ARTICLE OF THE DAY
 
ECU Football TV Schedule
by Billy Weaver
8/25/06

I wish a had a dollar for every time during the last  month or so I've been either e-mailed or asked in  person... "Which ECU football games will WITN air this  year?"

So, last week I had every intention on letting  Pirate fans know which football games would be aired by  WITN-TV during the upcoming 2006 season. Thankfully, I didn't.

Believe it or not, prior to Thursday afternoon the  four games WITN is contracted to televise were still in limbo. However, I did find out late Thursday that East Carolina's second game of the season will be aired by WITN on September 9. This was always a game that was on the radar but we had to wait on approval from CSTV. But barring some unforeseen circumstances, this one's a go! If you didn't already know, ECU at Navy will be aired on CSTV, so that eliminates the season opener on local television. That takes care of the first two games.

The home opener between ECU and Memphis on September 16 will likely not be televised.

The following weekend, East Carolina welcomes in nationally ranked West Virginia. That game will be televised nationally by ESPN. It's nice to see the "worldwide leader in sports" finally getting back to eastern North Carolina.

CSTV is scheduled to pick up the Virginia game at home, with the Tulsa game likely to be the second home game not on television. As for the homecoming game against SMU, that might be one of WITN's four contracted games. I know, I know.... we need to televise games on the road. I've been hearing that since 1998 when WITN first started airing ECU football games and I totally agree. But what you have to understand is that sometimes it's actually a good thing to have to air home games. That usually means the games are slim pickings for local broadcasts since either regional or national networks are interested in so many of the others. Wouldn't it stink if WITN had free reign of the television package? That would mean regional and national interest of Pirate football is non-existant.

CSTV will once again pick up coverage on October 28 when the Pirates travel to Southern Miss.

Things start to get a little tricky on November 4. WITN is interested in airing the game at UCF, but there is a major conflict with this game. NBC is contracted to carry the November 4 game between Notre Dame and North Carolina, which will obviously be a big draw here in North Carolina. Unfortunately, the two games overlap. UNC-Notre Dame at 2:30pm and ECU-UCF at 4pm. You do the math. There's still a possibility of getting this game worked out. I'll keep you updated on the situation.

The home game against Marshall on November 11 could possibly be the final game of the season not on television. WITN is currently finishing plans to air the Rice game on the road the following week, and I personally think that the regular season finale between ECU and NC State will have bowl implications for both teams, and become a game that will be picked up either regionally or nationally, late in the season.

So, that means possibly nine of East Carolina's twelve regular season games will likely be on television, either locally or nationally. We haven't seen that much TV time since the 2001 season, when ten games were televised. I'll see you on the tube.

Billy Weaver
billy.weaver@witntv.com