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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

April 26, 2010 at 1:24 PM

A few notes from the press conference

Here are a few notes from the press conference today to announce the move of the UW-UCLA game to Thursday night. …
— Maybe the biggest news to emerge from this is that ESPN has promised UW that it will have at least a total of six “units” on ABC/ESPN this year. This gets kind of complicated to explain, but essentially one unit is a regional game on ABC or national on ESPN and two is a national game on ABC. UW has what could be five guaranteed already — USC, Nebraska and UCLA as the first two could be national games (anything going to 51 percent of the country or more is considered national). The UCLA game will go to a national audience but it’s on ESPN. So essentially, ESPN/ABC has to pick up at least one more UW game this season — more if it doesn’t make one or two of the games already on national instead of regional telecasts. Obviously, ABC/ESPN provides good national exposure, and getting at least six units also helps the pocketbook (the exact financial numbers are pretty hard to pin down at this early date).
— UW coach Steve Sarkisian said he likes the move for the exposure it will bring and also for splitting up one two-week break prior to a game for what are two mini-breaks before and after the UCLA game. UCLA also plays on Nov. 6 then has a bye the week after, so it all works out for the Bruins, as well. If UCLA hadn’t had that schedule in place, this wouldn’t have been able to get done.

— UW athletic director Scott Woodward stressed that the athletic department is aware playing a game on a weeknight will create some logisitical challenges for the university and fans, but that “it will all be worth it for the great amount of exposure we will be getting.”
— One of the main challenges will be transportation. Woodward said the AD is already in talks with some private charter companies to provide additional mass transit options. Metro is not really an option for the UW to contract any additional services since it’s a week day and already basically booked.
— Parking will also present some challenges, but Woodward said there also are the beginnings of plans in place there. The big hope is that as many fans as possible will take mass transit and will arrive early.
— The game will have the regular ESPN Thursday night crew of Craig James, Jesse Palmer, Chris Fowler and Erin Andrews, assuming she hasn’t decided by then to pursue a professional dance career.
— Agreeing to move the game will only help UW’s relationship with ESPN, and that won’t hurt when the time comes to decide on whether to bring GameDay here next season — the Nebraska game is an obvious target. But that won’t be decided until the week of the game and UW probably has to start out 2-0. As Sarkisian said “we’ve got to do our part.” GameDay has never originated from UW.
— This will be one of three Pac-10 games on ESPN on Thursday night this year — UCLA at Oregon and Arizona State at Arizona State.
— Woodward said that the Thursday night games help the conference’s overall ratings, and that will be key as the conference starts to negotiate its new TV contract following this season (though it wouldn’t take affect until 2012).
Dave Brown, the ESPN representative at the press conference, talked of how much publicity the network tends to do for the Thursday night games, such as promoing it throughout the NFL Monday Night game that week and on the various other ESPN shows throughout the week, and then post-game. Again, that’s the kind of exposure UW hasn’t had much of in recent years, and assuming the season is going well, could be really good national exposure that will all help Sarkisian’s rebuilding efforts.
— In other news, Woodward said that the Husky Stadium advisory committee will meet this week to begin plotting where to go forward now that it is known that there will be any specific public money in this session. He said that there will be some sort of public pronouncements on where things stand with the stadium sometime next month.
All for now.



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