Approximately 1,000 home subscribers and some commercial establishments could be without the University of Hawaii-Boise State football game Saturday unless ESPN and Oceanic Time Warner Cable are able to reach agreement soon on a simulcast.
The game, which matches the two teams unbeaten in Western Athletic Conference play, will be shown on ESPNU, which announced last week it was picking up the game. Since the summer, the game had been the featured item of an 18-event offering sold as part of UH’s pay-per-view package in conjunction with Oceanic and KFVE.
Kickoff is 9:30 a.m., Hawaii time, from Boise, Idaho.
About 42 percent of Oceanic’s 425,000 subscribers have ESPNU (digital 219 and hi-definition 1219) as part of a premium package. Because ESPNU is unavailable on basic cable, homes and commercial outlets such as restaurants and bars that do not have the package are unable to get the game despite having signed up for PPV.
Oceanic vice president Norman Santos said that amounts to "about 1,000 customers" and "some commercial (accounts)." He said, "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."
But Santos said ESPN has so far "not agreed" to permit a simulcast. Santos and UH officials said Oceanic’s parent company, Time Warner, and UH associate athletic director John McNamara are continuing to press the issue "up the ladder" in hopes of getting a waiver.
An ESPN spokesman said he was not immediately able to comment.
"We’re trying to explain that this is a unique situation, that nobody else does what we’re doing here (with PPV)," UH athletic director Jim Donovan said.
Santos said Oceanic has begun sending letters to subscribers who could be impacted. He said they should have the letters by tomorrow with information about rebate options, including donating the money to UH.
UH and its partners could sustain an estimated $250,000 setback in lost PPV revenue as a result of ESPN picking up the game.