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Maryland has launched its own version of Netflix for Terps fans

Back in the old days, kids, there were these things called cable companies. You'd pay them a monthly fee, and in return they'd deliver all the TV channels you could ever hope to watch, all right next to each other.

Cable companies still exist, of course, but the market is more crowded than a Duggar family dinner table.

The entertainment market has become so splintered that you can spend $10 a month on ESPN's suite of networks and not even have access to all of the Worldwide Leader's content.

In that vein, Maryland has become the first college program to launch its own streaming platform, something of a Netflix for Terps junkies. Much like how ESPN has ESPN+, Maryland has Terrapin Club+, an exclusive streaming service for Maryland boosters.

The service debuted today with five shows:

Anyone Can, a standard reality TV trope where a Maryland athlete tries their hand at another sport
Behind the Play, a in-depth breakdown of famous plays of past Terps games
Game Changers, a documentary series focusing on Maryland athletes "who have overcome adversity, blazed trails, recovered from tragedy or made an everlasting mark as Game Changers."
Home, which follows Maryland athletes as they explore their hometowns
The Johnny Holliday Show, where the voice of the Terps interviews important figures from Maryland's past

It's a product that will appeal only to the hardest of hardcore Terps fans, and that's fine. TC+, the school notes, pairs with the Terps-focused magazine that launched earlier this fall and Terrapin Club backstage pass, "a program that gives members exclusive access and behind-the-scenes experiences."

This move is part of a reimagining of the Maryland athletics, from simply a department of the university that competes in sports to an all-encompassing entertainment suite that moves beyond wins and losses, much like how a major musical act will use album releases as simply a jumping off point to bring fans into their content universe.

Many athletics departments have and do put out content like the five shows Maryland is offering, but no one else has parked that content behind a paywall -- in addition to asking their fans to subscribe to a specific cable channel to watch games.

“If you're thinking about this in a different way,” Maryland chief strategy officer Brian Ullmann told the Washington Post, “it's not about encouraging people to give because you need seating benefits. We need to give them different reasons to support.”

It's unlikely we'll see any live or live-ish content on Terrapin Club+, since Maryland signed those rights away to BTN. It's also unlikely, after the free trial ends in January, that TC+ will be a significant revenue driver for Maryland.

And that's okay. Entertainment in 2020 is about finding a niche audience and then milking them for every penny super-serving them with content from every possible angle. Maryland officially joined the fray Monday, becoming the first athletics department to formally view Terps football games like Disney treats Star Wars movies.