Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Quick CFB & MBK Notes

Apologies on the number of mistakes in the weekly blog entry keeping track of the 12 day selections and the updates to the schedule each week.  There's probably errors here too.  Will do better.

Football

* If you're keeping track of who picked first for the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12, my belief is these are the weeks each network picked first, including future weeks:
  • Big 12
    • FOX Sports: 8/30-9/1, 9/8, 9/22, 10/6 (Oklahoma-Texas)
    • ABC & ESPN: 9/15, 9/29, 11/17 (Iowa St.-Texas, per ISU), 11/23-24 (WVU-Oklahoma)
  • Big Ten
    • FOX Sports: 9/22, 10/21 , 11/23 (Nebraska-Iowa), 11/24 (Michigan-Ohio St.)
      • Note: Big Ten treats Black Friday as a individual week independent from Saturday
    • ABC & ESPN: 8/30-9/1, 9/8, 9/15, 9/29, 11/3 (Notre Dame-Northwestern)
  • Pac-12
    • FOX Sports: 8/30-9/1, 9/8, 9/29
    • ABC & ESPN: 9/15, 9/22
    • Pac-12: None Yet
* Other random stats that may matter
  • Big Ten primetime games, including weeknights
    • ABC & ESPN: 3 (at least six per season, max of nine)
    • FOX Sports: 5 (max of nine per season)
  • FOX needs one more Pac-12 primetime game to fulfill their maximum.  ABC has met theirs.
  • FOX has met their minimum for Big 12 games on FS1.
  • Combined, FOX Sports and ESPN have to air 25 games nationally on ABC, FOX, ESPN, ESPN2 and FS1.  21 have aired on these networks so far.
  • In-season selections remaining:
    • Big 12 
      • ABC & ESPN: 11 (max of 23)
    • Big Ten (assuming 27 selections each)
      • ABC & ESPN: 16
      • FOX Sports: 12
    • Pac-12 (22 selections each)
      • ABC & ESPN: 11
      • FOX Sports: 11
  • Sixteen American Athletic games have been scheduled to air on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.  At least two more will be added to this count on Black Friday.
* The sheer number of cancellations over the first few weeks, most of them due to the hurricane, might affect the overall number of selections each conference has for a particular network.  To the positive or negative?  I can't say.  I suspect Raycom, for example, will end up with an extra window somewhere, much like they did when ULM-Florida St. was postponed last year & a midseason primetime window popped up.  Even though it wasn't a primetime game, maybe they get an extra selection down the road.

* Conference Championship Saturday might look like the following with men's basketball scheduled from 3pm-9pm ET on ESPN2 and from 3:30pm-7:30pm on ESPN.  Should be able to finalize this on 10/1.

ABC: 12pm Big 12, 3:30pm American, 8pm ACC
ESPN: 12pm Sun Belt, 7:30pm Mountain West

Basketball

* One of the trends that stuck out to me were more Sunday games on FOX & FS1, particularly from the Big East.  14 intraconference games will air on Sundays during the upcoming season, compared to six in 2017-18 and ten in 2016-17.  Three of those in 2016-17 were part of a opening weekend tripleheader on New Years Day.

Two of those Sunday Big East games will air on FOX with the start time dependent on the NFL playoffs, something CBS has done with multiple college basketball selections over the past decade.  Another two will be part of a doubleheader on 1/27/19, which is the Sunday between the NFL conference championship games and the Super Bowl.   Last year it was used for a Big East-Big Ten doubleheader.

I reached out to someone at FOX Sports to find out if the greater use of Sunday was by design but have not heard back from them. EDIT: Per someone with knowledge of the scheduling process, building availability was the reason for the use of more Sunday slots.

There's also four Saturday night games on FS1.  To further the point regarding arena availability, two of those four games (DePaul at Seton Hall on 1/19 & Seton Hall at St. John's on 2/23) happen to have NHL games airing at the home site earlier in the day. A third game, Depaul at Butler on 2/16, falls on NBA All Star Game weekend and would sometime air after the Daytona Xfinity Series race, assuming it airs on FS1.  The fourth, Depaul at Xavier on 2/9, I believe would air after NASCAR practices and, likely, the Daytona ARCA race.

* Four releases from conferences where ESPN Networks have a lot of games (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and WCC) showed an increase in ESPN looking to program the best available games on the mothership.  Will be something to keep an eye on as the season moves forward.

