Technical Difficulties: Why Thousands of Ohioans Might Miss the Buckeyes' Opener Against Navy

By Kyle Rowland on July 18, 2014 at 8:33a
87 Comments

Nineteen cents. That’s the amount of money that will keep thousands of Ohio State fans from viewing the season opener against Navy Aug. 30. It has nothing to do with ticket prices. Instead, the argument centers on cable service providers and an obscure sports channel.

It costs 19 cents to carry CBS Sports Network, which will air the Ohio State-Navy game live from Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium. Time Warner, DirecTV, Dish Network and AT&T U-Verse all carry the channel on premium packages, but WideOpenWest and Buckeye CableSystem do not – and probably will not by game time.

As host, Navy holds the television rights. CBS wasn’t an option because of U.S. Open tennis coverage. With the boom in sports-specific channels and rise of TV rights deals, rarely does a Saturday go by without access to every FBS game. It hasn’t always been that way. But with the new norm, any difficulty in viewing a game raises the panic level.

WOW, available in Central and Northeast Ohio, hotbeds for Buckeye football, is considered one of the little guys in a multi-billion dollar industry. The Denver-based company was founded in 1999 and is the country’s 13th-largest cable provider. It’s routinely rated among the best in terms of customer service, but that could be changing in Ohio.

Complaints on Ohio State message boards have already appeared and the Columbus WOW office has received phone calls about the channel’s status. But director of programming Robin Feller said it’s an impossibility for the company to add CBS Sports Network before Aug. 30.

“We don’t have a contract to carry CBS Sports Network, so that’s why we can’t carry the channel,” Feller told Eleven Warriors. “It’s not possible to get it by Aug. 30. They’re wrapped up into a different contract that we just signed, and that was not part of our rights. At this time, unfortunately, we cannot get the rights to carry it.”

For WOW, decision-making is based on space and money. Cable networks and providers often play tug-of-war regarding subscriber fees. Big Ten Network and Longhorn Network are two sports-specific channels that have dealt with cable companies not wanting to charge subscribers a fee they felt was too high.

Nineteen cents is a minimal amount of money, especially when it’s compared to ESPN’s bloated $5.40 monthly subscriber fee. But pennies can be the difference in hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions.

“There’s a finite amount of space to carry every channel, and we cannot afford to carry every channel,” Feller said. “We do the best to get the best product mix on all the channel lineups in all the different markets. Right now, we’re out of channel space so we have to drop something to add something. It has to make sense financially for us.”

CBS Sports Network launched in 2002 as the National College Sports Network and later became CSTV, before being re-branded as CBS Sports Network in 2008. The channel now has more than 53 million subscribers and carries all Navy home games through 2017. Beginning in 2015, when Navy joins the American Athletic Conference as a football-only member, the Midshipmen’s entire season will be broadcast on national television, with home games appearing on CBS Sports Network and road games on ESPN (through 2019).  

The ESPN rights deal is worth $130 million to the AAC.

“There is no question that this situation constitutes a win-win for Navy. We’ve received wonderful exposure for our package of home games through CBS and to now have our schedule of away games elevated to ESPN is significant,” Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said last fall. “It is a very positive step for Navy and our fans to know that all football games will be on national television.”

If only they were available in every corner of Ohio. Buckeye CableSystem, available in Toledo and Sandusky, said there are ongoing conversations about adding CBS Sports Network before Aug. 30. It’s not always that easy, though.

Brad Mefferd, President and GM of Buckeye Cable, said it’s possible to get the channel, but it will take negotiating. He pointed out the difficulties cable operators experience in balancing content, prices and giving subscribers what they want.

“The beauty of cable,” Mefferd said, “is it has something for everyone.”

As for CBS Sports Network allowing Buckeye Cable subscribers access to the channel for one day, Mefferd believes that’s a pipe dream. So it could be no Buckeyes on Buckeye Cable.  

Time Warner, the dominant cable provider in Central Ohio, makes CBS Sports Network available to its customers through its Digital Basic package. In Ohio, nearly 80 percent of Time Warner subscribers have access to CBS Sports Network, according to Time Warner spokesman Mike Hogan.

