HI - TV fumbles, angering football fans

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Posted on: Wednesday, November 1, 2000 TV fumbles, angering football fans By Michael Tsai Advertiser Staff Writer

Gerry Benavente didnBt want to miss a single minute of SaturdayBs football matchup between No. 1 Nebraska and archrival No. 3 Oklahoma. So the Navy officer from Kailua got up at 5:30 a.m., turned on his TV and waited. And waited. And waited.

"IBm at home, I have pay-per-view, and all they showed were two crappy Big Ten games," Benavente said.

At 6:30 a.m., a half-hour after the Nebraska-Oklahoma kickoff, an irritated Benavente said goodbye to his kids and headed to Players Sports and Entertainment Club in downtown Honolulu, which was tuned in to the game via satellite and had opened at 5:45 a.m. There, he joined some 200 other sleepy, disgruntled fans for what turned out to be a very exclusive showing. Oklahoma went on to upset Nebraska, 31-14.

For local sports fans, this was just the latest in a continuing series of frustrations.

First, the three weekday games of the World Series were telecast delayed by KHON. On Saturday, ESPN and ESPN2 telecast three Big Ten games, but not the Purdue-Ohio State game, easily the conferenceBs most important game of the day. The Nebraska-Oklahoma game was offered on pay-per-view, but because of a "technical glitch," even that game was a no-show.

Those who wanted to see those games live had only one choice B head to the nearest sports bar with a live feed.

"ItBs great for business," said Gary Dickman, manager of Players. "Nebraska has been our top draw the last five or six years. We were getting calls all week long from people who wanted to see the game."

Glitches prevail

The Nebraska-Oklahoma game never made it to home televisions despite efforts by KITV, the local ABC affiliate. First, KITV was unable to clear air time for the game when the network made it available at the last minute. Then, Oceanic Cable, which was scheduled to air the game as a pay-per-view event through ESPN GamePlan, was unable to relay the signal because of technical problems, according to company spokesman Kit Beuret.

"ItBs a fairly complicated process, and apparently there was some miscommunication about transponders and how the signal was going to be received," he said. "We apologize to anyone who was affected."

Beuret said people who ordered the game, which was priced at $11.95, will not be billed.


-- Doris (reaper@pacifier.com), November 02, 2000

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