Tom Smart, Deseret News
PROVO — Grateful voices echo from all over the globe.
BYU fans finally have access to BYU sports, thanks to ESPN, BYUtv and the Internet. It could be called a modern wonder, a true World Wide Web.
Mike Ellis, a consultant for a contractor in India, watches every BYU game on BYUtv or ESPN through a Slingbox since the country doesn't allow direct access. Stephen Christensen from New Mexico listened to the BYU-Oregon State game in Morocco. Russell Memory reported he caught the BYU-Idaho replay in the Dubai airport a few days ago. Allan Reay says he has tuned in BYU football every week from Edmonton, Canada.
If it's exposure that BYU wanted by going independent, mission accomplished.
And for that, many BYU fans around the country are very grateful this Thanksgiving Day.
U.S. Air Force Capt. Tyler Robertson has watched multiple games on BYUtv in tents from multiple locations in Afghanistan, approximately 7,400 miles from Utah. "I love the ease of watching games on BYUtv while deployed, as they are a great escape from the chaos that often exists," said Robertson.
Another Air Force captain, David R. Smith, has seen BYU football this season from Kandahar, Afghanistan, because of BYUtv.
A couple friends went into a restaurant in Cancun and watched BYU play Utah. A golf professional in Denver has a Cougar football game tuned in at the pro shop, and a few club members have started to follow how Riley Nelson and Jake Heaps are doing.
On the north shore of Oahu in Laie, a die-hard BYU fan watched the Cougars play basketball against the BYU-Hawaii Seasiders. Trent Hatch, of El Paso, Texas, has about 20 fans over to his house to watch BYU football every week.
Said Hatch, who works daily across the U.S. boarder in Juarez, "Access to the games has really been convenient compared to the Mountain West channel without the added cost to buy the Mtn. Only feedback for BYUtv would be to have games broadcast in HD."
Actually, with a $59 Roku device and the Internet, BYUtv is available in HD.
Reed Carr saw a delayed BYUtv broadcast of BYU-Oregon State while with Hope Arising on a humanitarian trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Fan Gabe Larsen watched BYUtv sports live from Saudi Arabia. Nathaniel Hancock reported, "To date, thanks to BYUtv live, ESPN live or BYUtv replay I have watched BYU games in New York (UCF), in China (SJSU) and on a plane (Oregon State via Delta Wi-Fi). It has been awesome to have BYUtv, especially for those of us out of Utah."
From Jeff Jardine, of Falls Church, Va., "Being able to watch BYU football on ESPN has made it relevant. Even though the loss to TCU was slightly devastating, it was outstanding for my colleagues — most of whom are ACC fans who have never seen BYU play before this season — come to me and tell me how I should help BYU football improve (same thing happened in the Texas game). I tell them that I have Bronco on my speed dial and I'll make sure and mention their suggestions to him."
Joe Bjarson, of Farmingdale, N.Y., has a houseful of fans to his house for every BYU game. Jeremy Hansen has the same experience in Charlotte, N.C. Julie Rowse watches Cougar football on BYUtv with her iPad. "It's awesome," she said.
Charlie Smith, vice president of Global Operations for Tahitian Noni International, told me Tuesday he watches BYU football in Tahiti.
"I love it. Being on ESPN that much has been great access to BYU football," said Aaron Brown, assistant professional at the Cherry Creek Country Club in Denver. "I turn it on and a lot of the guys have joined in watching, they've even become BYU fans."
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