“Most of our customers will get the Navy-Ohio State game,” he said. “At this time, there are no known plans to open this game to customers who subscribe to lesser packages. Customers are welcome to contact us if they are interested in packages that carry the CBS Sports Network.”

The same is true for DirecTV, Dish Network and AT&T U-Verse. Premium packages equal CBS Sports Network. Overflow crowds at Eddie George’s Grille 27 and Buffalo Wild Wings at the corner of Lane and High are the norm on game days. But they expect even more inquiries because of the road opener combined with the channel issues.

There is one place in Columbus that comes fully equipped with CBS Sports Network: Ohio State’s dorms. Quick, call up your neighbor’s kid. 

87 Comments

Comments

apack614's picture

There is no way that wont get worked out by game day, but if it doesn't, would it by some chance be on BTN? And I dont mean to brag but thank god I will be at the game!!!

Late Edit: It isnt too late for tickets they go pretty cheap at seatgeek.com!!!!!!!!! Check em out

"If we worked half as hard as our band, we'd be champions." - Woody Hayes

+2 HS
kholmes's picture

BTN has no rights for away games so that wont happen.

+2 HS
apack614's picture

Yeah, I wasn't sure how that worked thanks for the info!

"If we worked half as hard as our band, we'd be champions." - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

 JUST GIVE ME MY CABLE CHANNEL!!!

"You'll find out that nothing that comes easy is worth a dime. As a matter of fact, I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face." -- Wayne Woodrow Hayes

Oyster's picture

Looks like I'll be going over to Hove's for the game.  I hope he cleans up before hand though, the last time it was somewhat cluttered.

+8 HS
Hovenaut's picture

Just bring some beverages...there's a fridge in there somewhere.

(I'll get the boy to tidy up by kickoff)

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

+16 HS
RBuck's picture

Just call Mike and Frank.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

+4 HS
bethmowins's picture

Great, I have WOW and live in the Cleveland area. Guess I'll be heading out somewhere that does carry it.

Oyster's picture

Don't you work that day?

+17 HS
bethmowins's picture

Fun fact: I broadcast from home

+7 HS
Oyster's picture

That explains why you keep messing up names then, your wife is distracting you while you work!

+3 HS
BoFuquel's picture

Welcome to the 1960's, you can still watch it on the radio. That's how I do most away games anywho. I won't watch anything on a Disney channel. I don't like SECBS, or NDBC. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

+5 HS
741's picture

And this is why everything should be available to be purchased over the internet as a pay per view event over the top of these cable providers (or by direct subscription if one is so inclined).

swainpm's picture

741 if that were to happen we would all be paying much more for fewer channels. Every channel would attempt to maximize their revenue and in the end it would be a bad thing. Unless of course you just watch one or two channels and never surf, in which case you are a minority.

+3 HS
spqr2008's picture

That's exactly what I do.  I'd love to be able to have pay per view on most things.

741's picture

Your point being?

I don't watch 98% of the channels I am currently paying for, and I don't even watch all of the content of the handful of channels I do actually use. I'd be happy to subscribe to just the stuff I want to watch, commercial free and I guarantee I would spend less than the $100 a month give or take I am paying now (not including high speed internet access).

ToetotheFace's picture

There are actually really easy ways to get anything on the internet via stream, sure the biggest of those websites are very seedy but with virus protection(though I doubt they would need it) and adblocker there is no danger at all.

BeijingBucks's picture

it's hit n miss... trust me

 

 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

Byaaaahhh's picture

Viewing party at the Premium Lounge, anybody?

+9 HS
brandonbauer87's picture

Dibs on the seat next to the fridge. 

+2 HS
Hovenaut's picture

I might consider that.

(Re: my previous post)
 

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

doofenshmirtz's picture

So effectively, I can't watch a sporting event between two teams from institutions that I pay taxes to support. 

Yes, I do know that OSU's athletic department is fully self-supported, but still this just kind of rubs me the wrong way, ya know?

BroJim's picture

Ugh, this bureaucracy is ridiculous. 

