Friday, March 21, 2003

Satellite viewers at CBS' mercy



By Ryan Ernst
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Tristate college basketball fans hoping to watch the University of Cincinnati's opening-round NCAA Tournament game Thursday on a satellite system instead were greeted by Holy Cross vs. Marquette.

And unless those same fans are willing to shell out $49 for a college basketball television package, they could be disappointed again when looking for today's Xavier and Kentucky games.

When the NCAA Tournament switched to ESPN to make room on CBS airwaves for Iraq war coverage, satellite companies the Dish Network and DirecTV were forced to provide only the nationally fed game. Unless local satellite owners subscribed to the ESPN Full Court package, they could not view the Bearcats' 74-69 loss.

Time-Warner, the major cable company for the Cincinnati area, provided viewers the UC game as part of regional coverage on ESPN. The company also will broadcast today's Kentucky game at 12:30 p.m. and Xavier's game at 7:30 p.m.

Satellite companies, though, once again will be at the mercy of CBS for their main games via the national feed. Satellite owners wishing to view UK or XU might be out of luck without ESPN Full Court.

"It's a game-by-game basis," said Michael Berger of WKRC-TV, the Tristate's CBS affiliate. "We won't even know what game we're going to get until literally one minute before the game."

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E-mail rernst@enquirer.com




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XAVIER
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Satellite viewers at CBS' mercy
Three upsets and four that were close
East: Midgley shoots, California advances
Midwest: Tulsa upends Dayton; Wisconsin moves on
South: Okafor, UConn bounce BYU
West: Superior 'Zona handles exhausted Catamounts
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