UConn Women Aid SNY Cause

SNY, in its rookie year of televising University of Connecticut women’s basketball, is already reaping advertising sales benefits as the official television home of the Lady Huskies.

The New York-area regional sports network is presenting a 20-game package and a host of shoulder programming around the club that is currently ranked second nationally and has won seven NCAA titles overall under coach Geno Auriemma.

The network has also expanded budgets with a number of clients and dunked new business tied to UConn’s distaff hoopsters.

SNY, which supplanted Connecticut Public Television with a four-year multimedia rights package valued at some $4.55 million, is now offering distribution partners a chance to sell two minutes of local avails per hour in what will amount to almost 350 hours of live game coverage, encores and related programming in the 2012- 13 school year.

“We think we’re bringing value to fans, viewers, the university and affiliates,” said Steve Raab, president of SNY, best known as the cable home of Major League Baseball’s New York Mets.

Announced last May, the new agreement expands SNY’s relationship with UConn. The RSN was already the local television home for the school’s football and men’s basketball programs through rights granted by the Big East Conference to ESPN Regional Television.

Raab said SNY’s first UConn deal helped fill in remaining distribution holes in Connecticut, picking up systems owned by Comcast, Cox Communications and Charter Communications.

Now, the women’s package is opening more doors on the advertising front.

Raab said SNY has expanded budgets with more than a half-dozen local/regional auto dealerships, including Cadillac and Mercedes. Yale New Haven Hospital and Connecticut Lighting Centers have become first-time SNY advertisers.

People’s United Bank, which upped its commitment to SNY, held a meet-and-greet event on Nov. 13 as network team announcers Meghan Culmo and Kara Wolters took photos and signed autographs for fans at the branch in West Hartford, Conn.

Four days earlier, SNY ad clients participated in the program’s initial fantasy camp. Participants were bedecked in UConn uniforms, introduced on the PA system at Gampel Pavilion and played in a full-court game guided by the women team’s coaching staff.

The Lady Huskies are also scoring on the affiliate ad sales level. Jim Simonetti, local media sales manager for Cox Connecticut, called SNY’s obtaining rights to the women’s team “good news for viewers and for a lot of advertisers. There is equal interest for some advertisers with the men’s and women’s basketball teams.”

Cox is packaging Lady Huskies’ local avails along with the units found in men’s basketball and football games that run on SNY, ESPN, ESPNU, Big East Mondays and in/around March Madness, he said.