Inside the new TV deal for USD

BY JEREMY HOECK

The news Wednesday that Midco Sports Network signed separate (but very similar) television deals with the University of South Dakota and South Dakota State was no doubt a good thing for all sides involved.

When USD linked up with Learfield Sports in April 2011, turning over multimedia and licensing rights to the well-known collegiate group, this kind of a decision was to be expected. The USD athletic department had sought a new “brand” for its programs; a way to rise up to the true Division I ranks in terms of radio, television and media capabilities.

One of the biggest sticking points for USD, though, was a coaches show. Under its current setup, the department had no such show at all — nothing on the radio through its flagship with Results Radio (B102.7 FM), nothing through a television contract, though Midco Sports Network occasionally broadcast USD football and basketball games. Nothing. There was a significant disconnect between fans and the coaches/players; no way to bring fans “inside” the teams. Aside from occasional interviews with a local TV station, or video recorded by media outlets (including the Press & Dakotan), the average fan was out in the cold.

The TV contract announced Wednesday with Midco Sports Network solves that problem. The contract includes up to 24 weekly “special” shows — which will basically entail a coaches and interview show. According to Coyote Sports Properties general manager Travis Lee, those shows (which will start in late August) will mostly likely air on Tuesday nights, and will both review the previous weekend’s action and preview the upcoming games.

(Of course, one of the things USD wants to avoid is its other sports like volleyball and soccer being neglected on these shows. I was told Wednesday, though, that Midco plans to include all the sports in the fall, for example, and during the winter months, bringing in other sports aside from basketball).

Part of the 6-year deals with USD and SDSU includes Midco assigning a specific person to each school, for a two-fold reason: 1) So that fans can associate and familiarize themselves with one person, one “voice”, and 2) So that it makes it easier for the coaches and Midco. I was told the names you can expect are familiar ones, if you have ever watched a Midco sports broadcast in the last few years.

With 10 USD games set to be broadcast during the 2012-13 season, the breakup is as follows: 3 home football games (including the game in Sioux Falls against North Dakota State), up to six men’s and women’s basketball home games (primarily Summit League games), and potentially one volleyball, soccer or softball game.

In other words, these are different times for USD.

Not only with a newly-unveiled website (goyotes.com) and an upcoming radio contract with KVHT/KVTK in Yankton, the media coverage around the Coyote athletic teams is ready for a major overhaul.

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