Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Another Steve Pederson SNAFU

Did you enjoy watching the Nebraska-Kansas baseball game on Saturday? Unless you went to the game or were a subscriber to Cox Cable in Omaha, you didn't see the game. After 25 years, Nebraska denied Nebraska Educational Telecommunications the rights to televise Husker baseball, electing instead to sell the rights to Cox. For the first game, only Cox (approximately 2/3'rds of the Omaha area) and Time-Warner (Lincoln, Columbus, Fremont) customers were able to see the game. Cox's technical problems with their first broadcast meant that Lincoln customers saw nothing (getting the game that evening on tape delay) while Omaha viewers saw half the game in split-screen as the vertical hold was malfunctioning.

So the first Husker baseball broadcast had a few technical glitches. Steve Pederson yesterday repeated to Tom Shatel that moving Husker baseball to Cox was intended to improve one thing:

"Recruiting," Pederson said. "The wave of the future for sporting events is cable TV. We want to find out what is out there with cable TV. NETV is fabulous. They're great to work with.

"But the fact is, we have to recruit nationally, in all sports. And getting our product on cable is a way for recruits to see it. This might allow us to be on CSTV (College Sports TV), or the sports cable network in Kansas City, Texas or Colorado, where Mike (Anderson) recruits a lot. We don't know what's out there. This is about finding out."

So, the switch didn't go smoothly for the first game. What does?

The problem is that, once again, the Nebraska Athletic Director is not being completely accurate. I'm not disputing that Pederson wants to get Nebraska baseball coverage expanded beyond the reach of the NET signal. The fact is, the decision to pull Husker baseball from NET has caused the exact opposite effect.

NET and CSTV have a long running cooperative relationship, broadcasting Husker volleyball and baseball, plus UNO Maverick hockey. And now that NET has lost the rights to Husker baseball, the NET/CSTV partnership will now be televising Creighton baseball. Oops!

So why was this change made? Pederson denied to Shatel that this was attempt to influence NET, as I commented earlier this month. Perhaps so. But why Cox? Why not FSN? My guess is that, like the football coaching search, Steve Pederson was caught unprepared and unable to find an alternative. In this case, Cox was all they could find to carry the games.

I don't know if anything else can be salvaged for this season. My guess is that Nebraska will try this again next season. My suggestion is to sit down again with NET and CSTV, and work on an agreement to distribute Husker baseball regionally. Maybe figure out a way that MetroSports in Kansas City and Altitude in Denver can carry the games in those markets.

No comments: