My reaction to UConn's announcement to today's announcement about the deal between SNY and UConn was sort of meh. UConn basically gets the Rutgers deal + some additional basketball games, which is odd considering that Piscataway is physically located in the New York City market and Storrs isn't. SNY does get to fill some additional winter programming hours for when the Mets are off.
Yeah, this is a mild annoyance, but SNY's college sports coverage is still a work in progress anyway. The New York market has interest in the Big East in general and UConn sports when their various programs are performing well, but they're not even all that popular in Fairfield County (the part of CT that borders New York). Just get some more Rutgers basketball games on the channel and call it a day.
However, this deal suddenly makes perfect sense when you scroll down to the very last paragraph of SNY's presser.
In addition, Comcast plans to expand SNY carriage for its customers throughout the Nutmeg State, launching it before the first UConn football game in areas of the state serviced by Comcast where SNY hasn't before been available, including the Middletown, Clinton, Groton, Norwich, Old Lyme and Vernon areas.
That's the important angle here. Comcast owns half of SNY, and is now pushing it deeper into parts of Connecticut that are wilder about UConn sports. It's a complicated situation because the state is divided between the NYC, Boston, AND Hartford markets, but I think this New York Times story is a good insight into the relevant geography. If you look at their Yankees/Red Sox map of Connecticut, you'll see that SNY is now pushing into areas of the state that are not traditionally influenced by the New York media market. Given SNY's New York-centric content, they need a draw in those new cable systems beyond any residents who already like the Mets and other NY teams. Hence, the deal.