I season my simple food with hunger

Shayla39's picture

Buckeyecablevison in Toledo does NOT even carry the NBC affiliate in Toledo and they are very expense!  This is outrageous.

+1 HS
20sider's picture

They do now. But, yeah so much for watching the Olympics last winter.

GO BUCKS!

+1 HS
ULuvLucy's picture

Don't tempt me to drive to Baltimore from Columbus just to watch the game, CBS Sports Network. I have a place to stay nearby and I will use it if I have to! XD

BrutusBlock O

+1 HS
buckeyedude's picture

I have Time Warner, so can watch the game at my place Lucy. Toledo's only 2 hours up US 23, and i wont have any cheap beer in my fridge.

 

 

Bucksfan's picture

Why isn't the game on regular CBS?  There aren't any other college football games scheduled.  Golf usually comes on at 3.  I don't get it.

Kyle Rowland's picture

Third paragraph. 

As host, Navy holds the television rights. CBS wasn’t an option because of U.S. Open tennis coverage.

Bucksfan's picture

English eludes me at times.

+7 HS
DaveStephens's picture

She's a tough one to get a handle on.  I feel your pain.

The Dude abides.

+1 HS
SWAGGERNAUTICAL's picture

i feel like the title "A LOOMING BLACKOUT" should also be the title used in a story on my life

+6 HS
Byaaaahhh's picture

I swear, if Bill Cowher barges into my house to tell my why I should switch to DirecTV so I don't miss this game...

+5 HS
Oyster's picture

Do you have the stones to tell him no when he does?

+2 HS
OSU_1992_UFM's picture

Is he not with TWC now?

UFM_Renewal

+2 HS
Oyster's picture

Beats me.  It's summertime, I'm outside warming my bones from this past winter.

+1 HS
cronimi's picture

Yeah, Cowher shills for TWC now.

+2 HS
OfficerRabbit's picture

What is Cowher doing on The Weather Channel? Is that massive chin a mobile doppler radar?

 

 

+4 HS
Byaaaahhh's picture

Ahh you're right. Well either way...

+1 HS
hetuck's picture

I think CBS is missing a profit opportunity. Granted, there is a market for Russian women loudly grunting as they hit a ball over a net, but I'd wager more people would watch OSU-Navy. Flip the channels for three hours. 

As an alternative, could the CBS affiliates buy one-time rights? 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

HTSBuckeye's picture

just watch it on frontrowsports.com connect your computer to your big screen and enjoy

+1 HS
razrback16's picture

This is what I will likely have to do. I contacted CBS Sports to see if they will be streaming the game in HD as I was willing to buy a one month subscription to their site, but they couldn't give me an answer, so I'll probably just have to use an SD streaming site to watch the game and hook my laptop up to the living room TV. It kinda ticks me off that as much as I pay for WOW cable they can't set a pay-per-view contract up for people to pay to get CBS Sports Network for one friggin' thing. Most Buckeye fans are fanatics and would be willing to pay for it. I tried switching to a satellite company but I have too many trees in my neighborhood and can't get line of sight to the satellite. :(

ToetotheFace's picture

That is unfortunate, my street has a lot of trees as well but there was plenty of clear path for the satellite to receive the signal. I like it a lot, the picture is incredibly crisp, the pricing is better than the big provider(directv vs. TWC), and they give you premium channels free for 3 months + NFL sunday ticket 1 season free which is really nice. The only disadvantage(I've had both boxes and satellites), is it is more reactive to storms than the box. However in the area of OH that I live in, it happens so infrequently it doesn't really matter.

razrback16's picture

Ya I really wish we could get satellite here. The spotters for Dish Network came out and were clambering up on the roof and looking for anywhere possible that they could mount the dish and couldn't find a way. :( I'm stuck with Cable for now.

livinthedream's picture

Went there and got a screen that says "....we are NOT streaming ... at this time."

Would've posted a jpeg of it but I guess you can only post things that have a url.   Anyway, the link isa below.

http://www.frontrowsports.com/

FitzBuck's picture

Perfect excuse to spend the day at a bar.  Tilted kilt here I come.

