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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 3:45 p.m., Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Hawai'i gives in, moves game

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

The University of Hawai'i has reluctantly agreed to move its its football game against Fresno State from Saturday night, Oct. 27, to Friday afternoon, Oct. 26, to accommodate the ESPN cable television network.

Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson told The Advertiser the decision was reached during a teleconference this morning.

UH coach June Jones and UH athletic director Hugh Yoshida insist that moving a Saturday night game to a less desirable day and time will cost the athletic department money, hurt attendance and inconvenience UH fans.

UH officials say a Saturday night game against the Warriors' top conference rival could net up to $650,000. Switching dates, UH officials say, could reduce that amount by up to $250,000.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. Hawai'i time, or 9 p.m. on the East Coast. The game is part of the ESPN's new Friday night series.

Yoshida had asked conference officials for a 7 p.m. kickoff if a move to Friday was unavoidable. But Benson said, "The Mainland audience is a prime-time audience, not a midnight audience."

In 1988, UH issued 38,745 tickets for a Thursday afternoon game against Arizona, well short of the number expected for a season-opening game.

Benson and WAC athletic directors pressured Yoshida to agree to the switch during a one-hour teleconference yesterday afternoon.

"ESPN looks at the University of Hawai'i as a valuable piece of the WAC, and with that comes the expectation that Hawai'i is going to provide some games," Benson said.