* Also of note: the lack of announcements regarding non-conference games from the Big 12 and ACC.  Would expect something similar from the SEC.  Can't explain it, though I do expect it more from the SEC.

* Per Kansas, their home game vs. Villanova will lead into ESPN's FBS bowl game schedule on 12/15.  We're still waiting to see which game, if any, will lead into CBS's SEC Championship Game coverage on 12/1 with the Pac-12, American and SEC TV schedules waiting to be announced.

* Interesting to see ESPN and Raycom with a wildcard selection on February 26th.  One game airs on ESPN and the other on ACC Network with the choices of Syracuse at North Carolina & Duke at Virginia Tech.  I wasn't sure if these were games that were concurrent telecasts on those two entities for those games like the first Duke-UNC matchup, but UNC's schedule clearly marked those games are ESPN or Raycom where the Duke game is marked ESPN and Raycom

* I'm curious to see the effects of the schedule for the Alliance of American Football affecting the placement of games on CBS Sports Network.  I assume the games will be on Saturday nights, but I can't seem to find any information on that other than the schedule starting on Saturday 2/9 on the broadcast network.

Monday, September 17, 2018

CFB TV Confirmations for 2018 Week 5 (9/29/18)

This post will be updated as announcements come out for start times for 9/29 from the twelve day selection process that most TV networks adhere to.  Please understand that games can be held until next Sunday if a broadcaster wants to wait on the results of the Week Four games.  Most conferences have the possibility of having all or part of their games held for a six day hold of the start time.

The list of available TV windows are based on media websites, TV listings and press releases.  They can change based on the needs of the broadcaster or the conference.


Here's what I guessed based on the available openings (they will prove to be incorrect) and here is the current schedule for the week as several FBS games do have their time & television/webcast assignments already accounted for. 


The number of six day holds available for each conference

ACC: 4
American: 2
Big 12: 4
Big Ten: 4 (I think, only 3 were used last year)
SEC: 2
Pac-12: 4 (2 each for FOX Sports and ESPN)

12pm ABC: Syracuse at Clemson
12pm ESPN: Arkansas vs. Texas A&M
12pm ESPN2/ESPNU: Texas Tech at West Virginia
12pm ESPN2/ESPNU: Temple at Boston College
12pm FS1: Central Michigan at Michigan St.
12pm FSN: Oklahoma St. at Kansas
12pm SEC: UL-Lafayette at Alabama
12pm BTN: Indiana at Rutgers
12pm CBSSN: Army at Buffalo
12pm ACC RSN: Bowling Green at Georgia Tech
12:20pm ACC Network: Virginia at NC State
2pm ESPN3: Massachusetts at Ohio
3pm ESPN+: Kent St. at Ball St.
3:30pm ABC: Baylor at Oklahoma
3:30pm CBS: Tennessee at Georgia
3:30pm ESPN2/ESPNU: Florida St. at Louisville
3:30pm ESPN2/ESPNU: Pittsburgh at UCF
3:30pm FS1: Texas at Kansas St.
3:30pm BTN: Purdue at Nebraska
3:30pm CBSSN: Cincinnati at Connecticut
3:30pm ACC RSN: Rice at Wake Forest
3:30pm ESPN3: Old Dominion at East Carolina
3:30pm ESPN+: Western Michigan at Miami (OH)
4pm ESPNEWS: Nevada at Air Force
4pm SEC: Southern Miss at Auburn
4pm SEC Alt: Tennessee St. at Vanderbilt
4:30pm FOX: Michigan at Northwestern
6pm ESPN: Florida at Mississippi St.
6pm Pac-12: Utah at Washington St.
6pm ESPN+: Northern Illinois at Eastern Michigan
7pm ESPN2/ESPNU: Iowa St. at TCU
7pm ESPN2/ESPNU: Virginia Tech at Duke
7pm ESPN3: Charlotte at UAB
7pm ESPN+: Arkansas St. at Georgia Southern
7:30pm ABC: Ohio St. at Penn St.
7:30pm SEC: South Carolina at Kentucky
8:30pm FOX: BYU at Washington
9:15pm ESPN: Ole Miss at LSU
10pm Pac-12: Oregon St. at Arizona St.
10:30pm FS1: Oregon at California
10:30pm ESPN2: USC at Arizona
10:30pm ESPNU: Toledo at Fresno St.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

CFB TV Guesses for 2018 Week Five (9/29/18)

Here are the games already set for television and/or webcast.  Here are the known available telecast windows.

