Shockers basketball fans who don’t have tickets, don’t subscribe to Cox and don’t understand Apple TV can still follow the team – as long as they don’t mind being social.
Even though finding the game on television at home can be challenging, especially for people who aren’t particularly wired, many of Wichita’s sports bars have found ways to show all the games, regardless of where they’re broadcast.
Among them is Deano’s Grill & Tapworks, a bar that opened in October at 9747 E. 21st St. and has recently become one of the hottest Shockers hotspots in town.
The upscale sports bar, which this year became the broadcast spot for the Monday-night radio shows hosted by men’s basketball coach Gregg Marshall and women’s basketball coach Jody Adams, has not missed showing a single men’s Shockers game this season, said owner Tina Giles.
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As the Eagle detailed in a story earlier this week, some Shockers fans are expressing frustration about the difficulty of finding the games on television. Despite the team’s success, the games don’t air on network television as often as fans would like.
Many of the games, such as Saturday night’s game against Drake, air on Cox 22, a station available only to Cox subscribers. A few others have aired on ESPN3.com, which can be viewed on computer screens or using devices such as Apple TV or Roku to stream them onto television set.
Deano’s has figured all that out, Giles said, and uses a combination of devices – including two Apple TV units – to make sure they get all the games shown.
Customers have demonstrated their appreciation by filling up the bar on game nights, especially when the game is being played on the road. Deano’s, which gives away an autographed Shockers basketball during every Shockers halftime, often fills up hours before tip-off. The bar will accept reservations for big parties, but those go fast, she said. All the big tables have been booked for Saturday for days.
The atmosphere in the bar is electric when the Shockers are playing, Giles said.
“There’s lots of energy and excitement,” she said. “During the last game, we were completely full. People were standing up to watch the game. It’s way more exciting that sitting at home.”
Larry Bud’s, which has locations on the east side at 2121 N. Woodlawn and on the west side at 6200 W. 21st St., also is a popular destination for Shockers fans.
Both locations have figured out how to air all the games on their multiple television screens, and both locations also run a party bus to and from Koch Arena on game day. Patrons come into the bar for first-come, first-served $2 vouchers and get door-side drop-off and pickup.
“We get pretty packed for every game, especially since they’re undefeated,” said Kelsie Miller-Whiteside, a manager at the east-side Larry Bud’s. “Usually, it’s a couple of hours before the game when people start showing up – and sometimes even earlier than that.”
Several other popular bars around town welcome crowds for Shockers games, but not as many have figured out how to air games that aren’t broadcast on television. Heroes says it’s about to get the capability to stream the ESPN3.com games. The Pumphouse, though, airs only games that are shown on television.
And still others, such as Fat Tony’s, a bar that boasts a 26-foot-tall screen at 417 E. Douglas, and Wichita Brewing Co. and Pizzeria at 8815 W. 13th St. don’t subscribe to Cox and aren’t able to show the Shockers games that are broadcast on Cox 22, which is carrying five of the remaining 11 games. Those bars say they show only games that air on ESPN.
Just one more game in the regular season – the Feb. 25 game on the road against Bradley – is scheduled for an online-only broadcast on ESPN3.com.