Arizona softball to play ten games on TV this season
Kelsee Becker / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Softball Coach Mike Candrea preparing players for the upcoming season. Arizona Softball will start on February 8 at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Arizona against Northwestern.
After not appearing on live television once during the 2011-12 regular season, Arizona softball will play 10 games on TV this season.
Arizona softball’s presence on television has expanded from the Women’s College World Series to the Super Regionals, to the NCAA Regionals, and now to regular season games.
“It’s great,” Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said. “I think that one of the reasons why our sport’s been able to grow the past few years is because of our exposure at the College World Series, and that’s gotten bigger and bigger.”
Home games against Washington, Cal and ASU and road games at Utah, Oregon and Stanford will be broadcast, along with the entire UCLA series.
“I’m definitely excited about that, because I think our sport needs more exposure,” sophomore shortstop Chelsea Suitos said.
“We’re doing all this hard work; it’d be nice to be recognized for it.”
Last season’s NCAA regional in Tucson was shown on ESPNU.
Eight Arizona games will be shown on the Pac-12 Networks.
“It’s really exciting. The Pac-12 channel is huge this year, for our season and for all sports,” senior pitcher Kenzie Fowler said.
“I know personally I had to switch TV companies so I could get it … but it’s really exciting. It’s going to bring a lot of attention to our program and to the conference and I think that’s huge.”
DirecTV loyalists can still see UA games, as the April 18 game against UCLA will be on ESPN2 and the April 19 Bruins game will be on ESPNU.
“That’s always exciting, to have ESPN out here and to show what we do,” Fowler said. “They always give an inside look to the program and stuff that fans may not always see.”
Fowler and Suitos said they were surprised that the Pac-12 was rarely on TV, unlike the Big 12, Big Ten and SEC.
“The Big 12 has their games on, and the SEC, so why not us?” Suitos said.
Last season, eight of the nine Pac-12 softball teams made the NCAA tournament, five made it to Super Regionals and three to the Women’s College World Series.
“So this is another step, and I think for the Pac-12 it’s great,” Candrea said. “Something that’s been a long time coming, a very good conference in softball and now hopefully we get a chance to get exposed from coast to coast and I think it’s nothing but good for us.”
Candrea doesn’t think it will affect recruiting much, just that “it will definitely give more people a chance to see good softball.”
“I think the bottom line is that it’s still performance-based, so the teams that are performing have a little heads up in recruiting,” Candrea said. “I think a big part of it for us is being able to tell the story of Pac-12 softball, because we’ve had such great history over the years, so I think it’s an opportunity for us to tell people a little more about the tradition.
“And a lot of the kids that are at that age watching softball weren’t around 10 years ago, so it’s a great way to catch them up and kind of bridge the gap from the past to the present.”