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Zim Whim: Sports network will push UA ahead

For avid Wildcat sports fans, last week's announcement of the Arizona Wildcats Sports Network left some viewers grateful but many others aghast.


In short, the AWSN will ensure statewide Wildcat basketball and football coverage when Pacific 10 Conference networks don't pick up a game for broadcast.


In line with President Barack Obama's promise for ""change,"" fans must accept the new wave of technology, accept that it's not Jim Livengood's fault their pricey satellite packages won't cover their Wildcats and rejoice that, at the very least, they will be able to watch every single UA basketball or football game.


Last year, the main network that broadcasted UA games, Fox Sports Arizona, completely glazed over football contests versus Idaho, Toledo and even conference opponent Stanford. Essentially, the box score was the only place sports fans could have a clue as to what happened on the field.


For the diehard sports fan like myself, that was not acceptable.


Luckily, times change.


Upgrade your Internet package, grab your Blackberry and move into a new age of technology.


Sure, the AWSN may be of lesser quality at first and will only be available to out-of-state viewers over the Internet, but something is better than nothing. I'll take a grainy online video to watch the Wildcats steamroll Northern Arizona over nothing at all.


Newspapers, magazines and even television stations are now leaking their content to the Web - they know it's for the best.


The new AWSN parallels those advances in technology.


Although alumni located outside of Arizona won't have the networks nor the satellite packages to view some games, they'll be forced to make the media switch. A similar situation to the recent nationwide digital cable conversion, people stubborn and refusing to alter their cable-happy lifestyles will eventually give in when they eventually realize that using online media is the best and only available option.


The athletic department believes the move to online streaming, which will cost around $10 a month for subscribers, will actually improve the scope of viewers, sports information director Tom Duddleston told the Arizona Summer Wildcat.


Another argument against the AWSN, critics say recruiting will become harder when out-of-state players don't have the opportunity to view Arizona on national TV.


But if Arizona deserves to be in the competitive recruiting scene, they will be winning and thus, tempting major networks to pick up their contests anyway. As head basketball coach Sean Miller has said, the Arizona ""brand"" sometimes sells itself.


Basketball has that brand, but football can develop it, too.


And after all, the Arizona coaches offer the high school athletes scholarships, not the other way around. In other words, the coaches get the recruits' attention, not the flat screen.


For viewers, seeing every contest is what matters the most, and I'd take that guarantee despite the negatives brought about by the change. And hey, the AWSN will even offer coverage of lesser-known sports such as baseball and softball.


As for those frustrations about the switch from TV to Internet, it was going to happen sooner or later.


Accept change or be left in the dark.


- Kevin Zimmerman is a journalism junior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (9/25)
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Total (8/4)
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Includes tests since August 4, 2020
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated September 25, 2020