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Sidelines
Kalani Simpson

Sunday, July 17, 2005





Reality of pay-per-view
TV hits home

Jerry: Oh, you're crazy.
Kramer: Am I? Or am I so sane that you just blew your mind?
Jerry: It's impossible.
Kramer: Is it? Or is it so possible your head is spinning like a top?
Jerry: It can't be!
Kramer: Can't it? Or is your entire world just crashing down all around you?

-- Seinfeld

I look at the chart in front of me, and yet somehow it still isn't quite sinking in. This isn't possible. It can't be. My entire world is crashing down all around me.

This can't be happening.

They said it was coming, but it didn't sink in then. Maybe it hasn't yet. But it's starting to, slowly.

And our world will never be the same again.

No more free lunch.

Now it's "packages." Pay-per-view.

It will never be the same again.

We once lived in a paradise, my friends. A sports paradise. It was beautiful. All those games from your favorite team on all the time. And free.

Freeeeeeeee.

But it turns out that was just a fantasy world. Now here we are, forced to face reality.

Sports fans don't do well with reality.

Of course, if you take a sober, realistic look at it, this pay-per-view plan isn't so bad. And it's actually a smart course of action -- picking volleyball and basketball road matchups that you either wouldn't be able to see otherwise or home tilts that might actually be fun in a sports-bar atmosphere. Taking those Rainbow home games off TV might actually make more people go see them at the arena.

But sports fans don't do well with sober, realistic looks.

Unfortunately, reality finally caught up to us.

The golden goose started charging $20 an egg.

"These pay-per-view telecasts, combined with the 100-plus free telecasts on KFVE, will offer fans throughout the state of Hawaii with some quality entertainment and provide UH with some much-needed revenue and considerable exposure," Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier said.

Sure. Throw that in our faces.

Of course it makes sense.

Of course it was inevitable.

Of course, this is the way the world works these days.

Of course, when you stop and really study it, this isn't nearly as bad as it first looks. (The fact that they will replay the road games that night for free, for example.)

You could easily argue that it's reasonable.

But that doesn't change the fact that it's still a blow. It's still a shock to the system. (It's still about money.)

It's still going to turn some people's worlds upside down.

The game will be on KFVE. At this point, that's ingrained stuff.

(Wow, showing the games for free for 20 years in order to hook people before charging "junkie" fees? Diabolical!)

So now we'll see what happens. Will people pay? Will they go back to attending the games in person, instead? Neither?

But this pricing chart does tell us one thing: It will never be the same again. We've been kicked out of Eden. These trends tend to go one way.

Maybe that's the toughest thing about this. No, the plan isn't so bad, but it's a loss of innocence. It's the shattering of a world that was cozy and warm for 20 years.

We were lucky. We were privileged. We had what others all around the country hadn't even dreamed of. But then reality came knocking, and now here we are.

Paradise lost.


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Kalani Simpson can be reached at ksimpson@starbulletin.com



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