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+11 HS
Oyster's picture

How did you find out where the Premium Lounge was located?

+4 HS
FitzBuck's picture

I'm not just a client...I'm a member.

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+1 HS
CC's picture

Lower Level in the middle - 1 please.

sharks's picture

That CBS channel is horrible. Navy reruns, lacrosse, and bull riding all day err day.

The postgame show is brought to you by... Christ, I can't find it. The hell with it...

+2 HS
AndyVance's picture

Don't slam bull riding, hatin' ass Sharks.

+3 HS
cal3713's picture

Sharks and bulls don't mix. Everybody thinks they're in charge.

+1 HS
@OSUDefender's picture

WOW gets worse every year.

steveoz49's picture

All of you awesome Buckeye fans are more than welcome to view the game at my house.  Only minor setback, I live in Wisconsin.  I'd be disgusted if a single fan could not watch the game.  That's just a crime in my opinion.  But hey, the offer's out there!

Oz

+2 HS
One Bad Buckeye's picture

It sucks having to play the proverbial game of hop scotch with the providers.  I loved AT&T but it seemed like "promotion" after "promotion" kept expiring and my monthly price kept jumping up and up.  I'm with TWC now, but their equipment and service is dismal compared to AT&T u-verse.  I would get rid of cable altogether if it weren't for the BTN.  

Any suggestions?

"I'm One Bad Buckeye, and I approve this message."

razrback16's picture

Get satellite if you can. I would, but too many trees around my house. :(
 

+1 HS
ToetotheFace's picture

IMO the best two service providers are U-verse and Directtv. Satellite is a bit crisper picture, but U-verse is more reliable if you live in a stormy area, the area where I live in OH it is so infrequent that it isn't a problem. TWC is overpriced, they lie with their presentation of charges, and their equipment isn't very good. They're only a good option if you have gotten the promotions at the other big providers or you need only internet.

Really what you have to do to keep the price down over time is move back and forth between them, or threaten it. It Is kinda a pain in the ass to do, but if you are willing to wait them out in phone conversations you will typically get your way. My friend recently got two updated boxes and an internet upgrade by doing that with U-verse.

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

DirecTV is the bee's knees.  Great quality and equipment.  Very rarely in central Illinois is the weather bad enough to kill the feed.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

+3 HS
RBuck's picture

Sounds like Paul Keels for me.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

THEOSUfan's picture

I have CBSSN with my Direct TV package.  You guys can watch the game with me in Amish Country, but warning: it gets pretty wild.  Stuff gets thrown around and don't bring your children or women due to the language that sometimes slips out.  Guns have accidentily been discharged.  Stuff has been broken. Hopefully, that will be enough to ensure that I will have the room to myself.  :)

I would love to listen to the radio broadcast and mute the TV (especially on Beth Mowins games), but the radio is about 7 seconds ahead of the TV.  Any ideas on how to get the radio and TV in sync?

+3 HS
Barnsey69's picture

Excuse to get out of the house, works for me.

I am a modern-art masterpiece.

Furious George 27's picture

I have AT&T-Uverse which means 30 AUG will mark the first and last time I will ever be on CBS Sports for longer than 5 seconds

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+1 HS
IH8UOFM's picture

Living in Michigan, I wonder if Comcast will have it. If so, you are all welcome to my come over and sit in my basement with the 60" HDTV and watch it (just make sure you destroy a small portion of the state as you leave)

And this leads me to another gripe. Last year IIRC we missed the first 5 minutes of the Iowa v.OSU because CBS wanted to interview Gary Pinkel after they beat an emaciated UGA team. George Carlin would have been proud of all the words I used to describe the SEC that day...

+5 HS
OfficerRabbit's picture

I live in Plymouth, where are you at? I'm showing channel 255 is the HD CBS Sports channel... no blackout for me.

 

 

IH8UOFM's picture

Waterford. Fingers crossed.

buckeyedude's picture

I feel sorry for u both.

 

 

+1 HS
OfficerRabbit's picture

Just pray with me that we stomp MSU this year. In years past, our fan bases could kind of join together in mutual disdain for UM. After last year, they're starting to get a little too uppity about there program and winning the B1G. Its amazing how delusional many of the UM fans still are, I don't want to start dealing with MSU fans on top of them.

