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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, November 29, 2001

CNN/SI cable might show MPSF playoffs

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

The CNN/Sports Illustrated cable network wants to televise the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men's volleyball playoffs next April.

If an agreement can be reached, the 2002 MPSF quarterfinals, semifinals and championship match will be played at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Last May, MPSF coaches voted 12-0 to approve a measure that would allow the University of Hawai'i to receive an automatic berth in the quarterfinals in exchange for serving as the host to the final three rounds of the playoffs.

Since then, MPSF officials said such an agreement must include a guarantee that the playoff matches will be televised regionally.

KFVE, which owns the local television rights to UH sports, contacted CNN/SI, which is looking to add more live sports programs. CNN/SI, which usually shows 24-hour news coverage, already has agreed to televise this year's UH-hosted Rainbow Classic basketball tournament.

KFVE president John Fink said CNN/SI would use the feed of the KFVE telecast.

UH athletic director Hugh Yoshida said part of the ticket revenue would pay the $20,000 cost of the satellite rental and uplink time.

If CNN/SI is brought aboard, UH coach Mike Wilton said, "it's a done deal. The coaches want it here. They realize Hawai'i has a great volleyball atmosphere and they know the importance of the gate receipts."

UH led the nation in home attendance last season.

CNN/SI is available in 20 million households across the country, including in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago.

The MPSF volleyball tournament and sport "need to get some exposure," Yoshida said. "They need people to appreciate the sport so it can grow. TV is one component that will add interest to the program."

Previously, only eight of the 12 MPSF volleyball teams qualified for the playoffs. Quarterfinal matches were played on a higher seed's court, with the highest remaining seed serving as the host to both the semifinals and final.

The MPSF voted to change the format, allowing all 12 member teams to qualify for the playoffs. If Hawai'i is not designated as the host for the final three rounds in 2002, the MPSF will use last season's eight-team playoff format.