North Texas and UAB will kick off tomorrow night at 6:30 in perhaps the marquee CUSA game of the season and chances are you’ll have to go some lengths to find it. For the third time this season North Texas is relegated to the beIN network.
This week that’s especially troubling because the Mean Green and Blazers could very well put on a show Saturday, a show that most cable, satellite, and streaming viewers won’t have access to. BeIN's reach is stifled by several crucial carrier losses, including DirectTV, Xfinity. Currently, Hulu, YouTube, PlayStation Vue, DirectTV Now, Xfinity, and Philo, don’t offer the network. You are confined to either Sling or FuboTV or one of several smaller cable/streaming networks. That’s a big ask when you already require an ESPN+ subscription for a healthy portion of the football slate and all but a tiny sliver of basketball games.
In August, beIN got into a pissing contest with DirectTV and to a lessor degree Xfinity, claiming the media giants wouldn’t bully the network but that’s exactly what DirectTV and Xfinity did. BeIN isn’t the first network DirectTV and Comcast have run through the ringer, just ask the Pac 12. The bigger issue is CUSA’s lack of control over where they place their games for broadcast, which is apparently slim and none.
A lot of fans balked at the $5 entry to watch CUSA sports, asking fans to pony up even more for marquee games is a remote click too far.
What is the league’s job, ultimately? Let’s take noble pursuits and set them aside, AD and school presidents want money. Secondary or perhaps alongside that pursuit is promotion. They want the league to promote the member institutions and by doing so, put members into a better place for future rights negotiations, or, dare we say, realignment movement.
A rising tide raises all boats and as CUSA grows, so do the members. By promoting your better teams, you're helping everyone. That’s how the SEC, ACC, Big 12, and Big 10 do business. The Pac 12? Eh, not so much. So, if two of the better teams in the SEC or even the Sun Belt were on a collision course in a key Mid-October matchup, you’d bet they’d figure out how to get that game in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Maybe even, I don’t know, for free.
There’s no guarantee that Saturday’s game is a classic, but if it is, that sound you’ll hear whizzing by your ear is a missed opportunity. It’s whizzing by regardless, but even more so if things get wacky in Birmingham as they are want to do.
So get out there and find beIN. Full disclosure, I’ll be using what some might call creative means to watch the game, I hope. Some might say illegal. You made me do it CUSA. You made me do it.