What happens when a broadcast isn’t broadcast? — Teri Moren talks big Indiana win — Must-click women’s basketball links

The IX: Basketball Wednesday with Howard Megdal, November 17, 2021

Last week, I sat down to watch a Syracuse-Monmouth women’s basketball game.

I did so knowing I’d have to jump through some hoops, and boy did I. Let’s set the scene.

I’m a Verizon FIOS subscriber, and an ESPN+ subscriber. I’ve subscribed, within FIOS, to their package called “The Most FIOS TV”, because it gets me access to ACC Network, SEC Network, you name it. It is an occupational hazard that I never know exactly which game I’m going to need access to at any time, so I’ve made the choice to make sure I can see all of them.

At least, in theory. We won’t even talk about the fact that I cannot get the Pac-12 Network on FIOS at any price, and the work I thus have to do, late at night, to watch that elite group of teams.

Still, thanks to a bunch of electronic handshakes, I needed to watch the Syracuse-Monmouth game on ESPN+ via my Apple TV. Okay, fine. I clicked on the ESPN app, and the game was listed not under ESPN+, but an entity called “ACCNX”. All that meant was I needed to connect my ESPN app to my FIOS subscription. I’ve done this maybe 2000 times already, but okay, I did it again. Great. Time to watch, right?

Nope. “Playback Could Not Be Started, This channel is not part of your TV package”, and then a big OK button.

No! Not OK!

So I reached out to ESPN app customer service, who assured me that yes, I should have access, all I needed to do was… log out of everything and log back in. Yeah, that didn’t work. I was told I should reach out to FIOS customer service, but they had no idea what the problem was, and sent me back to ESPN.

After 30 minutes, I was sent to a supervisor, a very helpful one in the sense of diagnosing the problem. Jesse over at ESPN explained that the extra games on ACC Network were put on ACCNX, a thing that no one seems to know anything about at FIOS, and for reasons that are unclear to everyone, FIOS has declined to make it available to even its subscribers who fulfill all the requirements for it. He said there are unanswered ticket requests for service dating back to February of this year.

A quick tweet confirmed that I am not the only one having this issue.

I was told to follow up with Jesse, and I have, twice. No response. FIOS tech support never even responded, not a shock, considering their WATCH FIOS app, which in theory should allow me to access my DVR for games I’ve recorded, has worked perhaps twice in three years, a simply delightful outcome when I need game film to write on the road.

But, you may be thinking: “Howard, we’re sorry you are experiencing this, but this all feels very old man yells at cloud for The IX, no?”

Let me share two press releases I received back in early November that explain why it isn’t.

ESPN networks will present more than 3,400 men’s college basketball games during the 2021-22 season. ESPN is poised to bring the best players, matchups and stories to viewers across upwards of 800 games on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ABC, ESPNEWS, SEC Network, ACC Network (ACCN), Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and Longhorn Network (LHN). An additional 2,600 games will be available on ESPN3, SEC Network +, ACCNX and ESPN+ – including more than 2,100 on ESPN+ alone. With a combined schedule totaling more than 6,000 men’s and women’s college basketball matchups throughout the season, ESPN networks will provide top-tier and unprecedented coverage of the sport to fans everywhere.
ESPN networks will present more than 3,400 men’s college basketball games during the 2021-22 season. ESPN is poised to bring the best players, matchups and stories to viewers across upwards of 800 games on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ABC, ESPNEWS, SEC Network, ACC Network (ACCN), Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and Longhorn Network (LHN). An additional 2,600 games will be available on ESPN3, SEC Network +, ACCNX and ESPN+ – including more than 2,100 on ESPN+ alone. With a combined schedule totaling more than 6,000 men’s and women’s college basketball matchups throughout the season, ESPN networks will provide top-tier and unprecedented coverage of the sport to fans everywhere.

You got that? If we’re comparing over-the-air television, you’re looking at “upwards of 800 games” for the men, “more than 330 games” for the women. That’s 41.25 percent as many for the women as the men. It’s a huge discrepancy.

BUT: if we include all the streaming options, well: we’re talking “more than 3,400” for the men, “2800-plus” for the women. That’s still not equal, but it is 82.35 percent. Not bad! Progress! I can get my head around it. We’re getting there, right?

Well. Not if we can’t watch the goddamn games.

Now listen. There are other folks who should probably be madder about this than I am. Contracts are not being fulfilled when you put games on ACCNX and then carriers don’t carry them. This is a tech solution that some folks at ESPN and the ACC ought to make sure happens so no one gets sued.

And yes, so I can watch the game I’ve paid for and want to see. We live in a glorious moment, where virtually any game that’s played can be consumed in the comfort of your own home. I went to Bard, a tiny D-III school, and I watched my alma mater’s women’s team play in a tournament in West Hartford, with the stream of the game mirrored to my television. It was glorious. This is the tradeoff of sports in 2021 — a lot more of it, but you’re going to have to work to find it. I hear those complaints from WNBA fans, but near as I can tell, it’s the case for virtually every league other than the NFL. I even deal with it as I look for MLB games!

But when it comes to equal access and making sure people can watch the games, it would be swell if it were just a single click or, fine two of them. Short of that, it doesn’t strike me as too much to demand that whatever extra steps I gotta take to watch the men play college hoops, they’re no different than the ones for college women’s hoops. And if we want to turn streaming into a way to equalize that coverage, with press releases that reflect one reality of access, that access better damn well exist.

So no. This is not OK.


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This week in women’s basketball

Good details here on the Kim Mulkey/Baylor exit.


Augusta Stone provides the necessary background on South Carolina’s latest big recruit, Talaysia Cooper.


We get the Alysa Auriemma origin story!


Speaking of Auriemmas, Alexa Philippou drills down into the stuff that matters with Geno’s bunch. (Geno is Alysa’s father, and coaches at UConn.)


Arizona scored its best recruiting class ever!


It was, as PJ Brown also writes, a good week for Adia Barnes.


Loads of goodies as usual from Mitchell Northam. 


Mel Greenberg is doing what he always does. Thank you, Mel.


Josh Verlin writes about the Brugler sisters.


Marissa Coleman is authoring a fascinating second act.


Kareem Copeland, who is excellent, has live observations from Maryland this past weekend.


Ari Chambers’ rise needs to be studied by anyone with a desire to succeed in this business.


Adam Vachon’s week in review is back at HerHoopStats.


And an absolute must-read from The IX alum Lindsay Gibbs about how the inequalities between the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments happened.


Rhode Island’s teams are ready to make some noise this March.


Hear from Kara Lawson, Cheryl Reeve and Katie Smith on the progress, and long way to go, for women coaching in men’s basketball.

And when the Palestra with fans returned, it was a women’s player who scored the first basket.


Tweet of the week


Five at The IX: Teri Moren talks Indiana’s win over Kentucky


Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: Anne Tokarski, @annetokarski, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Jessica Taylor Price, @jesstaylorprice, Freelance Gymnastics Writer

Written by Howard Megdal

Howard is the founder of The Next and editor-in-chief.