* Purdue at Nebraska is the Cornhuskers' homecoming game and will air in a mid-afternoon time slot.
* Per several RSN listings, there will be two ACC RSN games.
* ESPN listings have games in the evening at 6pm and 9pm ET, which often indicates a SEC doubleheader.  ESPN can occasionally start a SEC game during CBS's TV window, but no earlier than 6pm ET.
* ESPN Mediazone listings indicate that the SEC alternate will be used at  either 4pm or 7:30pm ET for a second game.
* ESPN Mediazone also lists the primetime window on ABC as starting at 7:30pm ET, which often means a Big Ten game will be picked to air here.
* CBS Sports Network has a MAC selection for noon and an American Athletic Conference window for 3:30pm ET.
* BTN is not scheduled to air a primetime game.  They have a previously scheduled volleyball telecast.
* I originally had a ESPNEWS window written down at 4pm, but that seems to have disappeared from ESPN's listings, so just the 8pm window there.
* All remaining Saturday Sun Belt games were set for ESPN digital properties & won't be part of the Saturday selection process for the remainder of the season.
* I am assuming two Pac-12 windows, but I have no idea to be honest with you.  I randomly placed the two windows at 6pm & 10:30pm ET based on the games I chose plus I didn't place any Pac-12 games on broadcast television, so there isn't a need for any TV window exclusivity.
* I considered Texas at Kansas St. for the 12pm ABC window, but moved it to 3:30pm because I wanted to spread out the Big 12 games a bit.
* I gave ABC the top Big Ten selection (Ohio St. at Penn St.), ESPN2 the top Pac-12 selection (BYU at Washington) and FOX the top Big 12 selection (Baylor at Oklahoma).

12pm ABC: Syracuse at Clemson
12pm ESPN: West Virginia at Texas Tech
12pm ESPN2: Virginia Tech at Duke
12pm FS1: Oklahoma St. at Kansas
12pm ESPNU: Pittsburgh at UCF
12pm FSN: Iowa St. at TCU
12pm SEC: Southern Miss at Auburn
12pm BTN: Central Michigan at Michigan St.
12pm CBSSN: Army at Buffalo
12pm ACC RSN: Rice at Wake Forest
12:20pm ACC Network: Virginia at NC State
3:30pm ABC: Texas at Kansas St.
3:30pm CBS: Tennessee at Georgia
3:30pm ESPN2: BYU at Washington
3:30pm FS1: Purdue at Nebraska
3:30pm ESPNU: Temple at Boston College
3:30pm BTN: Indiana at Rutgers
3:30pm CBSSN: Cincinnati at Connecticut
3:30pm ACC RSN: Bowling Green at Georgia Tech
4pm SEC: UL-Lafayette at Alabama
4pm SEC Alt: Tennessee St. at Vanderbilt
4:30pm FOX: Michigan at Northwestern
6pm ESPN: Florida at Mississippi St.
6pm Pac-12: Utah at Washington St.
7pm ESPN2: South Carolina at Kentucky
7pm ESPNU: Florida St. at Louiville
7:30pm ABC: Ohio St. at Penn St.
7:30pm SEC: Arkansas vs. Texas A&M
8pm FOX: Baylor at Oklahoma
8pm ESPNEWS: Nevada at Air Force
9pm ESPN: Ole Miss at LSU
10:30pm FS1: Oregon at California
10:30pm ESPN2: Oregon St. at Arizona St.
10:30pm ESPNU: Toledo at Fresno St.
10:30pm Pac-12: USC at Arizona

Streaming
Old Dominion at East Carolina
Western Michigan at Miami (OH)
Kent St. at Ball St.
Massachusetts at Ohio
Liberty at New Mexico

Monday, September 10, 2018

CFB TV Confirmations for 2018 Week 4 (9/22/18)

This post will be updated as announcements come out for start times for 9/22 from the twelve day selection process that most TV networks adhere to.  Please understand that games can be held until next Sunday if a broadcaster wants to wait on the results of the Week Three games.  Most conferences have the possibility of having all or part of their games held for a six day hold of the start time.

