Monday, May 07, 2012

Colgate at Lehigh in November: Jim Rome Approves

Today, CBS Sports Network and the Patriot League announced their two-game national broadcast schedule for Patriot League football, and it had a major surprise.

One of the games listed on their schedule was none other than the Lehigh/Colgate game on November 10th.

What's surprising not was that a Lehigh game appeared for national broadcast - after all, last year's Lehigh/Colgate game up in Hamilton was broadcast on the CBS Sports Network as well.  It also wasn't surprising that Jim Rome, CBS Network's star power, gave the OK for the game as well.  (Well, we don't know that Mr. Rome has say over everything broadcast on CBSSN, but we can speculate, of course, right?)

No, what was surprising was that this broadcast will be the first nationally-produced broadcast of a football game in Murray Goodman stadium.  Really.

For just about the last 15 years, all of Lehigh's home games have been broadcast locally, either through WFMZ 69 or on Service Electric 2 in the Lehigh Valley.

Those broadcasts are sometimes picked up to air on national TV networks such as the Fox College Sports group of networks (Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh, Fox College Sports East, and others).

In the Patriot League, Lehigh was the first team to negotiate its own regular national TV distribution of home games, with Lafayette soon following.  In recent years, other Patriot League schools have also arranged for local broadcasts of their games, such as Georgetown, Holy Cross, and Colgate.  (Bucknell is the only school without a local station to cover them.)

When Lehigh hosts Lafayette, the broadcasts in recent years have been done with two camera crews: one from WFMZ 69, and the other from the Lafayette Sports Network.

With this CBS Sports Network's broadcast, though, this pattern of home games being covered by the local TV networks is finally broken.

Lehigh has had games televised nationally before, but they all took place at Taylor Stadium in the days before TV took over the college football world.

In the 1970s, ABC Regional used to televise some Lehigh/Lafayette games, and in 1993, in the early days of ESPN2, a Lehigh/Lafayette was broadast nationally as well - though with WFMZ 69's camera and announcing crew, which included former Lehigh QB Kim McQuilken and Rich Lerner.

That will be different than this November's game, which will have CBS Sports Network's announcing crew at the game.

Does that mean that the rest of Lehigh's home games, all slated with a 12:30 start time, will still be televised by SE2 and WFMZ 69? 

"The remainder of Lehigh’s television football package for the 2012 season will be announced at a later date," says Lehigh's release, so we'll have to wait and see.

The other game that will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network is Lafayette's visit to Bucknell at noon on September 22nd.

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