Gonzaga, KHQ, FOX Sports Announce TV Deal
May 26, 2004
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University athletics director Mike Roth on Wednesday announced the most comprehensive men's basketball television schedule in school history, assuring all Bulldog men's basketball games both home and away will be televised for at least the next four seasons.
In a unique partnership involving Seattle-based Fox Sports Net and Spokane's KHQ-TV, all regular-season games not televised by another entity will be televised in the Pacific Northwest through the agreement with FSN and KHQ. The agreement is for four years, with two 2-year renewals available that could extend the pact to eight years.
"This is one of the best college basketball television packages in the country," Roth said at a press conference. "We are very happy to continue our association with Lon Lee and KHQ-TV, and we're excited about expanding our affiliation with Mark Shuken and Fox Sports Net."
KHQ's 3-year television agreement with Gonzaga expired at the end of the recently-concluded season, an agreement which brought nine games this past season into Spokane-area homes that otherwise would not have been televised. Fox Sports Net has been a television partner with Gonzaga and the West Coast Conference for more than a decade, dating back to FSN's infancy as Prime Sports Northwest.
"I am excited about our partners," said Lee, president of KHQ-TV. "We are extremely pleased to continue our association with Gonzaga University, and to be in partnership with Fox Sports Net takes the package to a higher level."
"Gonzaga basketball has achieved an elite status among NCAA basketball programs and in adding these games to the Fox Sports Net schedule, we continue to solidify our position as the only place to find all your favorite local teams," said Shuken, vice president and general manager for Fox Sports Net. "FSN is proud to have the opportunity to bring these games and other Gonzaga programming to Bulldog fans throughout the Northwest."
Under the agreement Gonzaga basketball could reach nearly 5 million homes throughout the states of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Alaska and the western provinces of Canada. "FSN will guarantee coverage in the Seattle market for every game in the package, and our coverage will include the five-state region as much as possible," Shuken said. "Once the Gonzaga schedule is finalized we will identify our other programming responsibilities in the five-state area (3.4 million homes) and determine our broadcast schedule of Bulldog basketball."
Lee said KHQ-TV, which will also televise some games on local affiliate KAYU-TV (FOX 28), reaches 400,000 homes in eastern Washington and northern Idaho, and another 1.5 million homes in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, including as far away as Calgary and Edmonton. KHQ-TV recently entered into an affiliation agreement with KAYU-TV, including the Fox 28 "First At Ten" weeknight newscasts.
Under terms of the agreement, KHQ will retain exclusivity of Gonzaga basketball game coverage in the normal KHQ viewing area of eastern Washington, northern Idaho and western Canada.
"We couldn't have asked for a better package," Roth said. "When Lon and Mark submitted a joint endeavor I saw only positives. We have always looked for ways to expand our coverage to the Seattle market, and FSN took that even one step further. We realize it will take some programming juggling on the part of Mark and his staff and we're appreciative of their efforts to make this happen. We already knew we had one of the best television packages in the country, and today it got even better."
Gonzaga, 28-3 a year ago and third in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll, had 30 of its 31 games a year ago televised either nationally, regionally or locally. The 30 telecasts tied for seventh for the most regular-season/post-season televised games among final AP Top 25 teams. Gonzaga also tied with Syracuse University among teams ranked by percentage (96.8) of games televised. Four schools - Duke University, University of Kansas, University of Kentucky and University of Maryland - had all of their regular-season and post-season games televised. Gonzaga will join that elite category in the 2004-05 season.
"We have games on our schedule that already have television commitments associated with them," Roth said. "We had some games like that last year, such as the Coaches Versus Cancer Classic and Bracket Buster II. But through the efforts of Lon and Mark we are now assured of having all other games not previously committed to television being made available to our fans."
Gonzaga will move into the new 6,000-seat McCarthey Athletic Center this season.
"With us moving into a new building, we also believed it was important to continue our high profile on television, and this agreement achieves that goal," Roth said.
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said the television package is the best he's seen as he enters his fifth year as head coach and his 15th year overall in the Bulldogs' program.
"This is great for our program, the university and the Pacific Northwest," Few said. "I'll never forget the first time one of our games was televised on Prime Sports Northwest. To see what has evolved into FSN is truly remarkable. KHQ was the pioneer of Spokane television, so to continue that relationship is also special."
The television announcers, as well as Gonzaga's complete 2004-05 schedule, will be announced soon.
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