Athletics Director Greg Byrne's weekly email discussing Wildcat Athletics
Sept. 12, 2012
THE WILDCATS ON TELEVISION
There is no question there is consternation among some UA fans regarding the broadcast of our games. They can’t get the games and want to know why not. They want to know when they’ll get it on their system. Those who have it want to know why it appears it may cost a bit more. Some of this is due to ongoing negotiations with various carriers (satellite giant DirecTV, chiefly), but some of this is because of our history of providing televised games.
The UA was somewhat of a pioneer out west in what’s called “institutional” television, largely because of its relative geographical isolation and the fact Tucson had a solid and interested TV market. In the early 1970s UA established a deal with local over-the-air Channel 11 (KZAZ-TV) to show delayed telecasts of football and basketball games. Considerable Wildcat fever was born. Over the years, numerous personalities helped bring UA games into living rooms, and eventually many or most were shown live. The partners and carriers changed over time, but the fact UA games were aired did not. People came to expect it.
There were bumps in the road. When we switched from over-the-air TV to a cable partner a decade ago, the roof caved in for fans who didn’t have cable TV. Soon that changed as cable/satellite service expanded to more and more homes.
The old days are gone. When the Pac-12 signed a major broadcast agreement with ESPN and FOX in May 2011 – and retained some of the inventory (games) for its own Pac-12 Network announced in July 2011 – the ability for schools to broker their own local or regional television deals ended. We no longer can arrange to produce games for television. (Even last year in-house partner IMG produced games to get UA on local over-the-air stations or basic cable partners.)
Not long after that, in November the league “aggregated” audio-visual and multi-media rights to bond together the website efforts of the 12 schools. This impacted live streaming of games by schools; they can’t. The digital end of Pac-12 Networks is still in its infancy but it will bring change, too.
What this new world means for the future depends in some cases on the eventual strength of the Pac-12 Network -- and just weeks after its launch is not a fair period to gauge. We want you to see Arizona teams compete on television and the new network will carry hundreds of our events in the next decade – those not selected for the league-partner broadcasts by ABC/ESPN and FOX/FX, or road games under other leagues’ TV deals. Stay tuned.
Even if you get Pac-12 Networks, again there are some issues as to which games will be shown in your area. Pac-12 Networks has seven channels – the national (P12N) and six regionals covering Arizona (P12A), the Bay Area (P12B), Utah and Colorado (Mountain – P12M), Los Angeles (P12L), Washington (P12W) and Oregon (P12O), to use the four-digit abbreviations. Most areas have high-definition versions of the same feed.
DISH just announced last week it would be carrying all seven channels. Until all carriers move in that direction most customers will have their area game or games. (Most of what you see on your Pac-12 channel is the “national” P12N feed, until the actual games are being played. If there are competing games, the network defaults to the regional game.)
Finally, we have had a number of fans say that we need to come to an agreement with the remaining large distributors right now. The Pac-12 is doing their best to negotiate a fair deal. The value of the deal is critical as we move forward to find ways for us to improve our facilities while trying to keep our season ticket prices as affordable as possible. The better value we have with the Pac-12 Network the better value we have in our pricing models.
If you are a DISH customer, make sure to confirm you have the appropriate subscription package to ensure you’re able to watch our games. It varies by market. And if you’re a DirecTV customer, please join other Pac-12 fans in a Twitter rally tomorrow at 10 a.m. Send a tweet to @DirecTV or give them a call at 1-888-777-2454 and let them know #IWantPac12Networks.
FOOTBALL OFF TO A GREAT START
How fun was this past Saturday’s football game against Oklahoma State? The atmosphere inside Arizona Stadium was electric all night long as the team put 59 points against (what was then) the No. 16 team in the nation. Thank you to all to all of those who were in attendance and helped provide a home field advantage. Now the team is ranked in the Top 25 in both polls! I know there are some out there sitting on the fence and taking a wait-and-see approach with the program. I hope you like what you see so far and it inspires you to come out to some games and support these young men. Please watch the captivating videos below to get a feel for the sights and sounds (including parts of Coach Rodriguez’s pregame and postgame speeches) from this memorable night.
We have six home games remaining (five of those are Pac-12 games) and we need you there at each and every one of them, starting with this Saturday night vs. South Carolina State. Single-game tickets are still available and we’ve recently adjusted our mini-plans. Three-game mini-plans are now on sale. We’ll see you there Saturday night. Kick off is at 7:30 p.m. and the Wildcat Walk starts at 5:30 p.m.
The benchmark for superiority in grade point average for students is 4.0 at our institution. But hitting the 3.0 level for a student-athlete is superb, considering the balancing act of time commitments. We’re proud to note that for the summer session, the overall student-athlete GPA was 3.12. That’s the best we’ve seen in a number of years.