 

 

+1 HS
razrback16's picture

No doubt, got some Michigan fans at work that came over to me this past week and were mentioning how they felt the same way about MSU's fanbase. Gettin' a little big for their briches considering their mediocre program history.

BUCKfutter's picture

i'm not going to crucify a cable company for not carrying cbs sports network. i am a huge fan of almost all sports and haven't watched it for more than 30 seconds at a time EVER. they couldn't have worse programming on there if they tried.  making a bad business decision by picking cbssn up based on 3.5 hours on one saturday isn't something we should expect a cable company to do. great, you make your customers happy for one buckeye game so we can watch our defense get cut blocked all game (hopefully no serious injuries) by a gimmicky, dangerous offense, but then end up having to raise rates and then, in turn, get killed by your customers again? cable companies do a lot of dumb stuff, but not carrying cbs sports network isn't one of them.

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

+3 HS
Buckeye in Illini country's picture

That is what bars are for.  I have it only because it comes along with the package that gets Fox Sports 1 and NBC Sports on DirecTV.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

collards's picture

another reason why I love my directtv. I miss very few buckeye games and I never miss the beloved Bengals.

Collards

Zimmy07's picture

I had to go to a bar to watch a Wisconsin game (the 20-17 one w/ Pryor) & I think the Youngstown St games weren't available but beyond those I think Direct TV's had every Ohio St. game there is since about 2008.

M Man's picture

Just admit it.  You are all going to be watching Appalachian State at Michigan that afternoon.

+6 HS
GoBucks713's picture
+1 HS
InTressITrust's picture

I am shocked Dave Brandon has not tried using this as a means to fight HDTVs

"I'm not going to lie. We're anxious to be a part of a matchup like that. It's two states that love the game of football." -Jim Tressel

+1 HS
Eph97's picture

ALL i want are the traditional networks, all the ESPN's, and BTN. I would gladly pay a fair fee for that, which for me is $20 a month. As long as I can watch all the OSU football games, I'm good. I don't watch any other TV  besides 3 shows. I get my GOT, Walking Dead, and  Mad Men fix through, ahem, "other" means. I know there must literally be millions of sports fans, mostly men, in the same boat as me. 

36buck's picture

Don't fret.  The jackasses at Armstrong cable  in the Y'town area still don't carry Btn!!! Unreal. 

chirobuck's picture

Yeah they are here in medina too.....talk about the most worthless cable company of all time, they are why I have direct tv

 
^ best post ever ^

BuckeyeChief's picture

This is why I left COX and went with Verizon, as COX does not carry the BTN.

Now, I am pretty good friends with a local station manager in the greater Hampton Roads market, and they had a siliar blackout situation with COX...I can say that we were corresponding on a regular basis about it, and it was pretty stressful for him as a manager. I remember getting an e-mail from him minutes after a deal was reached but before it was announced to the area.

 

"Clutch has no boundaries"

+1 HS
Buck Commander's picture

All providers should make that channel free to customers for that day.......free preview like they do some other channels you Don't get!

Every time I set my DVR to record Biggest Loser......It always records Wolverine Football Games!

BucksfanXC's picture

*Checks channel line-up* ...Shit

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

+2 HS
toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

Thanks for the story, Kyle. You just scooped the Toledo Blind, er Blade.

+1 HS
RedsBuckeyeBoy's picture

I felt a sense of panic when I read this. I never had a reason to check before, but thankfully I've got CBS Sports.

For anyone that unfortunately doesn't get it, gather right here on game day! All are welcome! The address is 1101 Russell St, Baltimore, MD 21230.

FROMTHE18's picture

If catching on TV fails, there are a bunch of free websites for streaming the games. So if they have internet access, they won't miss the opener. 

Leanenaud's picture

Good thing I got my ticket :)

Go1Bucks's picture

My neighbor has that channel on his service, by the time he figures out I cut into his service, the game will be done.  WIN for ME!

Go Bucks!