|by Jim Amidon • July 19, 2004|
For the first time in its 111-year history, the Monon Bell Classic will be available nationwide via DirecTV when Wabash and DePauw battle this fall in college football's greatest rivalry.
The two schools have entered into agreement with WHMB and 40 Productions to televise the Monon Bell Classic at 1 p.m., Saturday.
WHMB's parent company, Lesea Broadcasting, will air the game on its DirecTV channel (321) as well as live, over-the-air coverage in Central Indiana. The announcement was made today by Jim Amidon, director of public affairs and marketing at Wabash, and Ken Owen, director of media relations at DePauw.
The "Battle for the Bell" was telecast nationally by HDNet last fall, however, to access the telecast viewers needed to own high-definition televisions and satellite equipment and be HDNet subscribers. "This year's arrangement ensures that anyone who has access to a DirecTV signal -- and you'll find it at almost any establishment that shows NFL games on Sundays -- will be able to pull in the game," Owen says.
"It has been our goal for the last decade to get the game on DirecTV, so obviously we're very excited about the agreement we've reached with WHMB," said Amidon.
In the past, the game has been televised on ESPN2 and ABC, was featured on CBS' Sunday Morning, and has twice been spotlighted in Sports Illustrated. ESPN listed the Bell Classic among "college football's greatest rivalries," and the annual DePauw-Wabash clash is also detailed in Rites of Autumn: The Story of College Football, a book by Richard Whittingham.
"The bottom line is that our alumni, students, and parents will be able to tune in the game more easily and in more locations than ever before," said Amidon. "We've televised the game for years, but have done so using old, big dish technology, which has been getting more and more difficult to find over the years. This year it will be as easy as turning on DirecTV and turning to channel 321 to see the game."
The two teams first clashed on the gridiron in 1890 and have met every year since 1911. Heading into the 2004 contest, Wabash has a one-game edge in the all-time series with 51 victories to DePauw's 50. There have been 9 ties.
For more than a decade the two schools have worked together to stage alumni parties across the nation where graduates and friends of the colleges can gather to catch up with friends and cheer on their favorite team. Alumni telecast parties will again held in more than 40 states coast to coast.