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Editorials
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Sunday, July 14, 2002



UH’s pay-per-view
TV football contract
is a ‘run and shoot’


THE ISSUE

Local television will broadcast home games live and charge viewers a fee to watch the Warriors play. Like UH's offense, it's a risky but exciting proposition.


THE deal the University of Hawaii has cut with KHNL/KFVE to televise home football games live on a pay-per-view basis is a gamble in that the broadcasts could pare ticket sales as fans opt for watching the action from the comfort of their living rooms. It is a risk worth taking, though, because the exposure could widen support for university athletics.

UH officials are betting that the broadcasts will lure more people to Aloha Stadium and expand the university's reach for sports revenue, but the Warriors and wunder-coach June Jones had better not fumble because few will turn out or tune in for a losing team.

Although the three-year contract -- with options for two additional years -- trims UH's take from the present $1.3 million to $700,000 a year, the university also will receive 70 percent of the money generated from pay-per-view sales for as much as $1 million annually. The deal also includes free broadcasts of other UH sporting events, such as men's and women's basketball, baseball, volleyball, women's softball, soccer, a swim meet and a water polo match. Another benefit is the airing of a half-hour weekly program in which the university may showcase other enterprises.

Oahu fans will pay $12.95 per broadcast or $75 for all seven home games, a reasonable amount considering the prices for stadium seats top off at $185 for season tickets and $28 for individual tickets. With parking fees and food costs as well as the hassles of traffic and post-9/11 security searches, football fans may choose to catch the games live on television instead. However, UH officials hope that the broadcasts will encourage viewers to eventually make the trek to Halawa.

The only losers in the deal may be neighbor island fans, who previously watched the games live for free and who will now have to pay $5 per game or $25 for the season.

Few colleges and universities have agreements such as the one between UH and KHNL/KFVE, according to new athletics director Herman Frazier, who said many schools are envious of the deal. Coupled with three nationally televised games on ESPN, the university should enjoy fine exposure of its football program.

With the pay-per-view deal, the UH has a lot riding on coach Jones. His first year brought a huge turn-around for UH football, and although the team struggled in his second year, he emerged from his third season with a respectable 9-3 record. But if the Warriors stumble this fall, few viewers and advertisers will show UH the money.



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Published by Oahu Publications Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press.

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Frank Bridgewater, Editor 529-4791; fbridgewater@starbulletin.com
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Lucy Young-Oda, Assistant Editor 529-4762; lyoungoda@starbulletin.com

Mary Poole, Editorial Page Editor, 529-4790; mpoole@starbulletin.com
John Flanagan, Contributing Editor 294-3533; jflanagan@starbulletin.com

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