THE FRONT ROW with MARK NELKE: All this streaming makes me scream

PlutoTV, you will be missed.

Kind of.

Of course, it was difficult to browse past the cute cat channels and other nonsense to access the live sports programming on Big Sky Conference channels.

And yes, it was frustrating dealing with the streaming issues, waiting for the stream to catch up with the live action.

And you were at the mercy of the advertisers – some really good, some Homeric, some pretty entertaining, some all of the above.

But it was free. So you support it.

And he was available. Before Pluto came and tipped into the Big Sky in 2017, you didn’t have a chance to watch many of these games unless you went.

So it was interesting to see the Big Sky Conference announce a new media rights deal with ESPN.

Home games for conference members of football, basketball and many other sports will now be shown on ESPN +, rather than PlutoTV.

One advantage – ESPN + is generally a better streaming service than Pluto.

One drawback – ESPN + costs around $ 6 per month, or $ 60 per year.

Pluto cost $ 0.

In addition to a little more money from this deal, Big Sky officials are touting that more games will be on the ESPN “family of networks.”

Starting this fall, ESPNU will broadcast two regular season football and one men’s basketball game each year, as well as the Big Sky men’s and women’s basketball conference title games on one of the channels. ESPN.

The men’s title match was already broadcast on ESPN. The women’s title match was on PlutoTV.

I don’t think most fans care if the games are on Pluto or ESPN or Uncle Archie’s pirate channel, as long as they can find them somewhere on TV or the internet.

And the flow works.

Root Sports has been broadcasting a Big Sky football game of the week every Saturday since 2014, and that deal will run for one more year. A new deal could be made with Root on top of the ESPN + deal – or maybe not, we’ll see.

Otherwise, we’ll go from one Big Sky football game each week – typically involving Idaho, Eastern Washington, and / or Montana – to two football games all season long.

Now, that might not be a big deal if you are somewhere where Root or a streaming device is readily available.

But otherwise…

“Sit down, Fred, while I download this app to your TV. Don’t worry, you won’t get the other shows your wife doesn’t want you to watch. “

SO NOW it comes down to the cost.

If you’ve ever walked past a latte stand and seen the queue – even long after dinner – you know a lot of people have a few extra bucks to spend every month. Now they can channel that money into, say, an Idaho-Northern Arizona football game, or a Montana-Eastern Washington basketball game, or even an Idaho-Idaho State volleyball game.

What bothers me, other than being a little more ringed to watch something I was getting for free, is that with TV / streaming you can’t just pay for the channels you want, and not pay for channels you don’t want to want.

The Pac-12 games were on Root Sports, which was great for us in the West, until the league decided Root wasn’t reaching enough people and created its own network.

But you can’t get the Pac-12 networks on DirecTV – but you have to have DirecTV to get the NFL Sunday Ticket, in case your favorite team is an “off-market” team. And there is no competition for the ticket, so subscribers have to lean in and say “Thanks sir, can I get another one.”

You can get the Pac-12 networks on a streaming service, as well as several other channels that you already pay to watch on DirecTV. So you end up paying extra, basically for the channels you don’t want, to get the channels you want.

Seems like in this age of high tech, you should be able to watch anything you want – and only what you want – as long as you’re willing to pay for it.

If you want to watch the local news where you live, click a button and “Ka-ching!” – a few dollars are added to your “basket”. If you only want the Dodgers games but not all the MLB games, click a button and add to your cart.

Maybe someone could make some kind of electronic card, one that you could plug in and receive every channel known to man – as long as you’re willing to pay for it.

So in the end, yeah, I’m sure I’m going to shell out some money for ESPN + in the not too distant future – maybe to be listed as “research” on the monthly expense report – and get my Big Fix. Sky Conference that way.

Even if that means missing KittenTV.

Mark Nelke is the sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 664-8176, ext. 2019, or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @CdAPressSports.

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