In all this summer, more than 230 athletes (of 323 in school) had a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, with 115 of them recording perfects marks for their classes. Fifteen of our sports programs had combined 3.0 or better averages for the semester – with particular note for men’s tennis (3.625) on the men’s side and the soccer team’s 3.598 for the women.
What this all means is that our student-athletes are taking their work seriously. We know they take their competitive tasks to heart but it’s more than reassuring for them to be scholastically engaged. I know our academics staff works hard to encourage that focus, and the progress is as good as a team making the postseason. We trust the Wildcats will keep on bearing down in the classrooms.
And, speaking of performance, hats off to a group of student-athletes among all of those for their coursework during the summer. The staff named four of them Student-Athletes of the Month for summer – Frank Chen and Kieren Thompson of men’s tennis, and Julia Glanz and Jazmin Ponce of soccer. Effort, improvement, performance and character all are cited by the academic staff in voting for the periodic honors. Congratulations to these students and all of our people who are working hard to graduate from the University of Arizona.
BRIGETTA BARRETT MAKES US PROUD, AGAIN
Last night, prior to their game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Arizona Diamondbacks held a special ceremony to honor those whose lives were lost on 9-11. Track and Field high jumper Brigetta Barrett had the honor to sing the anthem on this important day of reflection and remembrance. In front of thousands of fans in Chase Field, and on live television, Brigetta nailed it! You can watch her performance by clicking here.
Just another example of the “everyday excellence” we talk about with our student-athletes. Brigetta, a NCAA champion and Olympic silver medalist, is everything you’d want in a student-athlete representing the University of Arizona (and much more). Congratulations Brigetta!
REQUESTS ARE STILL BEING ACCEPTED FOR NEW SEATS IN 2013
I love how at each home game our fans can see the progress being made on the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility. Those that can’t make it to the games can view the construction webcam, which is on 24/7 (except during the games). There has been some confusion on the deadline to request seats in the north end zone lower-bowl and/or club seating at the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility. Current Wildcat Club members and/or football season ticket holders have until the end of this month, September 30th, to submit a request. Those that submit requests will then get a time period to place a deposit and select 2013 seats. More information is available in the “New for 2013” section of ArizonaFootball.org. To submit a request please click here or call 520-626-2404.
KEEP ON SPREADING THE WORD
We don’t mean to be self-serving, but have to report that more than 133,000 of you out there receive this weekly missive via email. That’s outstanding, notably since it’s user-opted – you signed up. We can’t give you all the information you need to follow the Wildcats in these messages, and we have our other websites and social media landing zones to help, but it can be helpful to point out highlights and tips regularly. Thanks for your part in this Wildcat Movement venture, and while we’re at it why not grow Wildcat Wednesday to 200,000 soon…
PHOENIX CAT CRUISER
We’ve received a lot of positive feedback on the Cat Cruiser program which is available to all fans from the Valley. This is a great option for those Phoenix-area fans that don’t want to drive to Tucson and back on football game days. The per game cost for a round-trip is $30 per person. Space is limited. Click here for more information or to reserve a spot on the bus for future home games. #PhoenixIsWildcatCountry
We have made great strides with our BEAR DOWN WITH PRIDE initiative in the last few years and I thank you for your help with that. Since we are early in the new sports season I want to encourage everyone to show our out of town guests the wonderful people that we are at the UA and make sure you welcome them when we see our opponents colors at our games.
BACK TO SCHOOL WITH THE CATS
On Monday, five student-athletes representing various teams visited the students of Prince Elementary School. In light of the beginning of the new school year, they decided it was important to impart some words of wisdom and encouragement on younger generations of students. The group mingled with the elementary schoolers while they ate breakfast and also talked to them about starting the school year off on the right foot. UA student-athletes will continue to give back in the coming months by participating in regular community projects including visits to schools and hospitals as well as participating with various non-profit organizations.
A-CLUB LETTERWINNER UPDATE
We would like to congratulate the 18 Arizona football letterwinners who have made an NFL roster this season and the 6 Wildcat letterwinners who are coaching in the NFL. These gentlemen “kicked off” their season this past weekend and have worked hard to achieve their goals. We are proud to watch them represent the University of Arizona every week and we wish them the best of luck this season. For a complete list of all our NFL Arizona Letterwinners please click on www.wildcatclub.org/awards-recognition/recognition/ ... Bear Down!
WILMA VS. SPARTY
Wilma is in the middle of a close race this week and needs your help to propel her past Sparty from Michigan State. There are three ways to vote:
3) Use the hashtag #CapitalOneWilma in a tweet (one vote per account)
COLORING NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA
Below, Kevin Mortenson and his son Barrett in Alberta, Canada, while below members of an Eller College business management ethics class joined for a pose closer to the other end of the hemisphere near Iguazu Falls in Argentina. The red and blue have some real world-wide profile. Wear them with pride.
Continue to do what you can to help Arizona Athletics and: