I recently sent a message to ESPN requesting an answer to the question burning in all of our minds. Why the hell can't local cable companies broadcast local college team games just because they're on ESPN3? It's a valid question. People without a provider who offers ESPN3 don't have access at all, and people who do would much rather watch their team on television than their PC. I also learned the the UK/ PSU game was suffering the same fate. Here's where we stand....
The initial message:
To whom it may concern,
Why can't our local teams be shown on local cable? The Louisville/ Butler game is available on ESPN3, which is a service provided by our cable provider, Insight. So why can't insight just show the game on a cable channel? Why must I be forced to watch a grainy/ choppy broadcast of my favorite basketball team? Why can't a local team be shown on a local channel? Why ESPN? WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYY?
Please tell me how this is helping ESPN, the University of Louisville, or the fans? Please let me know, because at this point ESPN seems to be doing me a disservice by limiting my ability to watch this game to a low quality, barely watchable, mind numbing form of torture. The folks over at insight informed me that they reached out to ESPN to try and move the game to a channel on our network so customers can view it live on television, but ESPN would not allow it. Why? Why won't you allow it?
Are you the Gods of all sporting creation? Are you so bent on pushing people to this web site that you won't allow local teams to be broadcast on local TV? I can appreciate the luxury of ESPN3 for people who live outside of the viewing area and can only see the games on ESPN3. They have no choice and probably love ESPN3 because they get to see games that they wouldn't otherwise. Also, if your'e going to put games on ESPN3, then you should put all games on ESPN3, even the ones on ESPNU.
You are having your cake and eating it too, you are alienating your fans and really making some of us mad. I realize that you could care less because, we few, are but a drop in the bucket to a company like ESPN; but, at some point the customer should matter. At some point the people who make you what you are should mean something. That should apply to all markets, small and large. That mantra should apply to all of your customers.
In summation, I see no reason on God's green earth why you would chose to force those of us living in the Louisville area to use ESPN3 for anything having to do with the University of Louisville. They are a small/ urban/ local school with a small passionate fan base that deserves better than this kind of Politburo control from ESPN.
Sincerely, Cardinal Fans everywhere
ESPN's response: (At first I got this "noreply" robo-message)
Thank you for contacting us. At this time, WatchESPN is only available to you if you are an ESPN TV subscriber of Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, or Verizon FIOS. Online registration through your TV service provider is required in order to access content on WatchESPN. Non-participating TV provider customers have access to ESPN3 programming at WatchESPN.com on a PC or Mac, as long as they subscribe to a participating high speed internet service provider. To view a list of participating TV/Video or Internet Service Providers, please visit this FAQ:
If you have successfully registered, and are still having problems accessing video on WatchESPN, please see the troubleshooting steps below:(then they explained how to trouble shoot any issues you may be having, Bullshit)
I submitted my original message again, this is the response I got:
Thank you for submitting feedback on the WatchESPN.com video player. Your comments will be shared with our WatchESPN.com development and product teams for consideration. For live assistance with this or any other issue, please call Customer Care at 1-888-549-3776 (ESPN) between 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. EST.
ESPN.com Customer Care
This seems to be from a real person, I think, so I sent Sean J. another message:
That's nice, but you didn't answer any of my questions. Specifically, why can't the local cable company show local teams on a local channel? I would like an answer to this question that isn't complete and total nonsense. Because as it stands, the only reason I can think of is that ESPN wants to get people to their web site. That's all well and good, but you're punishing those of us who (a) don't have ESPN3 through our provider, and (b) don't want to have to watch the game via some crappy, low quality steam on our computers. People buy big screen high definition TVs for a reason, most sports fans do it so they can see the amazing high definition sports that ESPN provides. We don't invest all that money in TVs and HD packages just to get stuck watching our favorite teams on a tiny PC with an image that isn't as good as regular cable, and stops and starts depending on how much bandwidth you have.
As I said in my previous message, you are doing the fans/ your customers a great disservice by relegating us to this low budget broadcast, AND not allowing the local cable companies to give us another option. I sincerely hope that this is not the way you treat your customers. I am a loyal subscriber of ESPN the magazine for nearly three years now and if this is the best response you can give me then I'm afraid you can go without my money from now on. I want a real answer, from someone there that wasn't from a form letter. If I don't receive one post haste, I fully intend to start a facebook/ twitter movement to boycott your magazine.
People would never cancel their cable subscriptions to ESPN because they need them to see sports. I understand that; but, there is enough grumbling out there about ESPNs (alleged) involvement in conference realignment, and things exactly like this, that my movement will gain ground. In fact, I'm willing to bet that I can cost you at least 30-40k subscriptions. At $26 a pop that's nearly a cool $100k. A mere drop in the bucket to ESPN; but, it would certainly make me feel better. I eagerly await your response to my questions about why the local cable company isn't allowed to broadcast a local college basketball game just because it's on ESPN3.
Thank you for your reply.
ESPN makes its programming decisions based on a number of factors, including viewership, as reflected by ratings and the interest from advertisers and affiliates, on a nationwide basis and is always investigating programming opportunities to better serve sports fans.
We appreciate your feedback. We’ll be sure to let our programming executives know that our viewers would like to see more local games on WatchESPN.com.
ESPN.com Customer Care
Ok, well,… if you’re really interested in better serving sports fans, then why on earth wouldn’t you allow a local sports team to be shown on television? This makes no sense to me what-so-ever. If the real interest of ESPN is to “better serve sports fans” then why are some “sports fans” not allowed to even see the game? Not every provider in our area carries ESPN3. Also, as I said in the previous message, the ESPN3 broadcast is a disservice to the fans because its quality is no where near the quality of a television broadcast. If a provider that already carries the ESPN family of networks, and ESPN3 is willing to provide coverage of a local college team to their fans,… then why wouldn’t ESPN allow them to do so? Preventing such a broadcast is not only a hindrance to those who don’t have access to ESPN3, it’s also a hindrance to those who have to watch the game in such a low quality manner. So again I ask you, why will ESPN not allow local coverage of this, or any other event for that matter, if their true interest is serving the fans?
Here is the email address if anyone wants to join me in this fight, if Cardinal and BBN both bombard them, will something get done? Probably not, but I'm sure they'll really enjoy having to busy themselves with all the responses. Get'em!!!