t being shown on the main feeds of ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/etc.

But an Ohio State fan will generally find the Buckeye football team on those channels, no? (We’re reminded of the furor, though, over one game that was only seen on “ESPNU”, which was at the time not carried on the majority of local cable systems, even in Columbus…)

Most of the BTN “big sport” games will be stuff like Iowa vs. Illinois – second-and-third tier contests that don’t make it to the “big networks”. And like Columbus-based Columbus Sports Network – aka WCSN-LP 32 – Big Ten Network will have a schedule also chock full of “non-high-profile” sports.

But in the end, the most popular sports involving the local Big Ten team will be on over-air networks, or the widely available ESPN or ESPN2 networks.

We suspect that the end result will be that BTN will come down somewhat from its reported $1.10-per-subscriber figure for cable systems in the Big Ten states…

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