Iowa's first football game this season: Not guaranteed to be televised

Last year's Wisconsin-Northern Illinois game was Internet-only

Mike Hlas
Published: May 8 2012 | 6:15 am - Updated: 31 March 2014 | 6:49 pm in
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When this has a definitive answer, I'll give it to you the moment I get it. But for now, there is no traditional telecast scheduled for the Sept. 1 football game between Iowa and Northern Illinois at Chicago's Soldier Field.

Now, don't panic. There's time, and necessity is the mother of invention, and a rolling stone gathers no moss. But Northern Illinois played Wisconsin at Soldier last Sept. 17, and ... no television. The only way to watch the game live was via ESPN3.com on the World Wide Web.

Who do you know who has a 50-inch laptop screen? I know some people watch the Internet on their TVs, but the world in general isn't wired that way just yet.

Northern Illinois is the home team for Iowa-NIU, so the Mid-American Conference has the television rights. ESPN Regional TV retains the “local and regional” syndication telecast rights. So maybe the game will be made available to Iowa stations via syndication.

But the Wisconsin-NIU game last year wasn't.

About two weeks ago, I e-mailed NIU Associate Athletic Director for Communications Donna Stewart to ask what the TV scenario for Iowa-NIU was. Her reply:

Sorry, MAC has not released its TV schedule yet.  Probably some time in June.

Last week, I asked Big Ten Senior Associate Commissioner Mark Rudner about the possibilities. He said the situation could -- could -- turn out to be the same as Wisconsin-NIU last year. He said the chances of the game somehow ending up on the Big Ten Network were nil.

When the Hawkeyes and Huskies played in Chicago in 2007 (Iowa won, 16-3. Charles Godfrey, pictured, had two interceptions.), the game was televised by ESPNU. That would seem to be a possibility this go-round. So cling to that, I guess.

But if this is an ESPN3.com-only deal, the solution is simple. Just fire up your PC or laptop or smart phone and watch the game on that. And you can watch another game or two or three on cable/dish at the same time. Like Northern Iowa-Wisconsin in Madison. That will be televised for sure, since it's a Big Ten team's home game.

 

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