The list of available TV windows are based on media websites, TV listings and press releases.  They can change based on the needs of the broadcaster or the conference.


Here's what I guessed based on the available openings (they will prove to be incorrect) and here is the current schedule for the week as several FBS games do have their time & television/webcast assignments already accounted for.


The number of six day holds available for each conference

ACC: 4
American: 2
Big 12: 4
Big Ten: 4 (I think, only 3 were used last year)
SEC: 2
Pac-12: 4 (2 each for FOX Sports and ESPN)

7pm ESPN/ESPN or 7:30pm SEC Network (not a six day hold)
Arkansas at Auburn
Florida St Tennessee

12pm ABC: Notre Dame at Wake Forest

12pm ESPN: Georgia at Missouri
12pm ESPN2: Boston College at Purdue
12pm FS1: Nebraska at Michigan
12pm ESPNU/ESPNEWS: Navy at SMU
12pm ESPNU/ESPNEWS: Ohio at Cincinnati
12pm FSN: Akron at Iowa St.
12pm SEC: Kent St. at Ole Miss
12pm BTN: Minnesota at Maryland
12pm BTN: Buffalo at Rutgers
12pm CBSSN: Nevada at Toledo
12:20pm ACC Network: Pittsburgh at North Carolina
12:30pm ACC RSNs: Louisville at Virginia
2pm ESPN+: Western Michigan at Georgia St.
3pm ESPN3: Western Kentucky at Ball St.
3pm ESPN+: Miami (OH) at Bowling Green
3pm ESPN+: Maine at Central Michigan
3:30pm CBS: Texas A&M at Alabama
3:30pm ABC/ESPN: Clemson at Georgia
3:30pm ABC/ESPN/ESPN2: Kansas St. at West Virginia
3:30pm ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU: Northern Illinois at Florida St.
3:30pm ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU: FIU at Miami (FL)
3:30pm FS1: Kansas at Baylor
3:30pm BTN: Tulane at Ohio St.
3:30pm ACC Network Extra: NC Central at Duke
3:30pm ESPN+: Gardner-Webb at Appalachian St.
4pm ESPNEWS: Connecticut at Stacie
4pm SEC: South Carolina at Vanderbilt
4pm Pac-12: Arizona at Oregon St.
4:30pm FOX: TCU at Texas
7pm ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU: Mississippi St. at Kentucky
7pm ESPN2/ESPNU: Louisiana Tech at LSU
7pm FS1: Texas Tech at Oklahoma St.
7pm ESPN3: UNLV at Arkansas St.
7pm ESPN+: Coastal Carolina at UL-Lafayette
7pm ESPN+: Troy at UL-Monroe
7:30pm BTN: Michigan St. at Indiana
8pm ABC: Stanford at Oregon
8pm ESPNEWS: East Carolina at USF
8:30pm FOX: Wisconsin at Iowa
10:15pm ESPN2: Air Force at Utah St.
10:30pm ESPN: Arizona St. at Washington

Sunday, September 9, 2018

CFB TV Guesses for 2018 Week Four (9/22/18)

Good morning.  I've done guesses on the kickoff times for college football games a day before the 12 day selection process starts for several years.  I try to apply what I know with respect to any rules that conference & TV partners have agreed to, along with a lot of best guesses in terms of the priority of where a game sits within the other matchups of the home conference and the overall schedule of games that week.

I'll also have a separate blog entry tracking the selections each Monday.

Here are the games already set for television and/or webcast.  Here are the known available telecast windows.

