by Mel Bracht Modified: March 7, 2008 at 6:41 am •  Published: March 7, 2008
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A week after providing unprecedented TV coverage of the Class A and B state basketball championships, KSBI-52 (Cox 9) is featuring the big schools this weekend with 10 games from the Class 5A and 6A championships at the Ford Center. Coverage includes four semifinal games tonight and all four championship games Saturday.

Although the station has been criticized for not airing games from the smaller classes at State Fair Arena, KSBI President Brady Brus said that wasn't possible.

"If the schedules and logistics would have allowed, we probably would have done a couple of games at the fairgrounds and then gone over to the Ford Center,” Brus said.

Cox Communications set the standard for state tournament coverage in 2005 by airing 28 games from five classes, although some of the games were taped.

Brus said he has had discussions with the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association about a new television contract. The current three-year contract ends this spring.

Danny Rennels, OSSAA executive secretary, said coverage from KSBI "had been good so far.” He said he received "a lot of positive comments” from small schools after KSBI aired nine games from the A and B state tournament. KSBI averaged a 1.1 rating, topped by a 1.8 rating for the Class A girls final.

Cox Communications spokesman Christine Martin said the company is evaluating whether to submit a bid for the rights. Cox had held the TV rights until the OSSAA awarded the contract to KSBI in fall 2005. At the time, Rennels said the OSSAA made the switch because "KSBI covered more country folks.” Cox has about 500,000 subscribers in the state, primarily in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Brus said KSBI can reach a potential of 1.4 million homes through its over-the-air signal, cable and DirecTV.


by Mel Bracht
Copy Editor, Sports Media
Mel Bracht is a copy editor on the presentation desk and also covers sports media. A 1978 graduate of Indiana University, Bracht has been a print journalist for 34 years. He started his career as sports editor of the Rensselaer (Ind.) Republican...
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What to watch:

Men's basketball: In an ACC showdown, No. 6-ranked Duke hosts No. 1 North Carolina at 8 p.m. Saturday on ESPN (Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale).

The Big 12 regular season wraps up this weekend as OU hosts Missouri at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on KOCO-5 (Terry Gannon and Fran Fraschilla), and OSU plays at No. 5 Texas at 3 p.m. Sunday on ESPN (Ron Franklin and Fraschilla). Other Saturday telecasts include No. 5 Kansas at Texas A&M at 3 p.m. on KWTV-9 (Jim Nantz and Billy Packer) and KOCB-34's doubleheader of Baylor at Texas Tech at 12:30 p.m. and Kansas State at Iowa State at 3 p.m. and.

Prep basketball: The large school state championships from Ford Center are featured on KSBI-52 with four semifinals today (4:30 p.m., 6A girls; 6 p.m., 5A boys; 7:30 p.m., 6A boys; 9 p.m., 6A girls) and four finals Saturday. (1:30 p.m., 6A girls; 3:15 p.m., 5A boys; 7 p.m., 5A girls; 8:45 p.m., 6A boys). Robert Allen, Bob Cortes and Chris Johnson are the announcers.

NBA: The Hornets play at surging Houston at 7:30 p.m. Saturday on NBA TV. San Antonio goes on the road to play Denver at 9:30 tonight on ESPN and Phoenix at 2:30 p.m. Sunday on KOCO-5.

Auto racing: Jimmie Johnson will try to become the first driver to win three consecutive races at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Kobalt Tools 500 at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on KOKH-25.

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