Wednesday, February 29, 2012

ESPN Shuffling NCAA Tournament Telecasts

As if there isn't enough basketball on television already.

It's been written that ESPN will no longer be the TV home of the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship starting this year. The title game in Tampa on April 7 will now be shown on ESPN2 instead. The semifinal games two days prior will be telecast on ESPNU, as will the regionals on March 23-25 and the selection show on March 18. The semifinals and selection show used to be staples of ESPN2, but no more.

Most U.S. households get both ESPN and ESPN2, but not nearly as many pick up ESPNU. Who knows exactly why ESPN is doing this; but the contract is also supposed to run for another decade or so, so it looks like there's little hope that NBC or its major cable affiliate, NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus), which seem to want to show hockey, will get the chance to show the biggest games of the college hockey season anytime soon.

At least they won't be cutting away early from the conclusion of the NCAA championship game for "Baseball Tonight" anymore. Because, you know, MLB games in early April are just so critical.

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