The biggest Big 12 game of the year to date aired on ESPN+ last weekend and the broadcast had its issues with all kinds of technical problems.
Since the debacle, ESPN issued an apology for the problems, saying: “During Saturday’s Kansas State at Oklahoma State game, our production encountered issues that affected the viewing experience of our fans during brief portions of the game. We apologize for the problems. The issues were offsite routing and transmission issues, as well as lightning in the Stillwater area, and were not related to our Big 12 Now on ESPN+ platform. We are working to ensure these isolated issues do not happen again.”
The Big 12 Now contract between ESPN and the conference says that for non-revenue sports, the schools would produce the broadcast, but that for revenue sports would be handled by ESPN personnel.
However, according to Berry Tramel at The Oklahoman, a “Big 12 source said that ESPN didn’t seem to have nearly as much personnel at Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday night as typical for a televised game. So it’s quite possible that ESPN cut corners and it backfired.”
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has said that ESPN Plus’s football broadcasts are finished for this season.
When this deal was announced at Big 12 Media Days, ESPN knew it was taking a gamble, but believed it was the way of the future. However, ESPN better hold up its end of the bargain, especially with several basketball games set to be aired on ESPN+ this fall, including eight Kansas games. Messing with KU hoops? That sounds like a bad idea for ESPN. Time to clean this product up.
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