Television networks eye Hawaii
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By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Ferd Lewis
A season after the University of Hawai'i football team played a school-record seven national TV games, the Warriors might be quite visible again in 2008.
With a good start to the season, the Warriors have the potential to come close to the limelight they enjoyed in the 12-1 Sugar Bowl season. Pending agreement with ESPN, the Western Athletic Conference and UH could release their schedules this week and people involved in the process say UH will ultimately have at least four — and could end up with as many as seven — national or major regional appearances.
ESPN has expressed an interest in UH's game at Boise State in October and either — or both — of the Nov. 29 Washington State and Dec. 6 Cincinnati games at Aloha Stadium. In addition, ESPN is reserving a decision on UH's Oct. 4 game at Fresno State in case the Warriors are doing well. Last year ESPN picked up the UH-Fresno State game 10 days before its Nov. 10 kickoff.
Either or both of the Fresno and Boise games could be moved to Friday nights under terms of the conference's contract with ESPN.
Moreover, spokesmen for the University of Florida (Aug. 30) and Oregon State (Sept. 13) say they expect their home games with UH to be shown on one of their network partners.
The Southeastern Conference has agreements with CBS, ABC, ESPN and Fox and, along with the Aug. 30 UH opener at Florida, networks have the Clemson-Alabama, Kentucky-Louisville and Louisiana State-Appalachian State games to choose from.
The Pac-10 has agreements with ABC, ESPN and Fox, and has Ohio State-USC, Oklahoma-Washington and Arizona State-Nevada-Las Vegas on the same date as the UH-Oregon State game.
If UH wins a majority of its games and plays in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl, that game would also be shown by ESPN.
While the number of UH games that networks pick up will impact the school's local pay-per-view contract, associate athletic director John McNamara said, "We're used to being in this situation. This is an annual situation that we have to live with and find a way to work around it."
UH is currently in an exclusive negotiating window with TV rights holder KFVE and met yesterday with John Fink, the station's vice president and general manager,. As part of its negotiations, UH is asking the eventual rights holder to provide pay-per-view road games to season ticket holders at a reduced rate or free.
Reach Ferd Lewis at email@example.com.