POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Oct 27, 2010
Oceanic Time Warner Cable and the University of Hawaii are asking ESPN to permit a simulcast of the Nov. 6 Hawaii-Boise State football game on cable and pay-per-view.
ESPN and the Western Athletic Conference announced yesterday that the game will be shown on ESPNU at 9:30 a.m.
The game had previously been included in a special 18-event UH sports PPV package. But because only about 42 percent of Oceanic's 425,000 subscribers have ESPNU (digital 219 and hi-definition 1219) as part of an Oceanic premium package that is not available on basic cable, the cable operator and UH are asking the network to allow it to be carried simultaneously on cable and PPV.
"We're trying to make ESPN aware of the situation here so that it (the game) can reach the most people possible," said Norman Santos, Oceanic vice president of operations. "We're trying to make the best of the situation and live up to our commitments to the people who expected us to deliver the game."
Fans who signed up for the PPV package but have ESPNU would receive a rebate, according to Santos. He said letters will be sent to subscribers detailing the amount and their options prior to the Boise State game. He said subscribers would have an option to donate the amount of the rebate to UH, which stands to lose money from ESPN picking up the game.
Santos estimated that, with the rebates, the amount of the loss from ESPN picking up the game could be as much as $250,000. UH receives a $2.3 million annual guarantee for its rights and shares in additional revenue with its partners, Oceanic and KFVE.
UH associate athletic director John McNamara said "it would be hard to quantify at this point" the financial impact on UH until rebate returns are in.
If UH beats Idaho on Saturday, the UH-Boise State game would match the only two unbeatens in WAC play. UH is 6-2 overall and 4-0 in conference, while Boise State is 7-0 and 3-0.
Under terms of its contract with the WAC, ESPN selects a slate of games during the summer and then has the right to add games in the fall with 12 days' notice.
The WAC receives approximately $4.5 million a year from ESPN and is guaranteed at least 10 games on the combination of ESPN and ESPN2 plus at least six on ESPNU.
The network said its two main channels each reach more than 99 million households while ESPNU goes into about 77 million.
The Boise State game will be UH's second and last ESPN appearance of the regular season but is important because it comes just before the start of the in-home recruiting process.
"It is a bit of a double-edged sword," McNamara said.