Like many football fans across Big Sky Country, I am upset that (apparently) the University of Montana Grizzlies and Montana State University Bobcats playoff football games won’t be shown on television in Montana.

I mentioned this in my highly read “Just Football” column yesterday and linked to a story in the Missoulian newspaper.  Since then, the publicity about ESPN only showing the games on ESPN3, which is an internet-based channel, has grown tremendously.

There’s a Facebook page petition “Petition to have ESPN Have Feeds of FCS Playoff Games” that you can access HERE. Over 10,000 have signed up!

The three members (Two Democrats and one Republican) of the Montana Congressional delegation contacted ESPN – which is monumental in itself because they don’t agree on much of anything these days.  

Most Montana news organizations have stories about it.

As Vice President Joe Biden would say, “This is a big $%#@ing deal.”  So, yes fellow Montanans we have a right to be mad at ESPN.

I contacted ESPN with my concerns and received this response:

Thank you for contacting ESPN.

The following ESPN3 providers carry ESPN3 in Montana: 3 Rivers Communications, Range Telephone Cooperative and Triangle Communications System.  A full list of current affiliated providers nationwide for ESPN3 can be found by visiting

ESPN is working diligently with other providers to offer the network to as many fans as possible.  Fans who do not receive their service from any of the above can call their provider and request that they offer ESPN3 to their subscribers.  For CenturyLink subscribers, please call 877-348-9005.  For Optimum, contact Customer Service at 866-575-8000.

This year, ESPN3 is delivering the most number of FCS Championship games ever distributed live nationally.  The network is also showing games that may otherwise not have been televised, and with a nationwide audience, allows for displaced fans to now have access to their teams.  For more information about ESPN3, please see below.

About ESPN3

ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, a 24/7 destination that delivers thousands of global sports events annually and accessible online via It is currently available to approximately 70 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider. The network is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks. It is also accessible through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app through an affiliated provider.



ESPN Viewer Response

Considering I received the response from ESPN just a few minutes after sending in my concerns, they apparently were ready for the complaints with a generic letter that would make our elected officials proud.

Keep contacting them! Here’s the link.

I’m hoping that just maybe Optimum Cable will end up carrying the games (they are new in Montana and need some public relations work).  Ultimately, it would be better for ESPN and for Montana if a local or regional television network teamed up with ESPN to televise the games – local advertisers would buy a lot of ad time.

Ultimately, it’s all about money to ESPN.

I’m sure the voice of ESPN/ABC Saturday night football (and former Montana resident) Brent Musburger would lend his support to this Montana cause, too.  Maybe he can walk down the hall and knock on some doors…or make a couple calls…

It’s not over folks, so don’t give up!

Follow The Western Word on Twitter @TheWesternWord.

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