Written by Corbett Smith
Mix-up scuttles Martin's, Bowie's hopes of playing in televised game, angers coaches
Coaches aren’t happy contest was moved to Saturday
It sounded like the perfect scenario.
A marquee game, between two of the Arlington ISD’s top teams, getting moved so it could be on national television.
That’s what district athletic director O.J. Kemp thought would happen after he was contacted by Paragon Marketing — a sports production company in the Chicago area.
The company was interested in producing the Arlington Martin (3-0) and Arlington Bowie (2-1) game for television. Kemp — along with the teams’ coaches, Martin’s Bob Wager and Bowie’s Kenny Perry — heartily agreed to move the game from Thursday to Saturday night, believing the game would be on one of ESPN’s multitude of channels.
“That was our impression,” Kemp said. “They didn’t know what channel it was going to be on, but they were an ESPN affiliate, and we thought it was an ESPN game. I said that’s great; it’s great exposure for our kids.”
Instead, the game will be shown on demand on tape delay, available to Verizon FIOS customers early next week.
“Why in the hell, in our right minds, would we change a game from Thursday to Saturday for people to watch it on TV when the people that live here don’t have the channel?” Perry said.
What happened, according to Paragon account executive Robin Kelner, was just a misunderstanding. While Paragon does produce ESPN games and will use some of the same freelancers who do ESPN games, it is not an ESPN company.
“We didn’t know where the game would eventually live, but there was never intent for it to be on ESPN nationally,” Kelner said. “We let them know at the time that it would be a local game, but that somehow got lost in translation, which is understandable when the ESPN name is mentioned in the production.”
So now, Martin and Bowie will have short weeks next week.
Perry didn’t seem too worried about the short week; Bowie hasn’t played on Friday so far this season.
But Wager has another tough game, Arlington, next week. He’s unhappy about it, but no matter, he said.
“Whether they play the game on ESPN or at River Legacy Park, it’s not going to diminish the game for us at all,” Wager said. “It’s still huge.”