Kentucky vs. Louisville Basketball Game For 2014 Relegated to ESPN2

Jeff Gross

The ESPN flagship has a conflict, so UK-UL gets bumped to little brother, by little brother's conference.

Comes now news that the Louisville-Kentucky basketball game next season has been relegated to ESPN2, rather than the flagship ESPN. Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal explains it thus:

Louisville will be in the ACC starting July 1. The ACC owns the broadcasting contract for Louisville's games. And the ACC has a rather lucrative deal with ESPN.

Therefore, the ACC had controlling rights for the Dec. 27 matchup between Louisville and UK, which will be played at the KFC Yum! Center. And, in having that control, ESPN programmed the game for ESPN2 because of college football bowl-game obligations on ESPN.

Originally, I thought that this might make a significant difference in the availability of the game throughout the nation, and I suppose if you are in some mid- to lower-budget hotel rooms at game time, you might have a problem. I know that a number of hotels offer cable with only one ESPN channel. I also know that some cable systems relegate some of the ESPN channels to advanced sports packages, but apparently, ESPN2 is not commonly one of them. As you can see here, the difference in household coverage between ESPN and ESPN2 is insignificant.

Having said that, what we see here is the power of college football. Even one of the biggest rivalry games of the year in basketball cannot move a college football game from it's predetermined channel. While that rankled Adam Himmelsbach a bit (and understandably so), but it appears to be just one of those things, and I guess if we really want to get partisan, we can point to the ACC as the cause for this "outrage." I never tire of finding things to blame on the ACC, or Louisville, for that matter.

So if you feel like complaining about this change, jump right on in with both feet. I also never tire of beating up on the Worldwide Leader.

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