The Utah State football team will be on Facebook quite a bit this fall.
We’re not talking about the players going online. Three USU games — Sept. 7 vs. Idaho State, Sept. 23 at San Jose State and Oct. 14 vs. Wyoming — will be produced for and streamed on Facebook.
Stadium, which is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting — the parent company of KUTV-Ch. 2, KMYU-Ch. 12 and KJZZ Ch. 14 in Utah (and 170 other stations around the country) — will produce the games for Facebook. The deal includes three other MWC matchups and nine Conference USA games this fall.
Idaho State vs Utah State live
NCAAF Football Championship 2017
Competition: NCAAF Football
Competitor: Idaho State vs Utah State live
Date:Thursday, September 7
Time: LIVE ET
(At the moment, there’s no deal to simulcast the three USU games on one of Sinclair’s Utah stations, but local programmers are talking to Stadium about that possibility. Stay tuned …)
This means that USU fans who live, well, anywhere, will be able to see the Aggies if you can get on Facebook. Just go to
The Facebook games will have a Facebook feel, of course. We’re promised “live curated chat experiences” with “well-known and well-respected football personalities”; a “social production team and correspondents working the sidelines” that will “engage” the audience “in conversation”; and an “ongoing integration of real-time social elements provided by the competing schools.”
If it’s just fans from the two schools insulting each other, let’s hope there’s an easy and obvious way to mute all that.
ESPN still loves BYU
For those of you who think ESPN doesn’t love BYU, (1) ESPN picked up the 2019 option year on its BYU football contract; (2) ESPN put together the LSU-BYU game that was supposed to be in Houston on Saturday; and (3) ESPN quickly moved the game to New Orleans because of the flooding in Texas.
Yes, that was clearly in ESPN’s self-interest. But, just as clearly, ESPN execs believe being in business with BYU is in their best interest.
Covering television for 27 years has made me skeptical — some would say cynical — about TV executives’ motives. But in the case of the Robert Lee “controversy” at ESPN, I’m siding with ESPN president John Skipper.
If you missed it, in a preliminary, unpublished schedule, sportscaster Robert Lee was originally assigned to call the Virginia vs. William & Mary game on Saturday. Following the events in Charlottesville, which were initially prompted by the plan to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, the sportscaster was reassigned to the Pittsburgh-Youngstown State game.
According to Skipper, Lee was consulted about the change, and it was not made to prevent offending anyone. Lee was in no sense demoted; both games feature ACC teams vs. lower-division opponents on secondary outlets — the ACC Network and ESPN3.
If I was Robert Lee, I’d rather be in Pittsburgh and avoid giving social media idiots a chance to prove their ignorance. I’d appreciate that my bosses are looking out for me.
However, longtime ESPN-hater Clay Travis at the website Outkick the Coverage blew this completely out of proportion, arguing it signaled the liberal bias he claims exists at ESPN. But the simplest answer is usually the right one — and the simplest answer is that ESPN execs was looking to head off headaches for Lee and themselves.
By the way the best way to prove you’ve got an anti-ESPN agenda — go on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News Channel show, claim your interpretations are fact and then go on Twitter and claim you “lobotomized” ESPN’s president.
No, I don’t always believe TV execs. But, in this case, I agree with Skipper’s comments in a memo (obtained by CNN) — that ESPN’s “good intentions … have been hijacked by someone with a personal agenda.”