* Boston College at Purdue will be a 12pm game as it is Purdue's homecoming game.  ESPN Networks have claimed it to air on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.  As a non-conference game, it could air on ESPNU as well, but it was not listed as an option when the Big Ten and ESPN released their early season selections.
* The 12pm CBSSN window is to be a MAC selection.
* This set of picks was made with the assumptions that ESPN has the top Big 12 pick & FOX Sports has the top Big Ten pick and the top Pac-12 Saturday selection, assuming ESPN took Washington St. at USC with the top choice for the week on Friday.
* FOX Sports has apparently chosen both Wisconsin at Iowa and Nebraska at Michigan.  Wisconsin at Iowa was shown with a FOX broadcast network designation during the network's college football preview show and Nebraska at Michigan was noted as airing on FS1 in a press conference regarding a now resolved carriage issue with BTN, Comcast and FOX Sports for Big Ten games
* I'm also aware that Mark Silverman (FOX Sports National Networks President) in the link above said that BTN & FS1 would have every single conference game, but based on the transcript text he had to walk it back a bit.  That's why I gave Minnesota at Maryland to ESPN.  If they don't have it & BTN does at 3:30pm, move NIU-FSU up to ESPN, KU-BU to ESPN2 and UB-Rutgers to ESPNU.  If I were ESPN, and this is somewhat backwards thinking, I would take UB-Rutgers over Tulane-OSU to play the long game as it would satisfy the Buckeyes requirements to BTN (two games on BTN with one being a intraconference matchup, 9/8 vs. Rutgers being that game) and open up the rest of their games, all Big Ten matchups, for yourself.  By extension, FOX Sports too, but you have to think about what's best for your network too. 
* The first two SEC games on CBS were sublicensed from ESPN (West Virginia vs. Tennessee & Georgia at South Carolina) so the possibility of Georgia's first appearance on CBS vs. Missouri was considered, but Texas A&M's strong showing vs. Clemson plus this being Alabama's first game on the network in 2018 pushed me in that direction.  Georgia already has one appearance locked in with the Florida game & I would expect the LSU, Tennessee and Auburn games to receive strong consideration by CBS.
* I gave consideration to Arizona St. at Washington for FOX over Stanford at Oregon, but I believe the latter is more assured to be a pair of 3-0 schools, but this might be a place where FOX could consider using a six day hold.  In the Pac-12, there are four holds available to be used, two by FOX Sports and two by ESPN.
* I ran out of windows for the ACC games.  Maybe Connecticut at Syracuse would replace Ohio at Cincinnati on ESPNEWS.

12pm ABC: Notre Dame at Wake Forest
12pm ESPN: Georgia at Missouri
12pm ESPN2: Boston College at Purdue
12pm FS1: Kansas St. at West Virginia
12pm ESPNU: FIU at Miami (FL)
12pm ESPNEWS: East Carolina at USF
12pm FSN: Akron at Iowa St.
12pm SEC: South Carolina at Vanderbilt
12pm BTN: Tulane at Ohio St.
12pm CBSSN: Nevada at Toledo
12:20pm ACC Network: Pittsburgh at North Carolina
12:30pm ACC RSNs: Louisville at Virginia
3:30pm ABC: TCU at Texas
3:30pm CBS: Texas A&M at Alabama
3:30pm ESPN: Minnesota at Maryland
3:30pm ESPN2: Northern Illinois at Florida St.
3:30pm FS1: Texas Tech at Oklahoma St.
3:30pm ESPNU: Kansas at Baylor
3:30pm SEC: Kent St. at Ole Miss
3:30pm BTN: Buffalo at Rutgers
4pm ESPNEWS: Ohio at Cincinnati
4:30pm FOX: Wisconsin at Iowa
5pm Pac-12: Arizona at Oregon St.
7pm ESPN: Arkansas at Auburn
7pm ESPN2: Florida at Tennessee
7pm FS1: Nebraska at Michigan
7pm ESPNU: Mississippi St. at Kentucky
7:30pm SEC: Louisiana Tech at LSU
7:30pm BTN: Michigan St. at Indiana
8pm ABC: Clemson at Georgia Tech
8pm ESPNEWS: Navy at SMU
8:30pm FOX: Stanford at Oregon
10:15pm ESPN2: Air Force at Utah St.
10:30pm ESPN: Arizona St. at Washington

Streaming
NC Central at Duke
Connecticut at Syracuse
Western Kentucky at Ball St.
Miami (OH) at Bowling Green
Maine at Central Michigan
UNLV at Arkansas St.
Western Michigan at Georgia St.
Coastal Carolina at UL-Lafayette
Troy at UL-Monroe
Gardner-Webb at Appalachian St.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Pay Per View Football Lives On With Oklahoma.

Yesterday evening, Oklahoma announced that their home game vs. Army on 9/22 would air on pay-per-view, both on linear TV and online.  It got quite a bit of backlash & derision from fans of schools not named Oklahoma in my mentions.  Please don't construe this as an attempt to defend the practice of games airing on pay-per-view, though it happens a lot more than you think, though not at the price point of a single game for nearly $60.  Conference USA was behind a paywall for many games until their recent switch to ESPN+, which itself is a monthly pay service.  Some FCS schools still charge for webcasts on a per game basis.

