SNY has leveraged its new relationship with the University of Connecticut to close a number of distribution deals that gives it complete coverage in the Nutmeg State.
The primary carrier for Major League Baseball's New York Mets, the RSN -- which signed a deal in August to become the official TV home of UConn football and men's basketball that provides for some 300-plus hours of coverage, including 120 game hours -- launched on Charter in the Willimantic area Nov. 1.
The bow on Charter channel 33 gives SNY carriage in and around Storrs, home to UConn's main campus, and pushes its subscriber base past 12 million homes in its broadcast territory of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and northern Pennsylvania.
"We had some outstanding Comcast systems, and never had a relationship with Cox prior to the UConn partnership," said SNY president Steve Raab in an interview. "With Charter, two of their systems had been with us for years, but now that we've launched with their Willimantic system we are fully available to all cable, satellite and telecom households in Connecticut."
Raab credited SNY's rights agreement with the Big East Conference in general and UConn in particular for driving the distribution gains.
"There is a real avidity for this conference and this university. The quantity and quality of our content has great appeal," said Raab, noting that Comcast, which owns a minority piece of and operates SNY, has launched a VOD channel in conjunction with the RSN, around the school's athletics.
UConn Huskies On Demand bowed on Comcast systems in the state last week, with a profile on soccer goalie Josh Ford, the program's all-time shutout king who collected his 50th career win last month, as well as 1st Night, looks at the men's and women's basketball teams' "Midnight Madness" sessions, as the squads officially tipped off practice for their 2010-11 campaigns.
Going forward, Raab said VOD content, including some game encores, classic contests, ancillary programming and additional original fare that doesn't appear on the linear network, will also be available to SNY's other affiliates.
Charter customers in northeast Connecticut can now watch SNY's exclusive and comprehensive coverage of live Huskies football games, coach Randy Edsall's weekly press conference, post-game shows, game encores and the Huskies Power Hour, a 60-minute cutdown of the week's contest.
The launch also comes in time for the network's in-depth, exclusive basketball coverage of the Huskies' 2010-11 season, which will begins on Nov. 12, when Jim Calhoun's Huskies battle the Stony Brook University Seawolves at 7 p.m. SNY's exclusive men's basketball schedule, spanning at least 13 contests, will feature Big East conference matchups against Notre Dame, Georgetown, Louisville and Rutgers.
The package, which doesn't encroach on Connecticut Public Television's long-running deal, also calls for one UConn women's game, as well as exclusive presentation of the second-round of the Big East Conference's distaff tourney, which figures to include the Huskies. Led by All-American Maya Moore, the women's squad is the two-time defending NCAA champions.
SNY will also feature Calhoun and women's head basketball coach Geno Auriemma on the network's signature series SNY Spotlight, hosted by Garry Apple.
The network will also serve up a comprehensive season preview and review specials, pre-, halftime and post-game shows for select contests, and encores of all the matchups that air on its air.
"The University of Connecticut is pleased that SNY will now be carried on Charter Northeast," said UConn director of athletics Jeffrey Hathaway in a statement. "This was obviously a critical geographical area for us as Charter services our Storrs campus and surrounding communities. We express our appreciation to the management of both SNY and Charter Communications for all their hard work in making this possible, so that Husky fans in northeastern Connecticut can enjoy all of the UConn games and additional programming on SNY."