Kansas State University

Cable spat threatens K-State viewers in KC

MANHATTAN — A national cable television dispute could rob Kansas State fans in the Kansas City area of upcoming televised games.

Unless a pricing dispute can be resolved between the Fox television networks and Time Warner Cable, the cable provider will not be allowed to carry Fox-affiliated channels beginning on the first day of 2010. The FSN Kansas City network carries some K-State games, including Sunday's game against South Dakota.

Fox says it needs to be paid fair market value for broadcast signals that are retransmitted to Time Warner Cable subscribers. Time Warner CEO Glenn Britt said Wednesday the cable operator would agree to binding arbitration to preserve uninterrupted access to Fox signals.

But Fox spokesperson Chris Bellitti said an arrangement was unlikely to be made.

"We are negotiating, but we're not optimistic we'll reach an agreement by Jan. 1," Bellitti said in a statement. "Local sports fans who are Time Warner customers should begin making other plans to see the games."

Approximately 275,000 Time Warner subscribers could be affected in the Kansas City area; the cable provider doesn't offer services to any other region in Kansas.

General manager of K-State Sports Properties Ben Boyle said he would be disappointed if the Kansas City area, which is the Wildcats' largest alumni base, is unable to view a handful of upcoming basketball games.

"Our viewership is at an all-time high with the success of our men's basketball team," Boyle said. "From a viewer's standpoint, I know our fans are excited about what's taking place with our basketball program. They want to see our games."

After Sunday's game, two other K-State men's basketball games are scheduled to air on FSN Kansas City: Jan. 26 at Baylor and Feb. 17 vs. Nebraska. Boyle said all three games can also be seen on ESPN Full Court and ESPN360.

On the women's side, the network is scheduled to air six conference games and the Big 12 tournament.