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MailTribune.com
  • The Ducks game is on ... in Ashland

    Ashland Fiber Network is the only provider of the Pac-12 Network in all of Jackson County
  • The Oregon Ducks football game will be on television this weekend.
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  • The Oregon Ducks football game will be on television this weekend.
    You just won't be able to watch it ... that is, unless you live in Ashland or plan on traveling there.
    Because the new Pac-12 Network has yet to reach a deal with Charter Communications, DirecTV or Dish Network, most southern Oregonians can not tune in as the No. 4 Ducks (1-0) host Fresno State (1-0) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
    The only place in Jackson County where fans can see the action will be in Ashland, where customers of Ashland Fiber Network can access the Pac-12 Network.
    The Oregon game can be seen on channels 87-1 and 88-1.
    Meanwhile, Oregon State (0-0) hosts No. 13 Wisconsin (1-0) at 1 p.m. Saturday. That game can be seen on FX.
    The situation figures to be a big victory for Ashland bar owners and a big loss for those inconvenienced by it.
    At RedZone Sports Bar N' Grill in Ashland, co-owner Austin Loreman said he expects a large crowd on Saturday. His place has 63 seats and 14 flat-screen televisions.
    Just as important, his business has Ashland Fiber Network — and not every bar in Ashland does. Call your preferred hangout place before heading out.
    "It's unfortunate for most people, but from a business standout it is a positive," Loreman said. "From a fan perspective it's hard."
    Louie's Restaurant & Bar manager Tom DuBois said his employer had a "nice crowd before halftime" last Saturday when Oregon played Arkansas State, a contest that was broadcast on ESPN. The Ducks made the game less interesting by racing out to a 50-10 lead after two quarters. Louie's (which is open to all ages until 10 p.m.) has 65 seats and seven flat-screen televisions. And come Saturday afternoon, those TVs will be lit up with whatever eye-catching uniform combination Oregon rolls out next.
    "We'll staff for it like we always do," DuBois said. "We're always full up for Ducks games."
    Even though Fresno State doesn't figure to be much more of a challenge than the Red Wolves, Oak Tree Northwest Bar & Grill owner Gary Allen said that won't matter.
    He watched as Oregon supporters flooded his business in 2010 when the Ducks played at Washington State. The Cougars entered that game with a 1-4 record (they finished 2-10), but that didn't curb anybody's enthusiasm.
    Just as important, the game was on Comcast SportsNet Northwest (which is exclusive to Ashland in Jackson County).
    "It ended up being one of the busiest days of the year," said Allen, whose place can hold around 80 customers comfortably and will feature Oregon's contest Saturday. "People were coming down from Grants Pass and Eagle Point and we were having to turn people away."
    Negotiations are ongoing between the Pac-12 Network — which began broadcasts on Aug. 15 — and cable providers. If the two do not reach a deal by next Saturday, Ducks fans will run into the same dilemma. Oregon hosts Tennessee Tech and the game can be seen on the Pac-12 Network.
    In the meantime, bars outside of Ashland will have to find something else to show on their TVs.
    "That's not going to make the Ducks fans happy at all," Chadwicks Pub and Sports Bar manager Julie Tolar said at the Medford restaurant. "Ashland is quite a ways to drive, especially if you are going to a sports bar to watch a game."
    Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email djones@mailtribune.com
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