Some Big 12 Fans Upset About Early Season Matchups On ESPN+
Kansas State-Oklahoma State on Sept. 28 will be OSU's second game this season televised exclusively on ESPN+ and Big 12 Now, and it is an "unexpected move considering it was widely believed only one OSU football game" would be on the streaming service this year, according to Jacob Unruh of the OKLAHOMAN. The choice to "put a Big 12 matchup that could also be a top-25 matchup on the service drew the ire of fans on social media" yesterday. ESPN’s decision is "simply to boost its shiny new product." Two "established programs with big fan bases can draw more people to the service." There is "no guarantee, but the belief around OSU is this will be the final football game on ESPN+ this season." OSU Senior Associate AD Kevin Klintworth said, "It is different than what we messaged all summer. We realize that and we realize that’s probably an inconvenience for people. We’re hoping that it’s a short-term speed bump that leads to a bigger product for the Big 12" (OKLAHOMAN, 9/17).
THINGS CHANGE QUICKLY: In Kansas, Kellis Robinett notes KSU played on ESPN+ earlier this season against Nicholls State, but that was "supposed to be their only appearance there all season." The Big 12 had "previously announced that all football games between conference opponents would be broadcast on traditional TV." However, Big 12 Senior Associate Commissioner/Communications Bob Burda in an email said that those plans "changed when ESPN approached the conference about adding extra games to Big 12 Now." It is "interesting that ESPN selected" KSU-OSU for ESPN+, "considering both teams are off to 3-0 starts." That has "potential to be the game of the weekend" (WICHITA EAGLE, 9/17).