No doubt you have read the latest development in the CUSA TV rights scramble. Campus Insiders and ESPN3 will combine to stream a combination of North Texas games this fall and for the foreseeable future. CUSA’s Judy Macleod is rightfully on her hustle horse and trying to make the best of a poor situation.1
While I’d certainly rather streaming options than no – especially having been through the Sun Belt years where watching the game was a luxury – this configuration means that we few, we happy few, who subject ourselves to North Texas football on the regular cannot host watch parties regularly.
Watch parties are fun for out-of-town alumni to get together and meet up. In Austin, I saw a group of green shirts at a bar and realized it was a gathering of Michigan State fans. In my building in San Antonio, there is a weekly group of Georgia fans.
Last year about eleven UNT fans — including parents of players — got together for the Iowa beatdown. It is a thing. It will not be an easy thing to do in the future. When the games came on CBS College Sports or Fox Sports College it was a bit difficult to get the places that 1. had those channels and 2. were willing to give up a big tv for it.
In the past, finding a place that was willing to stream the game required more than one trip, a handful of conversations, a trial run, a volunteer, and lots of planning.
We won’t get into long conversation about barriers to entry. Suffice it to say that there aren’t very many casual UNT fans that are going to the trouble. Especially if the team is not good.
Again, it is small thing. There is certainly a communal following of the game on twitter or on the message boards. Still, this kind of consequence of the TV deal that isn’t much discussed.