Monday, October 15, 2007

Michigan fans with cable just can't win for losing

Being hostage to one of the cable companies (In my case, Charter, who's ineptitude I've railed about in the past) that refuse to carry the Big 10 Network, I've seen very little of the Michigan Wolverines this fall.

Now that we're deep into the Big 10 football season, I was anticipating being able to see the Wolverines on a regular basis. This coming Saturday night, for example, the maize and blue are part of the ESPN on ABC / ESPN2 prime time clusterfuck on ABC.

Whatever, at least I'll be able to watch the important Michigan - Illinois game. All is finally as it should be, with the Wolverines not being televised on the Mickey Mouse Big 10 Network.

Then I see the following blurb about the scheduling of 10/27 Michigan - Minnesota game.

The Big Ten office announced the time and television for the Oct. 27 Minnesota-Michigan matchup on Monday, and the Wolverines will be playing another late-afternoon game at Michigan Stadium.

The game will start at 3:30 p.m., the fourth such start in seven home games this season for Michigan. It will be telecast on ESPN Classic.

The bold is my emphasis. Why? Because I don't get ESPN Classic, that's God damn why!

I can't believe this, now the worldwide leader is shuffling Michigan off on to their channel of last resort? Fuck me.

I've bitched about this before, but let me refresh your memories. When Charter juggled the channel lineup to add ESPNU, showing their infinite lack of wisdom, they moved ESPN Classic off basic cable, and on to a digital tier. But not to the sports tier, which would have been logical and made total sense, and is a tier that I pay for.

No, Charter had to move ESPN Classic to another bullshit digital tier that has such highly watched networks like MTV3, the History Channel - International, the Reelz Channel, and VH1 Soul.

Jesus fucking Christ, I just want to watch the God damn Michigan game, is that too much to ask? I'd like to watch Big 10 football without having to pay for another cable TV tier I don't need, switch to a dish, go out to the bar and spend money I don't have, and not have to jump through numerous hoops to watch a fucking football game!

How much money is enough for the Big 10, the cable cartel, the NCAA, ESPN, ABC, and anyone else who has their God damn sticky fingers deep into my wallet, trying to pull as much cash out as possible, only to allow me to WATCH LESS FOOTBALL.

Screw every single last one of you SOB conglomerates.

I know I'm not alone in my feelings. Ian, of "Bless You Boys" blogging fame, posted a thoughtful comment about this situation in my Saturday post about the lousy quality of Michigan football's radio play-by-play. I want to post his comment on the front page, as Ian nails how I'm feeling about the Big 10, their television package, the cable companies, and the rest of big media.

Amen, Father Big Al. My sentiments exactly. I can't recall being less interested in Michigan football in a given season. And I feel like I have no choice in the matter. I can't believe how badly the Big Ten has stuck it to their fans.

Yes, I could sit and listen to the radio as you did. But virtually all I can think about is that I SHOULD BE ABLE TO WATCH THIS. So once it was apparent that Purdue wasn't going to put up a fight, I went to the movies. And when I came home, I watched SEC football - as I have virtually every Saturday this season - because that conference seems to care more about letting fans watching its signature games rather than try to hoard them onto its own cable network for a blatant money grab.

I know there are plenty of other Michigan fans who just find a sports bar that shows Big Ten Network and watch their team no matter what. I totally resent being put into such a position, and might hold onto this grudge for a long time.

Fuckin' A, Ian.

I find it hard to believe, despite the silly amount of money I pay my cable company, that I can't watch Michigan football.

When it comes to the team I want to see play every Saturday, it may just as well be 1975. I was only able to see Michigan a few times a season back in the 70's. In consolation, at least I got to hear the play-by-play of Bob Ufer, the best homer announcer ever, on the radio.

Back in the prehistoric days before cable, considering we all of 3 networks to choose from, and only 1 carried college football regularly, I could accept the Big 10's TV situation.

But in the 21st century? It's far from acceptable, it's just asinine.


  1. I don't want to see the Big 10 win this. I just want to see BTN go away. Your cable company may not be on your side, but I'm on its side in this one.

    I spoke with Big10 commish Jim Delany and he pretty much lied to my, er, ear, and I knew it. I came off really disliking him from about a 5 minute telephone call where he assured me that the big 10 would have just as many games on ESPN and ABC and ESPN+ as always, it was just adding a few more games to the BTN. Didn't buy it then and now we know it's not true.

    Right now, it's not a big deal for me, as MSU football was never televised all that often in the first place, so I'm used to listening to games on the radio. Heck, I think there was a game or two I couldn't get on TV while living in East Lansing!

    Of course should Michigan keep winning, it will compel ABC to pick it as the Big 10 game of the week, rather than say, Wisconsin-Penn State or something.

    But I assure you, in about two or three months when I'm losing Sparty basketball to BTN, I shall share your pain.

    Conclusion: Down with the Big 10!

  2. I know as a Michigan fan, I'd become spoiled, as for good 15 years, EVERY Wolverines football game was on either a national or regional feed. Sparty is missing out too, as there has been a couple of games that would otherwise have been televised on one of the 4 letter's networks for sure. At the very least, on the syndicated ESPN Gameplan. MAC schools must be loving the increased exposure, as they are the teams of choice on those noon Saturday Gameplan broadcasts.

    Jim Delany does only one thing well, and that is make a ton for money for the Big 10 schools. The B10N is his first real financial misstep. The school presidents will give him plenty of rope in hopes of somehow ending this stalemate.

    Unfortunately, I don't see things improving anytime soon. Both sides have dug in their heels for the long term, and spewing biased propaganda.

    Shit's going to hit the fan in the winter, when no one can watch college hoop. Lord help the Big 10 when those crazy Hoosiers can't get their basketball fix.

  3. When we moved into our house and discovered we couldn't get satellite reception, we debated for a while whether or not to get cable TV so we could watch football and such.

    The Big Ten Network convinced us it wasn't worth it.

    Every time I see the cable commercial where some smug lady talks about how Michigan customers are switching over because of "rain, wind, snow, cloud cover, and even trees," I want to inquire of her, in an eminently reasonable fashion, exactly how many of these new customers might be sports fans -- being as how sports fans are about as common in Michigan as rain, wind, et cetera.

    And then I want to punch her, but that's a personal issue.