Dick Durost, Maine Principals’ Association executive director, is still hopeful that the state Class A championship basketball games at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland will be televised, although Time Warner Cable and the civic center have not reached an agreement that will allow the games to be aired.
A Wednesday deadline between the two parties has passed.
The games would be broadcast by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, and Durost said he is optimistic because “MPBN has been talking to more than one entity.
“The ideal situation would have had MPBN work with Time Warner Cable because they had worked together before. But they have to look at other options now,” he said.
Durost said talks are ongoing and didn’t want to divulge the other parties at this time.
The state Class A finals will be held Saturday, March 1, with the girls game slated for a 4 p.m. start and the boys game at 7 p.m.
Durost said plans are in motion to stream the games live on the Internet if an agreement can’t be reached, but he indicated that the talks between MPBN and other parties were encouraging.
He said there isn’t a timetable for a deal to be reached “but, obviously, the sooner the better.”
The impasse between Time Warner Cable and the Cumberland County Civic Center involved the extension of a fiber optic connection and a fee.
Time Warner Cable stated that it was necessary to extend the existing fiber optic connection within the Civic Center to reach the press box as a result of the recent renovations at the facility, and the cable company wasn’t willing to pay an unexpected fee imposed by civic center officials, a fee it hadn’t been charged in the past.
Steven Crane, general manager of the civic center, explained that if Time Warner Cable wanted to televise the two games and then remove its equipment, it would have cost the cable company a $200 origination fee and labor.
But the network wanted to keep its equipment in the facility in order to televise other sporting events, so they were going to have to pay a yearly fee of $5,000, according to Crane.
Crane pointed out that under the agreement between the two parties before the renovations, the cable company paid them $10,000 per year and, in turn, the civic center would give them free tickets to events and provide them with advertising signage on their big scoreboard.
They would also be allowed to keep their equipment there and televise other sporting events like Portland Pirates American Hockey League games.