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$9.95 To Watch Kentucky Play Tennessee Online?

Saturday, March 1, 2008 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 11:35 PM, under , ,

Athens, GA (Mar 1, 2008) - The University of Kentucky press release, written with such biased sincerity in favor of the Wildcats and the SEC, is almost as laughable as the premise it is peddling for the CBS Sports College Sports Network (formerly known as CSTV):

CSTV and CBS Sports will supplement broadcast television coverage by offering a live online stream of select NCAA men’s basketball broadcasts on a pay-per-view basis. This week’s game highlights a premier matchup of the top two teams in the SEC East division. The Kentucky Wildcats (16-10) visit the top-ranked team in nation, the Tennessee Volunteers (25-3), on Sunday, March 2. Tip-off is at Noon ET.

The game, which will be available live online across the nation through’s Pay-Per-View service, will be broadcast live on CBS. Fans unable to access the national television broadcast can purchase the live stream online for $9.95 at

So let's follow this logic. The game is being nationally broadcast (no split coverage) at noon on Sunday (Kevin Harlan doing play by play, Bill Raftery doing color analysis, Craig Silver (pictured left) producing, and Andy Goldberg directing). There is no need to even have cable to watch the game. If you can't catch it live, you could always videotape it or Tivo/DVR it for free. But Kentucky is hyping the benefit of watching it Online for $9.95.

Read the press release carefully. "A premier matchup of the top two teams in the SEC East division." With the SEC as weak as it is, and the fact that Kentucky lost to Gardner Webb and UAB AT HOME, it is hard to read this line and keep a straight face. Add to this the fact the Tennessee is still only Number 1 ranked because the votes do not come until after the game is played. Is this type of advertising by way of a press release a payback for the fact that Kentucky is appearing on CBS seven times this season?

There are some cases for watching a pay-per-view game, such as a game being broadcast on the CBS Sports College Sports Network, you do not get the network in your satellite or TV package and you really want to see the game. But a game being broadcast over the air on national television? One can only think of PT Barnum's famous saying that there's a sucker born every minute.

This should also raise the question of CBS Sports moving more "premiere games" to the CBS Sports College Sports Network and push pay per view to viewers who cannot get the network. Is it about the fans or is it about the money? And will ESPN start to follow the same model?

Photograph Copyright 2007 by Christopher Byrne/Eye on Sports Media. All Rights Reserved.

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