The Utes sold out to Comcast


I have been a faithful fan and supporter of U athletics programs for some 35 years, through thick and thin, ups and downs. So I was angered and frustrated when the Mountain West Conference cut a deal with Comcast to create “the mtn.” MountainWest Sports Network to broadcast football and basketball games, and to make those broadcasts available exclusively over Comcast’s cable network.

But I was still willing to give the U athletics programs the benefit of the doubt, thinking that they probably had no say in that deal and that they had no choice but to go along with it. So I have continued to faithfully follow the football team’s away games on the radio and even bought Rice-Eccles Stadium tickets to home games to see them in person.

I was prepared to continue this practice for last Thursday’s away game, trying to fine-tune my radio’s inconsistent reception of AM 700, so I could listen to the game and cheer the team on, when I happened to glance at my TV during a commercial break in whatever program was on.

The first scene showed the Utah football team’s offense running a play (and I think scoring a touchdown). This was followed immediately by a close-up of Kyle Whittingham. The head coach looked straight into the camera and said: “Are you a fan of the Ute football team? If you want to see us play, you have to sign up with Comcast.”

If the MWC and now the Utah football program care so little about fan support that they are willing to cut a deal that they know will have the effect of making it impossible for at least half of their fans to watch away games, and when the head coach of the football team transforms himself (and, in effect, the entire team) into a crass shill for the Comcast cable company, then they are no longer deserving of my interest or support-whether at home games or away games. If they don’t care whether I can see away games or not, then I don’t care to spend good money to see home games, either.

Sorry, coach. Not everybody, and certainly not those of us trying to live on the salaries that the U pays its professors, can afford Comcast’s outlandish rates. You’ve just lost one longtime fan.

Paul Haanstad

Philosophy Department