Friday, September 13, 2013

UND SID Breaks down UND's TV Situation

For those that haven't seen this, @UNDSID explains UND's TV situation on Sioux Sports. This could answer some questions that you might have. 

I'm all for engaging in discussion on here if we can leave the name-calling (different post) and conspiracy theories out of it. The person I talked to was not affiliated with Midco, nor were they trying to "sell" UND's "media people" on anything. I merely asked in casual conversation, out of my own curiosity, about FTA and its prevalence in this day and age.

Believe me, the last thing I want to do is rehash the exact same discussion every month about the television situation. I would guess most of you feel the same way. No, it is not ideal in its current incarnation, but how many collegiate television situations are? It is an extremely fluid landscape but we are committed to making the best of it. Not just now, but going forward.

There are some on here (and elsewhere) who continue to presume that we as an athletics department -- the paid professionals whose job it is to operate in the best interests of our University and our student-athletes -- don't value maximum exposure. That we apparently are content to have fewer games on national television. That we aren't concerned with losing hockey viewers who previously watched us on FCS. This is utterly preposterous.

Over the past six years under Brian Faison:
§  A relationship has been established with FOX College Sports (available in more than 50 million homes) that has provided live national broadcasts of not just UND men's hockey, but also UND women's hockey, football, men's basketball, women's basketball and volleyball.
§  A partnership has been formed with Midco Sports Network that not only provides us with a regional broadcast stronghold, but ever-important financial stability. Further, as we begin just year two of that 5-year partnership, Midco has already addressed some of the biggest macro (high definition) and micro (penalty clock) issues that many fans have had with our broadcasts over the years.
§  Midco has also committed to produce and broadcast North Dakota Hockey with Dave Hakstol, the first men's hockey-specific show we've had in at least 20 years, if ever (my time here dates only to the mid-90s so I don't know if there was a Gino Gasparini show). This show, along with UND Sports Extra and UND Insider Weekly, provide us with no fewer than three weekly television shows.
§  Significant resources (financial and manpower) have been committed to widening and improving our online coverage. This ranges from live events (webcasts that include all men's hockey, women's hockey, football, men's basketball, women's basketball and volleyball home games, as well as select soccer, baseball and softball games) to original programming (Through These Doors, Opening Drive, etc.). This has also included the continued development of mobile apps, now and going forward.
§  The state and regional radio network has been significantly expanded.
§  If the exposure discussion goes beyond the traditional realm, our student-athletes have been featured prominently by Sports Illustrated, TSN, CBC, New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, ESPN the Magazine, Los Angeles Times and more. Truthfully, many of these opportunities simply fall into our lap. But quite often, we must aggressively pitch and pursue them. That is our job.

Yes, fewer men's hockey home games will be available on national TV this year. Unfortunately, that was the cost of business associated with forming a first-rate men's hockey conference. Do we as a department find the loss of those games ideal? Of course not, but that doesn't mean that we will stop trying to eventually reclaim that full national footprint. We are hopeful it will prove to be a shining example of one step backward to take two steps forward. As with anything, these things take time.

This athletics department is certainly never beyond reproach, and it is the fans who serve as our checks and balances. That is a good thing.

But I would hope that the bullet points above serve as evidence that this department is anything but ignorant when it comes to matters of exposure.
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