Media Moves That Will Matter To Beaver Fans

There have been some moves made recently on media matters that will matter to Beaver fans, both by the Pac-12 Conference and Oregon St.

No More Made For ESPN Spectaculars

The Pac-12 announced this week a policy change that effectively eliminates the made for ESPN neutral site games that were "neutral" in quotes only that Oregon sports fans have experienced in recent seasons in Dallas, first with Oregon St.'s game against TCU, and then last season when Oregon visited Cowboy Stadium to take on LSU.

Per the Pac-12's release:

No member institution shall enter into an agreement to play a neutral-site football game (except in circumstances where such neutral-site game is the away leg of a home-and-home series) unless such agreement provides the Conference with the exclusive broadcast rights and digital rights in all media, and copyright to such neutral-site game.

The conference's retaining control of the television rights doesn't strictly mean no such games will happen, but they would have to be conference produced events, as the benefits won't exist for third party promoters such as Jerry Jones without television rights to resell. Instead, it will be the conference, and by implication of the conference's equal sharing of television revenue, all of the universities, that get the full benefit of their television rights.

Some such events will still occur, like this season's USC-Syracuse game at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey, because that is actually a Syracuse home game the Orangemen have chosen to move for alumni and recruit relations reasons, akin to what Washington St. does when it plays a game annually in Seattle.

And it won't interfere with some possibly neutral site games that come out of the Pac-12/Big 10 scheduling agreement, as such neutral site football games in midwest major markets will probably be paired with another similar game in a major west coast market.

But it will save some schools from themselves, as happened with the Dallas games, where the Beavers' and Ducks' opponents were within driving distance, while air fare from Oregon coupled with premium ticket prices made the games more expensive than a bowl trip for fans. Travel costs holds down attendance at most such events, at least for Pac-12 teams, putting them at a distinct disadvantage.

Penny wise, pound foolish commitments to such games that promised a payoff, but were false economy once costs and lost revenue from having a home game were subtracted are now even more undesirable, now that they also cost the conference network content.

Beaver Radio Moving To Clear Channel Stations

Oregon St. announced that with the start of baseball season, and come fall and winter for football and basketball, Beaver games will no longer be on KPAM 860 AM in the Portland market. After 5 years with the Pamplin Media Group stations, Oregon St. is returning to Clear Channel stations, with football and mens' basketball returning to KEX 1190 AM, which carried the Beavers for literally generations. Baseball will be covered starting this spring on KPOJ 620 AM, which will also serve as the "overflow" station for non-conference basketball that conflicts with football games.

The remainder of the basketball season, including any postseason the Beavers may qualify for, will still be aired on KPAM.

The move does not affect mid valley broadcasts, carried on KEJO 1240 AM, and Mike Parker will remain the voice of the Beavers. Other affiliate radio station coverage is also unaffected.

For fans in many areas of the valley, the change will be a good thing, as the KPAM signal does not reach many areas that are also outside the low-power coverage of KEJO, especially at night. As a result, substantial segments of western Oregon had no radio access to Beaver games over the air, which was a major problem, given the embarrassing number of basketball and even football games not televised in recent years. A problem the Pac-12 network will only resolve once carriage agreements are signed with the satellite and secondary cable carriers the majority of the Pac-12 footprint, and all other areas, depend on. (An issue not yet addressed by the conference.)

KEX has a much stronger, and more far-reaching signal, and initial tests indicate KPOJ's reach may even be better.

The news isn't so good for fans outside the area, however. KPAM streams their radio signal on the internet, allowing fans to listen to Parker's call on their computer or smart phone world-wide. KEX and KPOJ stream their signal as well, but they will NOT be streaming game broadcasts.

Those needing or desiring an audio stream will need to go to Oregon St.'s subscription Beaver Nation Online service at osubeavers.com. So while a stream will be available, it will only be available to those who can budget for a BNO subscription, a most unfortunate step backwards for the sake of extracting additional revenue.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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