Fox Sports reversed course Wednesday and announced that tonight’s UCLA-Oregon State basketball game will be televised by FSN Prime Ticket starting at 7.
The Bruins, undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the nation, are making their first Pacific 10 Conference trip of the season. The conference and Fox have a national television contract, and last summer Fox decided today’s Pac-10 national television game would be Arizona-Washington at 7:30 p.m.
In November, UCLA asked Fox for a waiver so the Bruins-Beavers game could also be televised to at least the Southern California audience in the exclusive window. That request was denied and Oregon State declined to move the game to 5:30 p.m. and make the game eligible for television.
On Tuesday, UCLA Coach Ben Howland called the television situation “surprising and disappointing,” and suggested, “we need to get this changed.”
Wednesday afternoon, FSN West communications director Jennifer Johnson said, “While we had selected the 20 UCLA games we would televise in October, when this week hit we looked and said, ‘Gosh, this could be an opportunity.’ We kind of had to scramble to get a crew. It’s just the nature of the business.”
Duane Lindberg, the Pac-10’s associate commissioner of electronic communications, said the conference had done the only thing it could do Tuesday when it requested the waiver from Fox.
“Did we want our conference team that is ranked No. 1 in the country on television? Yes,” Lindberg said. “I wish it was that easy. We set up our conference television schedule in the summer. When we made the selection to choose Arizona-Washington, of course we did not know UCLA would be No. 1.
“This is going to be extremely expensive for Fox and to televise the game is totally their decision. We had no impact. Hopefully the local markets will show a lot of enthusiasm. But you want your No. 1 team broadcast so that there are highlights available to be shown around the country.”
Only Southern California and part of Oregon will get the UCLA-Oregon State game. A Fox Northwest crew of play-by-play announcer Brian Davis and analyst Bob Weiss, a former NBA coach, will do the game.
“We’re obviously very happy,” UCLA spokesman Marc Dellins said.
at Oregon State, 7, FSN Prime Ticket
Site -- Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, Ore.
Radio -- 1150.
Records -- UCLA 13-0 overall, 2-0 Pacific 10 Conference; Oregon State 8-6, 0-1.
Update -- UCLA Coach Ben Howland doesn’t have many negative statistics as a Bruin but he is 1-2 in games at Oregon State. The Beavers are led by former Mater Dei player Marcel Jones, a 6-foot-8 junior forward who is averaging 15.9 points a game. During the 1973-74 season, the Beavers upset a top-ranked Bruins team in Corvallis and broke UCLA’s 50-game Pac-8 winning streak.