Cal Poly football was the only Big Sky Conference program left off a new television broadcast schedule, and the announcement isnt sitting well in San Luis Obispo.
Cal Poly athletic director Don Oberhelman said he was disappointed when a 12-game cable/satellite slate was announced Tuesday featuring appearances by all 12 other member schools.
I was hopeful that going into the Big Sky would allow us to have more regional exposure, said Oberhelman, whose football program joins the Big Sky for the first time in 2012, and it looks like thats not going to happen, at least this upcoming season.
ROOT SPORTS, a subsidiary of DirecTV Sports whose regional footprint covers the Pacific Northwest and the Mountain Time Zone, paid an undisclosed amount for the exclusive rights to one Big Sky game a week annually over the next five years.
It was the networks sole decision to select games, Big Sky assistant commissioner Jon Kasper said. The conference had no say.
This upcoming season, each ROOT game will feature either Montana or Montana State, the conferences two most successful programs from 2011 and its best supported in terms of attendance. But the network will also broadcast games live from Sacramento and Davis, as well as Cedar City, Utah.
San Luis Obispo, Portland, Ore., Pocatello, Idaho, and Flagstaff, Ariz., were the conferences only home sites not among the televised hosts. Cal Poly, the only Big Sky team to play neither the Grizzlies nor the Bobcats this season as part of a rotating conference schedule, was the only school left out completely.
That doesnt mean the Mustangs will be left off TV. Big Sky assistant commissioner Jon Kasper said the conferences remaining games are up for bid, and the Big Sky does not typically announce its full TV schedule until the summer.
Even though Cal Poly will not be on ROOT, which can be accessed by cable or satellite, the Mustangs will still share in the contract revenue and could have its games televised by other entities.
We want everyone to be on, Kasper said. Its not a slight. I know fans are going to be disappointed that Cal Polys not going to be on, but were still optimistic that we can get Cal Poly games on, and in the future, there will be ROOT games.
Everyone is going to benefit financially from the ROOT package, and that includes Cal Poly.
Said Oberhelman: For me, its not about the money. This should be about exposure for our university and our brand.
Locally, NBC affiliate KSBY aired four Cal Poly games in 2011. Three were broadcast live from Alex G. Spanos Stadium, the first since the stadiums renovation in 2006. The fourth was a feed from Montanas home network.
Though nothing has been finalized, Oberhelman said KSBY will get the first opportunity to air any number of the Mustangs five 2012 home games. KSBY could also air road games broadcast by other stations.
Big Sky games not televised by ROOT will be available to stream online for free after registering for an account at the conference website. The quality of the audio and video from the stream will vary depending on the host teams production.