FDU, Yes Network

FDU/YES Network deal could jump start local TV sports coverage

Fairleigh Dickinson University announced a multi-game deal with the YES Network to broadcast men's and women's basketball games for this upcoming season.

FDU, who as a 16-seed defeated number one seed Purdue in last year's NCAA Tournament, are still riding the wave of that upset, and that can be seen in this deal with the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network. In the past, YES has sporadically shown college games, but never could a program call the network home. That changes to a minor degree this season.

"It is a great honor for FDU to partner with the YES Network and deliver a robust basketball broadcast package nationwide," said Senior Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics Bradford Hurlbut in the press release announcing the partnership. "After our men's basketball team captivated the nation during March Madness and our women's basketball program reached the WNIT for the second-straight season, we're thrilled to seize the moment and highlight our exceptional student-athletes, coaches and institution on a network with the prestige of YES. I look forward to providing a new outlet for our fans, family and friends to see the Knights compete on the hardwood and introduce a wider audience to the Burgundy and Blue!"

The deal calls for six men's basketball and two women's games, all of which will be home games at Stratis Arena inside the Rothman Center. The first game will see the last two NCAA Tournament Cinderella teams in FDU and Saint Peter's face off on Nov. 15 in the Knights first-ever non-conference game on a linear television network.

Here is the complete schedule of FDU on YES Network (subject to change):

Wednesday, Nov. 15 – FDU (men) vs. Saint Peter's – 7 p.m. ET

Wednesday, Nov. 29 – FDU (women) vs. NJIT – 7 p.m. ET

Thursday, Dec. 21 – FDU (women) vs. UNLV – 12:30 p.m. ET

Thursday, Dec. 21 – FDU (men) vs. Fairfield – 7 p.m. ET

Saturday, Jan. 6 – FDU (men) vs. Le Moyne – 2 p.m. ET

Wednesday, Jan. 10 – FDU (men) vs. Chicago State – 7 p.m. ET

Saturday, Jan. 13 – FDU (men) vs. Stonehill – 1 p.m. ET

Thursday, Feb. 1 – FDU (men) vs. LIU – 7 p.m. ET

The reason this deal is so significant is that it could become the start of something bigger in local New York/New Jersey television. In today's TV landscape, live sports have become the crown jewel of networks in their chase to be profitable. One thing missing on networks like YES, SNY, and MSG for those in the tri-state area is a home base for collegiate teams.

SNY has UConn to an extent, but locally, you have the occasional Seton Hall game on FS1 and the random Fordham matchup on MSG. Long ago, Rutgers' basketball and football were a constant staple on the New Jersey Network (NJN), and Channel 9 (WWOR) showed Seton Hall basketball locally.

YES in showing FDU basketball games, even just eight games, is a big step in finally getting a local TV sports network to notice, not just big teams and conferences, but catering to their local audiences along with creating buzz and local pride in the schools that matter in their area. No offense to the ACC, but when YES shows a Saturday afternoon basketball game between NC State and Clemson, you can guarantee that the ratings for that game in New Jersey/New York are sparse...it's not even Syracuse.

Gone should be the days when you have to search ESPN+ for ten minutes (another conversation about their interface for another day) to find a Saint Peter's game. Goodbye to not knowing Fordham's women's soccer is on MSG because the World Poker Tour is on instead, even though the guide says otherwise. The time has come for our local sports TV stations to be local and show the schools and players that matter to their viewers. If they do that, the networks will not be disappointed in the ratings of those games and will be pleasantly surprised at the caliber of play they have been missing out on.