Viewing options limited for Bison-James Madison playoff gameFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - NDSU is expecting a sellout crowd as the Bison will welcome James Madison to town for the 2nd round of the FCS playoffs. While the expected 19,000 won't have to worry about seeing the game, a large percentage of people in Fargo won't be able to find the Bison on TV.
By: Dom Izzo, WDAY
NDSU is expecting a sellout crowd as the Bison will welcome James Madison to town for the 2nd round of the FCS playoffs. While the expected 19,000 won't have to worry about seeing the game, a large percentage of people in Fargo won't be able to find the Bison on TV.
That's because ESPN has decided to air all eight 2nd Round games on its internet channel ESPN3. The biggest question among fans is, “What is ESPN 3?”
Jeremy Jorgenson – NDSU Director of Broadcasting: “Everyone wants to know what channel ESPN3 is and my first answer is, "It's a broadband service. It has to come through your internet provider;" people just don't know what it is.”
Fargo's main internet provider is Cable One, who does not carry ESPN 3. I asked Cable One general Manager Scott Geston today about adding ESPN3 and was told, “We like to keep internet cost free, if we agree to pick it up have to add a certain fee to hundreds of thousands of customers.” Geston told me that CableOne has only received 3 phone calls out of 40,000 customers about the lack of ESPN 3 and said adding it before Saturday is “highly, highly doubtful.”
Fargo isn't alone in the dark, nearly the entire state of Montana does not have ESPN3, so that means viewers there won’t be able to see Montana or Montana State play Saturday.
The pleas to get the games on reached two state senators, who wrote to ESPN to change its mind about putting the games on the internet. The NCAA responded saying, "ESPN and the NCAA are discussing options to make the games viewable, but cannot guarantee anything beyond the ESPN3 coverage planned."
The NCAA told me something similar saying, “We are making an unprecedented commitment to the FCS playoffs with more coverage than ever, including ESPN3."
Not everyone will be shut out in the Red River Valley on Saturday. MidContinent cable does carry ESPN 3, but that's only available in West Fargo, Moorhead and some portions of South Fargo. Perhaps those households may swell with green and gold on game day.
I contacted ESPN about this story and they responded asking to hold on the story for now as they would likely have more answers tomorrow. We'll keep you posted.