Thursday, June 16, 2011

Out Of The Contest

The discussion in the OAC the other day turned to a hugely important matter as it relates to Princeton Athletics and the promotion of its 38 varsity teams and nearly 1,000 student athletes:

What was the single funniest moment in "Seinfeld" history?

One answer was the time when George pulled the golf ball out of the whale's blowhole, and Kramer asks if it was a Titleist.

Another answer was the whole black and white cookie thing, though TigerBlog wasn't a huge fan of anything that happened in the later years of the show.

Ironically, when TigerBlog thought about his own answer, his first thought went to Season 7, when Jack Klompas says to Jerry "what? I've never been in a Cadillac before?" and also when Jack tells Jerry that he cannot get the full Kelly Blue Book value of the car because "you are not me."

Or to Season 5, when Kramer has the reaction to the ugly baby in the Hamptons.

Or the two episodes TB can't remember, when Kramer is on the phone in his apartment and Jerry asks him if he wants to get Chinese food and Kramer flies into Jerry's apartment one second later or the episode where Jerry asks Kramer if he's ready to go and Kramer says "saddle up and ride."

Or the time where George is talking about how he doesn't like to use the urinals, saying he's always been a "stall man," and Kramer interrupts what he's saying to give George a bewildered look.

Eventually, though, as TB ran through a bunch of episodes in his mind, he realized that there is one moment in the show's history that outdoes them all, during the show "The Contest."

It's the moment where Kramer walks in, slams the money on the counter, and announces "I'm out of the contest."

And with that, another important matter in the OAC had been resolved.

Of course, matters regarding television aren't only limited to classic sitcoms.

Nope, while the 2010-11 academic year may have just ended, it's already time to think ahead to 2011-12 in terms of Princeton and TV.

Princeton has television deals with ESPN and Verizon Fios, and they aren't quite the same situations.

ESPN guarantees Princeton its will televise live seven of its home events on one of its networks (almost always ESPNU) in every year of the contract, which was renewed last year.

Verizon Fios will televise an assortment of events at Princeton with no minimum or maximum number. These will be on tape delay.

Princeton does not have the right to video stream the games that are on ESPN. Verizon Fios shares with Princeton the streams live, which gives Princeton an immediate upgrade in the production for its webpage.

Princeton can also enter into TV arrangements with other networks or with the league itself, as in the Versus football package that began last year, but ESPN has the first right to any of Princeton's home events.

ESPN has, in the last few years, shown a preference for sports like lacrosse, water polo, hockey and soccer. The network takes Princeton's schedules for the year, trims the list to 10-15 and then figures out which ones work best in terms of its production needs and abilities. ESPN will listen to Princeton to a certain extent, but ultimately the network has the final say.

Verizon Fios is looking for content for its network, and Princeton values a streaming presence that includes announcers, three cameras, graphics and such as opposed to a one-camera, no-audio setup that it often has for games.

For this coming year, TigerBlog has been working with ESPN to try to get a women's basketball as part of the deal, though nothing has yet been finalized. Princeton hosts three strong non-league opponents this coming season, as Villanova, DePaul and Marist come to Jadwin Gym.

To date, the schedule is still in its earliest stages of being put together, so who knows how it might turn out.

TigerBlog does understand how unique these two situations are for Princeton, though, and they have both developed into tremendous partnerships.

Princeton has been willing to move start times and even days - football from Saturday to Thursday or Friday and hockey from Friday/Saturday to Sunday, for instance - to accommodate ESPN.

To its credit, ESPN has respected Princeton's desires not to have games start too late.

Back when TB first started at Princeton, television was a rarity, and streaming was non-existent. Some games could be seen locally and via satellite, with weird coordinates that alumni groups always struggled to locate.

In the years that followed, the most important part of a television game was to get it on DirecTV, so it could be seen anywhere in the country.

In the future, streaming is probably going to far eclipse television, which will probably end up going away at some point. Eventually, TB would guess, television will become like what your DVR is now, something resembling what ESPN3 is.

For now, though, TigerBlog is pretty happy with Princeton's TV arrangements. He figures to have next year's schedule with ESPN worked out in the next week or so, and then he can move on to other important issues.

Like the greatest moment in the history of "The Sopranos."

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