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Pay-per-view football figures to remain a staple of University of Hawaii sports through the 2019 season under an extension of the school's TV rights agreement with Oceanic Time Warner Cable announced Friday.
Rival KHNL/KFVE would have ended pay-per-view and aired away football games free of charge had it been awarded the contract, general manager Rick Blangiardi said Friday.
The six-year extension with Oceanic calls for UH to receive a minimum payment of $2.3 million this year, escalating to $2,539,386 at the contract's conclusion June 30, 2020, as long as at least seven football games are made available to Oceanic each year, according to the agreement. UH can earn a higher fee if specified net revenue targets are reached.
UH had been receiving a minimum $2.3 million per year for live TV and PPV rights and received as much as $2.6 million in 2008. Oceanic is mandated to broadcast at least 60 events a year, the same threshold as in previous contracts.
"We're very pleased with the valuable exposure and much-needed revenue that this partnership with (Oceanic) provides the UH athletics department," athletic director Ben Jay said.
Oceanic has been the exclusive rights holder since 2011, and PPV has been a prominent part of the UH TV package since 2002, when Oceanic and KHNL/KFVE teamed up with the cable operator.
Under terms of the existing agreement, Friday was the final day of an exclusive four-month window for Oceanic to negotiate an extension with UH. Had a deal not been reached, UH would have been free to open up bidding to other parties.
KHNL/KGMB, which has a "shared services agreement" with KFVE, had sought an opportunity to make a proposal. "We are extremely disappointed and saddened to hear this news as Hawaii News Now and KFVE would have been proud and honored to have submitted an alternative proposal for the University of Hawaii to consider," Blangiardi said in a statement.
"We believe we could have provided a meaningful alternative to Oceanic Cable, which unfortunately only reaches paid subscribers, as opposed to the entire state," Blangiardi said. "We were prepared to make the University of Hawaii an unprecedented bid for the broadcast rights, and were looking forward to the elimination of the pay-per-view concept and providing all of UH sports, including both home and away games, free of additional charges to the people of Hawaii."
Dan Schmidt, general manager and executive producer of OC Sports, said, "We're thrilled to continue our partnership with the (UH) athletics. UH games are part of the fabric of the community here in Hawaii, and we're so proud that OC Sports and Oceanic Time Warner Cable can continue to offer live games and supporting programming to UH fans."
Credit: Ferd Lewis