Community Deserves ESPN on MIT Cable

MIT Cable offers MTV, MTV2, MTVU, (though no guarantee of actual music with three MTV stations) Telefutura, China Central Television, and TVJapan; whether duplicates or foreign channels, MIT shows a desire to appeal to all students. It even offers the NASA channel for those Course 16 NASA dreamers who may watch in awe.

However, one of the gaping flaws in the free MIT Cable is a lack of ESPN. “The Worldwide Leader in Sports” is sorely missed on campus. Almost 20 percent of MIT’s student body participates in least one varsity sport, with a much larger percentage included in club and intramural sports teams. The love for athletic competition is clearly evident on campus.

This oversight is so important it has become a common argument for fraternities when they recruit rushees. “We have ESPN” is a phrase heard all too often as a perk of joining a fraternity that has DIRECTV or any other television provider.

The main reason the Institute has not added the sports network is the cost. However, ESPN is one of the top stations on cable. In fact, ESPN set an all-time cable viewership record for the third straight year, drew the year’s three biggest cable household audiences, and took 13 of the top 15 audiences. Marcus A. Parton ’10 remarked, “MIT is not carrying the most popular channel on cable. I know MIT would rather cure cancer than spend money on its students, but this is a little ridiculous.”

MIT needs to re-evaluate its position on ESPN. Regardless of the increased cost of adding the station to MIT Cable, the lack of sports coverage must be corrected, and soon. The Institute needs to take it upon itself to rectify the situation and give its residents some well-deserved access to Sportscenter, Around the Horn, and Pardon the Interruption.