Roots Sports Network aired its first Sam Houston State men’s basketball game Monday at Johnson Coliseum.
The network teamed up with Legacy Sports Network to broadcast the game between SHSU and Lamar. The game reached the Houston market, airing on Direct TV, AT&T U-verse and Comcast Xfinity.
“We reached out to Roots Sports just to see if there would be a possibility of getting the game on live and they had the time available for us,” Assistant Athletic Director of Media Relations Jason Barfield said. “It is something we’re hoping to turn into a partnership for something long term for other sports down the road.”
He added how he could see more RSN coverage on SHSU sports and in return, add fans to the stands with time.
“With anything, if you see something start growing, you can add to that,” Barfield said. “You put the games on TV, people start seeing it and they want to be a part of that.”
This was the first RSN broadcast at SHSU. The Bearkats had one football game on RSN in the fall at Houston Baptist.
“It not only helps Sam Houston State but our basketball program as well,” Associate Director of Facilities Ed Chatal said. “I think the coliseum is one of our most important facilities on our entire campus. As some of my sports colleagues were telling me, the Johnson Coliseum is the ‘crown jewel of the Southland Conference.’”
Representatives of Suddenlink, which serves as the cable provider for Huntsville and does not carry RSN, were also in attendance at the game, giving free popcorn to the first 100 fans. They also brought the Walker County Boys and Girls Club to the game and each child received a Suddenlink t-shirt.
“We want to get more involved with Sam Houston and more involved with the school,” Randall Upshaw, Market Segment Manager of Suddenlink communications, said.
Upshaw would not comment on complaints toward Suddenlink regarding channels such as RSN not in its TV listings.
Freshman criminal justice major Amanda Witt said she found it weird that Suddenlink was at the same game as RSN’s first broadcast at SHSU.
“They’re trying to give us free stuff and win us over when all it would take to win us over is to play our sports on TV,” Witt said.
Barfield noted this could be a step in the right direction for Suddenlink to add RSN to its channels.
“As [RSN gets] more of these games, they got the Rockets, they got the Astros, as they start adding local colleges that just kind of adds to the excitement people have for the network,” Barfield said. “It only helps with negotiation to get things done.”