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Basketball: 4A, 3A state title games will not be televised

Post by Doug Pacey / The News Tribune on Feb. 25, 2012 at 10:47 pm with No Comments »
February 25, 2012 11:53 pm

If you want to watch the 4A and 3A boys and girls basketball championship games on March 3, you’ll have to be at the Tacoma Dome or go online.

The games will not be televised.

Click here to read my story why.

There’s plenty of blame to go around.

Prep basketball coaches are nearly unanimous in their discontent with the WIAA over the changes that have been made to the state tournaments in the past two seasons. Taking the most important games of the season off of television won’t help repair that relationship.

Adding to the friction is that most coaches were surprised by the news. I spoke to a few coaches Saturday about the games not being televised and they weren’t aware of it until I tweeted it Friday afternoon.

I learned of it shortly before, but this change wasn’t completely out of the blue.

ROOT Sports stopped televising Oregon’s basketball state finals last year. And this year, it won’t air Washington’s finals. According to WIAA executive director Mike Colbrese, ROOT refused to pay the broadcast rights fee to air the title games because the cost to produce the games was too high.

Because the games have been televised for decades, I’m guessing they make money. Perhaps the margin wasn’t large enough for ROOT?

If you do tune in to ROOT on Saturday during the state finals, some of the programming you’ll be able to watch includes Pac-12 women’s swimming championships, two episodes of Mariners All Access and a lacrosse match.

ROOT is also airing the Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s and women’s basketball finals at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. I applaud ROOT for televising these games. But why not sandwich the Class 4A finals around the GNAC games and tape-delay the 3A games?

This year, the 4A boys title game is scheduled for 3 p.m. and will be followed by 4A girls at 5 p.m., 3A boys at 7 p.m. and 3A girls at 9 p.m. I’m sure the order of games could have been altered.

PlayOn! Sports, which purchased from the WIAA the broadcast and webcast rights to all of the prep championships, and ROOT did come to an agreement to televise the football finals in December. Currently, no agreement is in place to televise the 2012 finals, but Colbrese was hopeful one would be hammered out.

The good news is in all this is that finals for all classifications will be webcast. Big-school players, coaches and fans are understandably upset their games won’t be televised, but 2A and 1A finals will finally be available to those not at the Yakima SunDome.

Interestingly, people in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho will be able to watch the 2B and 1B finals on television. KHQ, an NBC affiliate in Spokane, and SWX, a sports and weather cable station, will broadcast the games at Spokane Arena.

I’ll have more on this story as it develops.

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