One of Black College Football’s most important games of 2023 may be behind a $30 paywall. This is the sad reality as the Colonial Athletic Association extended its partnership with the much-maligned streaming service, Flosports.com.
As a result, Grambling-Hampton may be in the purgatory that is Flosports.com and its 29.99/month cost. The MEAC already airs games on ESPN+, but its cost is a much more manageable $9.99/month and $14.99 if you add a bundle with Hulu and Disney+.
One positive of the Flosports.com deal is it is an out-of-market partner, meaning that plenty of schools in the conference strike deals with RSNs and local TV stations. Elon and Maine are two schools with such deals with local over-the-air channels like ABC and MyTV.
The Grambling-Hampton game can take a similar path as one regional sports network makes tons of sense as a broadcaster. As I mentioned on this site before, Yankee Stadium is in Grambling’s blood. Grambling’s yearly games at Yankee Stadium from the 1960s-1980s, especially its titanic clashes with Morgan State, were always important days in the New York City and national sports calendar. With this in mind, the YES Network should broadcast the game.
YES averaged over 368,000 viewers per Yankees broadcast in 2022, with many games coming on weeknights. The viewership in the New York City market would be a huge boost for both schools and offsets the national lack of viewership caused by Flosports’ prices. For the SWAC, the New York City viewers are even more important as it is a market not usually reached by the league.
The Grambling-Hampton game can get even more exposure with a simulcast on PIX11, New York City’s CW station. PIX 11 has been a consistent player in New York City sports television as they broadcasted Yankees games for 53 years and are in their 29th year of televising Mets games. Unlike YES, it is an over-the-air station, which would make the Grambling-Hampton game more accessible in the New York area. As PIX 11 is a CW station, it would not have to choose to air Grambling-Hampton over any college football game aired on the other over-the-air networks.
For both schools to optimize their New York City exposure in their meeting at Red Bull Arena, Grambling versus Hampton needs one of the Big Apple’s regional sports networks to be on board. Luckily, Grambling’s ties to Yankee Stadium can help the Tigers and Pirates get the most out of their Big Apple return.