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Storrs — Connecticut Public Television president Jerry Franklin called UConn's decision to move its women's basketball telecasts to SportsNet New York (SNY) "a loss for all of Connecticut."
Franklin learned Tuesday of UConn's decision to end its 18-year relationship with CPTV.
SNY will pay UConn $4.55 million in rights fees for the next four seasons, roughly $1.14 million for each year of the contract.
Franklin said CPTV's bid was $4.537 million, a difference of $18,000.
"I don't think the decision was based on money," he said.
Franklin relayed a conversation he had with Rachelle Rubin, the chief of staff to the president Susan Herbst and executive secretary to the Board of Trustees at UConn, who delivered the news.
"(Rubin) said it was about a new marketing opportunity for the university," Franklin said. "They want the New York market."
Attempts to reach Herbst were unsuccessful, but in a statement released by UConn on Tuesday she said, "This new agreement with SNY will bring UConn women's basketball to more Husky fans than ever before throughout the region and the nation. This is a great opportunity for the university to further showcase our outstanding women's basketball program and reach our enthusiastic alumni base, both inside and outside the state of Connecticut."
Franklin called UConn's decision to go elsewhere "temporarily devastating" to CPTV.
"I am very excited that SNY will be our television home for the next four years," UConn women's coach Geno Auriemma said in a statement released by the university. "This agreement will continue to provide all of our loyal fans in the state of Connecticut an opportunity to watch our team play and will also help us develop a whole new group of UConn women's basketball fans throughout the Northeast and the entire nation.
"SNY will also allow us to showcase UConn women's basketball to a larger audience, which will support our recruiting efforts and help us maintain the level of success in our program."
The press release said SNY will devote approximately 325 hours of coverage annually to UConn women's basketball. In addition to the live games, there will be game replays, an in-season weekly coach's show and a new program called "Geno's Legacy."
This program, which would have two to three episodes annually, would feature interviews with former UConn players who have played a major role in the history of the program and highlight what these players are now doing in their lives.
SNY also televises UConn men's basketball and football.