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Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | Last updated: 2:34pm

Column: Arizona dorms need ESPN, ESPN 2 and FS1



If you’re the kind of sports fan who wants to watch the game alone, it’s a tough life in the UA Residence Halls.

Especially because ESPN, ESPN 2 and FOX Sports 1 aren’t a part of your channel listing.

According to Dana Robbins-Murray, assistant director of marketing for Residence Life, the cable in the residence halls was just upgraded to digital, and the sports packages were taking up 40 percent of the cable expense. Residence Life conducted a survey asking students what they watch, and the poll showed students weren’t watching sports in their dorm rooms.

Residence Life was unable to provide the actual numbers of the survey, and Robbins-Murray said she was never given the information.

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The Arizona Wildcats men's basketball team faced Stanford on Jan. 29 on ESPN2. Students in the dorms, however, may have had a hard time finding the game, since the UA residence hall cable system doesn't offer ESPN, ESPN2 or Fox Sports 1. [ESPN3.com Screencap]

Without ESPN or ESPN 2 in their rooms, students are missing extremely popular informative programs such as SportsCenter and prime-time college football and basketball, NBA and MLB games and Monday Night Football. No FS1 means never being able to tune in to FOX Sports Live, a slightly different spin on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

There are 13 regular season men’s basketball games on ESPN, ESPN 2 or Fox Sports 1, and potentially three more on FS1 during the Pac-12 tournament.

UA Residence Life at least carries ESPNU, CBS Sports Network, the Pac-12 Network and the NFL Network on its cable list. Regardless, it is impossible to satisfy the full needs of a sports fan here without making ESPN, ESPN 2 or FS1 available to watch.

Students living in the dorms have an option to watch ESPN, ESPN 2 and FS1 on at least one television in every residence hall.

“I think students like watching the games in the TV lounges rather in their rooms because it makes it more of a community event,” Robbins-Murray said.
But that is definitely not always the case.

“It’s upsetting that my friends and I have to go out and watch the games [on ESPN and ESPN 2] with a whole bunch of people instead of just watching it with a few in someone’s room,” said Pranav Balaji, a pre-physiology freshman living in Árbol de la Vida Residence Hall. “If we’re all going to pay this much money, adding those few channels would be nice.”

The lowest possible price residents without scholarship pay for a full academic year (roughly eight months) is $5,560, and that is to live in a room with triple occupancy. With one roommate in a Tier 1 dorm such as Coronado Residence Hall, Likins Hall or Árbol, the cost is $7,720 for a full academic year, or $965 per month.

With the expenses all these kids pay, it seems unfair to take three of the biggest sports channels away.

“The first time I was looking for it [ESPN] and all I found was ESPNU, and they don’t carry any of the big games,” said Tom Malone, a history freshman and an Árbol resident. “I have to log online to view Watch ESPN and I even have to pay extra for that, which drives me crazy. I figure living in Árbol, for the thousands of dollars, I pay I would get ESPN.”

—Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo


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