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Big West, HTA look at putting UH on TV in California

By Ferd Lewis

LAST UPDATED: 10:29 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

The Hawaii Tourism Authority and the Big West Conference are exploring the possibility of televising some University of Hawaii sports events into California as a cross-promotion venture, officials said.

UH joins the Big West in 2012 for most sports and the Mountain West Conference in football after 33 years in the Western Athletic Conference.

Big West commissioner Dennis Farrell said he met with David Uchiyama, HTA vice president of brand management, and UH athletic director Jim Donovan recently to discuss some possible models.

Uchiyama said, "They (Big West officials) have made some recommendations to us and Michael Story (of HTA) and I are reviewing their proposals and seeing how we might incorporate it into a plan that promotes Hawaii and supports the University of Hawaii."

"Basically, where we left it, there was interest by both parties," Farrell said. "I think that we're going to start exploring some ideas."

Among them, apparently, is airing some of the Rainbows and Rainbow Wahine Big West events from Hawaii which, along with recruiting visibility for UH, would give the HTA an opportunity to do some on-campus promotions with member schools and their alumni.

"California is a major market for Hawaii's tourism industry and the concentration of schools within California with the Big West Conference presents another vehicle to get Hawaii's presence in front of our key audience," Uchiyama said.

The Big West is composed of nine California schools.

Farrell said the conference recently agreed to extend its TV contract with Fox through 2011-12 and will soon start talks aimed at a longer agreement.

"Part of those talks will be how we could fold Hawaii into our package," he said.

The Big West also has an agreement with ESPN.

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