UMaine football playoff game to only be aired online

Posted Nov. 28, 2011, at 8:04 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 29, 2011, at 6:03 p.m.

If you want to watch Saturday’s second-round NCAA Football Championship Subdivision game between the University of Maine and Appalachian State from Boone, N.C., you may have to make your way to the UMaine Marketplace in the Memorial Union or access the game on your computer.

Joe Roberts, UMaine’s associate athletic director for external operations, said he received an email from the NCAA stating that “there aren’t any syndication rights available for Saturday’s game.

“It is only being aired on ESPN3 on the Internet,” explained Roberts. “We have access to it on campus so we should be able to take a feed at the Memorial Union like we did when they had the [playoff] selection show.”

It will be shown on large screens and the public is welcome to the free viewing. Game time is 2 p.m.

WABI-TV Channel 5 in Bangor, which airs several UMaine games annually, including football games, would have bid to obtain syndication rights to the game if it was an option, according to WABI program director Steve Hiltz.

WABI has aired numerous Maine playoff games in the past.

“This is new to me. I’ve never seen this [exclusivity] before. It’s very exclusive. This has caused a lot of unhappiness on our behalf. It’s a bummer,” said Hiltz.

In the past, WABI would either take a network feed and air it or would produce the game by sending its own personnel to do the play-by-play, color analysis and/or sideline reporting and then hiring a TV crew from that area.

He said it would usually cost the station in the vicinity of “$20,000-$25,000” to air the broadcast but they felt it was a worthwhile venture.

“I know some people are going to look to us to show the game and they’re going to be disappointed,” said Hiltz. “But it’s out of our hands.”

Calls to the NCAA were not returned.

Those interested in watching the game can visit espn.go.com or twmaine.com for more details or can call ESPN (888-549-ESPN) or Time Warner (877-596-5366).

Time Warner Cable customers who subscribe to a video package that contains ESPN can watch the Maine game on their computer. ESPN3 is also available to Time Warner Cable video customers who subscribe to a video package that contains ESPN (this includes Classic/Standard tiers and above), according to Andrew Russell, Time Warner’s manager of communications for New England. More information on how to access the game is available at http://www.timewarnercable.com/northeast/learn/programming/sports/

Those with other Internet services should check with those companies to determine whether ESPN3 is available.

Hiltz said he wasn’t sure if local restaurants or bars would be able to transfer the Internet feed to their TV screens.

“I’m assuming someone will find a way to do it,” he said.

Roberts suggested that those interested shouldn’t wait until “2:01 on Saturday afternoon” to try to access the game. They should look into it as soon as possible.

ESPN2 will again air the championship game on Jan. 7 but, according to the ESPN-ESPN2 television schedule, that will be the only FCS playoff game that will be shown on television.

The decision to put the games on ESPN3 exclusively has also upset other fans.

A Montana State football fan from Missoula, Mont., launched a Facebook petition to get ESPN to put the games on TV and, according to The Missoulian, the fan received more than 10,000 signatures in 36 hours.

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