The University of Maine’s football and hockey programs will return to the television airwaves this fall thanks to an agreement with WVII ABC 7/WFVX Fox 22.
The station will begin its ninth season of televising University of Maine football and men’s hockey games beginning this fall with three home football games.
The UMaine athletic department and multimedia rights partner Black Bear Sports Properties announced the Black Bears will host Merrimack College of North Andover, Massachusetts, on Saturday, Sept. 18, for a non-conference game. It will then entertain Colonial Athletic Association rivals William and Mary (Virginia) on Saturday, Oct. 16, and Stony Brook (New York) on Saturday, Nov. 6.
All three games will start at noon and be shown live on ABC 7 and the CW-WPXT in Portland. The replays will be aired on the following Monday at 12:30 p.m. on Fox 22.
William and Mary will be UMaine’s Homecoming opponent.
Black Bear Sports Properties is a subsidiary of Learfield IMG College.
“We enjoy carrying the games very much. We’re very prideful,” WVII 7-Fox 22 general manager Mike Palmer said. “It’s not so much about making money. It’s about providing a public service.”
He also said they anticipate televising seven hockey games, which has been the number in previous years.
Justin Barnes, the general manager of Black Bear Sports Properties, said Jim Churchill from The Drive sports talk show on 92.9 FM The Ticket will again handle the play-by-play chores.
Merrimack College will be in its third season in Division I after making the jump from Division II. The Warriors are in the Northeast Conference, but won’t be eligible for postseason play until 2023 because they must complete their probationary period.
The Warriors went 6-5 in 2019, their first year in Division I, including a 42-14 loss to CAA team Rhode Island. They went 0-3 during an abbreviated spring schedule with losses to Bryant (14-7), Sacred Heart (26-9) and Long Island University (31-20).
William and Mary went 1-2 this past spring, sandwiching losses to Richmond (21-14) and perennial Football Championship Subdivision contender James Madison (38-10) around a 31-10 victory over Elon.
UMaine beat William and Mary 34-25 in 2019 after the Tribe had dealt CAA champion UMaine its only conference loss in 2018, 27-20. UMaine has won five of the last six contests between the two.
UMaine topped Stony Brook 35-19 in New York this past spring to take a 5-3 series lead.
It was the first time the teams had met since 2017 when a 35-yard Hail Mary pass on the last play of the game supplied the Seawolves with a stunning 20-19 victory in the regular season finale.
UMaine was picked to finish ninth in the CAA preseason poll, Stony Brook was 10th and William and Mary was tabbed to wind up 11th in the 12-team league.
UMaine opens the season against visiting Delaware at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 2.
Delaware was picked second in the CAA poll and fifth in the Athlon Sports Top 25 preseason poll.