If a college basketball game is played, but not televised, did it really happen?
It’s the existential question of the day for Arkansas Razorback hoops fans who don’t have a ticket to the Hogs’ 3 p.m. Saturday contest with the Bradley Braves.
The answer, of course, is absolutely.
Tomorrow’s game is the lone game on the Razorbacks’ schedule that is not scheduled to be televised.
If you’re without a ticket, it’s like being transported back to the days of yore when we stayed connected to the Hogs through radio broadcast more often than not.
Like all but the 18,000 who do have tickets, I’ll be listening to the dulcet tones of Chuck Barrett on play by play, and the frenetic energy of Matt Zimmerman on color commentary via the radio broadcast.
Next up for the No. 10 Razorbacks
When: 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17
Where: Simmons Bank Arena, North Little Rock
Next 5 games
Dec. 21 — UNC Asheville 8 p.m. (SEC TV)
Dec. 28 — at LSU 8 p.m. (ESPN2/U)
Jan 4 — Missouri 7:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Jan. 7 — at Auburn 7:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Jan. 11 — Alabama 6 p.m. (ESPN2/U)
I won’t lie. I wish the game were televised, but since I grew up listening to the Hogs on a transistor radio, I’m going to enjoy listening to the broadcast. Maybe wrap a few Christmas presents while I do.
Why isn’t the game being televised or streamed?
The simple answer is Simmons Bank Arena — which I visited a few weeks ago for a fantastic Eagles concert — isn’t outfitted for such a broadcast, and it’s not worth the expense and effort to the University of Arkansas to make it happen for a single game.
Will this circumstance be alleviated in the future? Probably not. The cost for a once-a-year event is too much.
What would help is bringing in a big-name opponent that would attract ESPN to televise the game, but that’s probably too hard to make happen, too.
Arkansas has a hard enough time bringing big-name non-conference opponents to Bud Walton Arena that a game like the famous 1983 contest against No.1 North Carolina and Michael Jordan at Pine Bluff doesn’t seem to be in the cards any longer for Central Arkansas.
A series with the Memphis Tigers might be fun, but if Arkansas were playing home-and-home with a team like that, it should be scheduled for Walton Arena.
Maybe a game with Arkansas State?
No doubt there would be interest within the state, but ESPN wouldn’t bend over backwards to televise that matchup, which is what it would take to get a game at Simmons on TV.
It’s worth playing a game a year in North Little Rock for the 18,000 fans who do get the chance to attend, particularly when most of the students at the UA have headed home for their Christmas break at this time, and so many in Northwest Arkansas are busy with year-end business and activities as the Christmas and New Year’s holidays loom ever so close.
No TV is not an ideal situation, but we’ll survive.
The Hogs’ next game against North Carolina-Asheville will be televised by the SEC Network at 8 p.m. Wednesday.