With Ivy League basketball teams posting early upsets over Big Ten and ACC opponents, this season promises to be one of the more exciting ones in recent Ancient Eight hoops history. This winter, though, the entertainment will not be confined to eight gyms tucked away in the Northeast – it will be available in millions of homes all across the country.
The sports television network CNN/Sports Illustrated, which reaches over 21 million homes, will be televising men’s and women’s Ivy League basketball each week throughout the league schedule this season. It is the first league-wide television deal since 1999-2000, when Ivy League basketball aired on satellite programming provider DirecTV.
Jamie Morrison, a remote producer at CNN/Sports Illustrated, said the network will air an 11-game schedule, from Jan. 5 through March 6, that will normally feature one Ivy League contest each week. The schedule Morrison outlined includes eight men’s games and three women’s games, with at least one appearance for all eight Ivy League schools’ men’s teams. Every school except Cornell and Columbia will have their women’s team on the air.
The Ivy League has not officially announced the television package, but an announcement could come early next week. An official at the Ivy League office had no comment on the television package Friday.
Yale basketball is slated for three appearances on the schedule. A double-header on Jan. 19 in New Haven will feature Brown and Yale women’s teams at 5 p.m., followed by showdown between the Eli and Bear men’s teams at 7:30 p.m. The men’s team will make another appearance on CNN/Sports Illustrated March 1, when Harvard travels to New Haven.
In an e-mail sent out Friday morning, the Yale athletic department announced new starting times for three basketball games – the same three Morrison said would be televised on CNN/Sports Illustrated. The e-mail made no mention of the games being televised.
Pennsylvania and Princeton will each have four games telecast, three men’s and one women’s, the most of any of the Ivy League schools. Cornell and Columbia have the fewest appearances, with one apiece.
DirecTV is the main carrier of CNN/Sports Illustrated, but some cable providers also have the network in their programming lineup, Morrison said. Launched Dec. 12, 1996, the network has made a concerted effort to increase the amount of live sporting events it airs, he said. Right now, the events CNN/Sports Illustrated airs include NASCAR, professional lacrosse and NCAA Volleyball.
Editor’s Note: A complete schedule of games to be televised will be printed on Wed., Dec. 12.