Here are the things that ran through my head last night in no particular order of importance.

1) The (in)stability of the Big 12 around 2011 created the situation of allowing for each school to monetize a package of athletic events, which includes one football game per year, and there's a personal responsibility for each school undergoing a contract negotiation for these rights to be diligent about where they want these games to air.  Oklahoma gets $7 million per year from these rights and to my knowledge, only Texas' payout from the Longhorn Network is more than this.  From a business standpoint, FOX has to figure out how to make money from holding those rights too and they did not elect to have the full time linear TV channel that the Longhorns do.  FOX holds the cards here.  If Oklahoma didn't want their football game distributed via pay-per-view, they could have forced the issue.  FOX could have pushed back on monetary terms.

2) Pay-per-view is a demand driven business and Oklahoma football is no stranger to the medium. Since 2006, only the 2010 season did not have a pay-per-view game.  I can't say its an accepted practice, but both sides seem to feel there's enough support from a sales & viewer perspective to keep doing it.  It seems to be one that has more of a demand than the other schools that FOX has Big 12 deals with, as those schools usually have their games on FSN.

3) FOX can game the system a bit here.  They are the ones who select the member retained games for each school.  They also are the ones who would receive a game if the school declines to monetize it.  Gaming the system in this case could also be due to scheduling considerations as it looks like FOX will have more available college football windows on 9/1, the date of FAU at Oklahoma, compared to 9/22.

4) Big 12 pay-per-view has always been a unique animal in that the option is supported at a national level, compared to the hybrid nature of how SEC & ACC pay-per-view used to operate, where the pay-per-view territory would be limited to specific states and/or TV markets, then viewable on ESPN3 and ESPN GamePlan.  From that perspective, buys are going to come from fans of the road team too and with this year's opponent being Army, there should be might be more interest in purchases of the game from Armed Forces organizations inside the continental 48 (AFN is showing it free of charge outside this area).

Some credit goes to Oklahoma for scheduling well enough to monetize a game that involves a FBS opponent more often than not.  The last time Oklahoma's pay-per-view game was a FCS opponent was 2012 vs. Florida A&M.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

College Sports Scheduling Odds & Ends for Fall 2018

I haven't written anything of note in a month.  Consider this a collection of tweeted items you may have missed.

* ESPN announced several early season event schedules in men's basketball.  Where this does have some effect on the college football schedule are the following dates is on the day after Thanksgiving.

ESPN
The mothership has Oklahoma at West Virginia at 8pm, but has men's basketball from 11:30am - 4pm.  That leaves open the for the possibility of a college football game at 4 or 4:30pm ET.

ESPN2
Men's basketball is scheduled from 11:30am - 6:30pm.  There's also a game at 11:30pm ET.  It does leave open for the possibility of a football game here, but the NIT Tip-Off has not been placed into the TV schedule and both games could fit inside the open five hours here.

Playing one NIT game on ESPN then the other on ESPN2 would could leave the college football window short of 30 minutes (not unheard of with ESPN), but in my opinion, the opening here is wide enough for the NIT games.

ESPNU
Basketball games are scheduled from 4:30pm - 9:30pm, though the 7pm game may move to ESPN3.  Maybe one NIT game slots in here, the other slots in on ESPN2 and ESPN looks for other available men's basketball games to show.  With that said, a MAC game should be played in the early afternoon, maybe around 1pm ET or earlier.

Here's the basketball schedule for the week I'm talking about.  Head to Friday for information.

* Don't expect "Pac-12 After Dark" on the main ESPN channel on back-to-back weeks in mid-October.  ESPN MediaZone listings have a Top Rank Boxing event scheduled for 10/13 and 10/20 had a NBA Special Event, which turns out Rockets vs. Lakers as part of the opening week of the NBA schedule.

Plans by ESPN to televise something else on Saturday night must have been in the works for months.  On 10/13, they have Arizona at Utah on Friday and the following Thursday they have Stanford at Arizona St.  10/13 also has only three Pac-12 games available for Saturday.  10/20 might have a Pac-12 game on ABC or in the afternoon on ESPN since FOX may have limitations due to the potential for NLCS Game Seven in primetime on either FOX or FS1, plus a commitment to air Michigan at Michigan St. earlier in the day.

