TV Wars

My local cable operator just added the Big Ten Network. This now means that I've got (either normally or through the added sports package): ESPN regular, 2, News, Classic, and U; Fox Sports Network; Fox Soccer Channel; Fox College Sports Atlantic, Central, and Pacific; NBATV; NHLTV; Speed; Tennis; Versus; A channel all about the Braves; Big Ten Network, and it's entirely possible I'm forgetting some.

My immediate thought was if I could just get MASN, I'd be set. Apparently MASN heard. Having signed an online petition (and thus gotten myself onto a mailing list) some time back, I got an e-mail the other day with the subject, "Minnesota Golden Gophers?" Having learned that Time Warner had added BTN, they were compelled to cry, "What about me? What about Ravens?" (oh, the pun! I hurts so good!)

MASN and Time Warner have been in a blood feud here in North Carolina since MASN's inception a few years ago. My understanding of the story is this: MASN wants for TWC to carry it as a basic cable channel. TWC has refused--I'm not sure if they've offered it as a premium channel as well. The two are at an impasse, which means we get no MASN.

Truth be told, it largely makes sense--they are the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network and we are in the South. The one reason that makes MASN make sense here is the Baltimore Orioles. Believe it or not, most of the state of North Carolina is designatd by MLB as Orioles (and now Nationals) territory. It certainly makes sense--from here in Greensboro, in central NC, we are only slightly closer to Atlanta than Baltimore, and now with the Nats in the mix, we are roughly equidistant from the two closest baseball teams. If you're farther east and closer to I-95, that balance tips in Washington's favor. Us not having MASN now puts us in a bind: By this MLB policy, games get blacked out if they're on "local TV"; O's games that should be and once were televised in NC are now only on MASN which means we get to see them nowhere. This is an issue not only for O's fans but for fans of other teams who may be playing the O's (my team and O's divisionmate Boston Red Sox come to mind). As for me, I'd welcome a new sports channel in general, but MASN is particularly appealing to me as a native mid-Atlanticker for mroe "local" (at one time) coverage, especially my alma mater UMBC.

But MASN's latest ad campaign is intentionally misleading: First they leverage the inclusion of the Big Ten Network as reasoning why TWC hates MASN. However, BTN was added as part of Time Warner's premium sports package, while MASN insists it be included on a basic cable package. Secondly, the "shock and awe" campaign the waged by stating "Minnesota Golden Gophers?" was intentional both becuase Minnesota is the farthest Big Ten school from NC, and because, c'mon, a name like "golden gophers" is easy to make fun of. But in reality, I know for a fact there are a ludicrous amount of folks from Big Ten country--Ohio specifically--residing here in North Carolina. And considering that a Big Ten member school--Penn State--is actually (arguably) in the mid-Atlantic, is that really who they should be poopooing?