Saturday, November 26

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Campus cable coverage prevents live broadcast of basketball games

Although 1.2 million homes in the eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey area were privy to last week's home basketball game against the University of Pennsylvania, the few thousand students here on campus were awarded no such luck.

Unlike last year, the University has divided this year's men's basketball television coverage between two competing cable companies, one that is much larger and caters to a regional audience and another that serves a very localized area.

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Comcast, which serves an expansive eastern cable area – with the exception of University dorms – has televised the men's home games against Monmouth, Manhattan, Yale and Penn, and they will also provide live coverage of next week's away-game versus the Philadelphia rival.

RCN, the smaller provider that feeds all University cable, does not have as large a media exposure for the men's team as Comcast.

According to Kurt Kehl, associate director of Athletics for Public Affairs, RCN was supposed to televise the Penn game, but did not due to technical errors.

"The Comcast broadcast was on satellite, but RCN failed to pull it off," he said. "They thought they had a way but it didn't work." Kehl said students will not run into this problem again next year.

"Hopefully, we'll have fiberoptics in the new stadium and it'll make it easier for RCN to pick (the game) up."

Those students who were unable to attend the game at Jadwin Gymnasium or were not among the first 1,200 students did not have a chance to see Princeton's matchup against its longtime basketball rival.

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"I do agree it's a problem because of limited seating; therefore students have to rely on the television coverage," said John Hess, president of the Varsity Student Athlete Advisory Committee. "It's unfair," he added.

Additional coverage

The University's usual television provider, RCN, will replay not only the Penn game, but also the Dartmouth and Harvard games today at 4:30 p.m., according to Iris Aranda, spokeswoman for RCN.

Fans have mixed feelings about the division between television providers. Chris Decker '98, who leads cheers at games, said that having Comcast televise some of Princeton's bigger games does have its benefits.

"I would assume that Comcast at least gets into a larger media market so it's better for more recognition," Decker said.

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Since Comcast will be covering the Penn game at the Palestra, students here will not get word of the results until late that night.

"That's going to suck. It's going to be bad because there's a lot of fans who can't afford to take that trip due to academic commitments," he said.

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