* Speaking of the MLB postseason, the schedule has come out.  Here's the effects on FOX.

  • 10/6 - No NLDS games for FS1 to show, but they have prelims for the UFC pay-per-view event that evening.  Those could get bumped to F/X, but it would allow for FS1 to show a Pac-12 game later in the evening after the prelims.  FOX has rights to Texas vs. Oklahoma this year, so look for it to have some heavy promotion somewhere.  Part of me wonders if a 3pm start leading into the UFC prelims on FS1 is the plan, or to use it to lead into a Big Ten game to get to the UFC festivities.
  • 10/13 - NLCS Game 2 is scheduled and I believe it would air in the afternoon with ALCS Game 1 in the evening.  An advance listing provided to affiliates did not have any college football on FOX broadcast network on this date, so the MLB game could be airing there after the NASCAR Truck Series race.  In a similar spot last year, FOX had NASCAR Trucks, ALCS Game 2 and Premier Boxing on 10/14/17, leaving FS1 to carry four college football games.
  • 10/20 - Potential for NLCS Game 7 leads me to think FOX would try to use a six day pick for the majority of the college football schedule, regardless of the results of the first two NLCS games.  Yankees-Astros Game 7 last year was far from a sure thing when Houston won the first two games, but FOX played for the possibility of the finale & scheduled Kansas at TCU game as their primetime game. 

    FOX has Michigan at Michigan St. and since it can't be moved to a night game on short notice due to Big Ten rules, FOX would either have to be willing for the possibility of the two games at night, or play the Big Ten game in the afternoon.  I'm betting on the Big Ten game in the afternoon, but the available teams for the NLCS could drive FOX's decision and they'll have an idea by the time 10/20 selections have to be made on 10/8 as both NLDS series will have played three games.  Some combo of the Dodgers, Cubs, Nationals and Phillies (probably the first two teams alone, I tossed in the NL East teams due to market & star power) probably helps FOX clear the decks in the evening.  Any involvement with Arizona, Milwaukee & Atlanta gives them pause. 
  • 10/27 - World Series is on FOX in the evening. They have two CFB windows tentatively scheduled earlier in the day.

* When I saw the split of ESPN3 vs. ESPN+ events for the Southland, Missouri Valley Football and SoCon, I really wasn't sure what to make of it.  The Valley lists some of their Game of the Week streams as airing on ESPN+ where some are on ESPN3, while the SoCon has a consistent game each week on ESPN3.  I don't know if some schools want their productions on ESPN3 instead of ESPN+.  Having North Dakota St. behind that paywall for every game looks to be a planned event.

* FloSports announced that Eleven Sports will be providing them with a programming feed that would include New Mexico St. football and other collegiate events.  A source said that Learfield Sports is the one brokering the deal on behalf of the school, which would make some sense.  When I asked the school about this deal, they said they had not signed a deal with them.  Plausible deniability, but also, Learfield manages this on behalf of New Mexico St.  Learfield's doing the work, not the school.

With that said, along with another conversation I had regarding football games being scheduled for Eleven Sports, it sounds like some of these games will air on Eleven Sports Next, the network's Twitch portal.

* A new addition to Stadium's college football schedule is that each game will air on Stadium's College Football page on Facebook.  This page previously only aired Facebook exclusive games.

* Heading back to college basketball, FOX confirmed that a pair of November men's basketball events from Las Vegas would be in the mix around their college football games.

Thanksgiving on FS1
The Las Vegas Holiday Invitational from 1:30pm - 6pm, followed by the Las Vegas Invitational starting at 7:30pm ET

Black Friday on FOX
The finals of the Las Vegas Invitational (Texas, UCLA, UNC & Michigan St.) will air at 4pm ET, in between Nebraska at Iowa (12pm) & the Apple Cup (8:30pm)

Black Friday on FS1
The finals of the Las Vegas Holiday Invitational will start at 10pm ET, after Texas at Kansas (12pm) and the Civil War (4pm).  Maybe a Big East game gets tossed in there to bridge to the Las Vegas games, or another event.

FOX Sports also picked up the Fort Myers Tip Off (Boston College, Wyoming, Richmond & Loyola Chicago) on November 19 & 21.