Arizona Softball fans were thrilled to be seeded No. 2 in the NCAA tournament and were thrilled to welcome ESPN to Hillenbrand, only to be disappointed by almost no coverage by the network.
Although ESPN may argue they not only have their two mainstays, ESPN and ESPN2, they also have ESPN News and ESPNU to catch more sports matchups. Unfortunately, they chose not to put the second-seeded team in the country on one of the stations to which most people subscribe.
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There were games we could grab on the internet on ESPN3. It was fun to have our Ipad, phone, and television all tuned to various softball games simultaneously last weekend. But ESPN3 was a little slow and of course watching on devices. There are regular stoppages in delivery for buffering. Supporting the Wildcats on the internet was a challenge.
The nail in the coffin was Sunday’s Regional title game. It was against South Carolina at 4 PM. Where was the game? It was on the SEC network; those of us in Arizona could not even watch our one remaining local team which was the No. 2 seed.
Late in the game, ESPN cut to Hillenbrand for about 2/3 of an inning. They did show a tight Washington Husky victory and a bit of the UCLA victory, but they never went back to Arizona Softball. No final out, no celebration, no post-game interview. Here is how Arizonans got to see South Carolina vs. Arizona:
This is a team to see and one of the teams with a huge target on their backs. ESPN–not everyone in the country is as enamored with the SEC as your network. Yes, the Pac-12 is the Conference of Champions for a reason, Bill Walton didn’t make it up. Especially in softball.
The Pac-12 was awarded eight spots in the NCAA softball tournament. Arguably the No. 5 UCLA Bruins were the hottest team going into the playoffs, and their games also seemed hard to find. Even as of this writing, UCLA is in the 11th inning of an incredibly exciting Super Regional against Ole Miss, and we are catching it on the internet in Arizona, not on ESPN or ESPN2.
Neither network is airing a live sporting event, so why not show at least extra innings of this great game? During March Madness, CBS and its networks do a pretty good job cutting away to exciting moments and airing local games where applicable.
Look at where the potential Tucson Super Regional title game will be aired on Sunday:
We are three years away from softball returning to the Olympics, let’s give this competitive sport, the top programs, and these incredibly gifted athletes from Tucson some attention.