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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Opener only UH game set for ESPN

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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ESPN's apparent decision to carry just one University of Hawai'i football game this season could be a boon for lagging local pay-per-view sales.

ESPN and the Western Athletic Conference announced their TV package yesterday and, barring late season additions, UH could have its fewest regular-season appearances since 2006.

So far, only UH's Thursday, Sept. 2 season opener with Southern California at Aloha Stadium is scheduled to be shown on the network.

That could leave as many as 12 games for the school's pay-per-view package with Oceanic Time Warner. "The more games for pay per view, the better," said John McNamara, UH associate athletic director.

Last year sales of the pay-per-view package, which is largely made up of football games, dropped approximately 16 percent from the $4.1 million in sales in 2008, according to UH.

Because of a restructured payment schedule, UH's share of the revenues dropped approximately 4 percent to about $2.5 million. UH's partners, Oceanic and KFVE, share in the revenue.

UH has averaged three regular-season ESPN appearances per season since 2002 and had a high of five in 2007. It had one in 2006, plus the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl.

"I think if we play well we may get additional games," said athletic director Jim Donovan.

UH's Nov. 6 game at Boise State and Dec. 4 home finale with Nevada-Las Vegas were said to have previously been under consideration.

Defending WAC champion Boise State already has six games scheduled for ESPN.

Under the terms of its contract with the WAC, ESPN is obligated to show at least 10 games involving WAC members on its primary outlets, ESPN and ESPN2. It announced nine yesterday plus the Boise State-Virginia Tech game, which does not fall under the WAC contract.

"We have to be mindful of the window for ESPN to add late games," McNamara said. The network may also add six games on ESPNU, half with 12 days' notice.