Read this post first so you'll have some context about this information.
* Does the requirement for two football appearances from each school, with at least one intraconference game, still stand for BTN? I believe it does, or lets say I've seen or read nothing to dissuade me of that opinion. Frankly, I think FOX would want it around, even if it slightly neuters their own package of games since they have majority ownership in BTN.
* By doubling their coverage of the men's basketball tournament, BTN has essentially picked up the games that ESPN previously carried within the men's conference tournament. This is the same coverage that the SEC Network provides for their conference tournament until the semfinals and final are covered on ESPN. Looking over the three days that ESPN previously carried games (one on Wednesday mid-afternoon, two on Thursday evening and two on Friday afternoon), my expectation is the following:
- No replacement of the Wednesday game. There's nothing to move up of equal value.
- On Thursday, the Big 12 evening quarterfinals could move from ESPNU to ESPN2, and the American Athletic First Round could air in full on ESPNU instead of game 1 on ESPNU and the last two on ESPNEWS.
- On Friday, the American Athletic afternoon quarterfinals could move from ESPN2 to ESPN. If there was a desire to air another conference tournament during the afternoon on ESPN2, the Sun Belt could be moved from an ESPN3 exclusive. The SEC Network has the SEC's tournament and I struggle with moving their tournament off that network, but it is possible that they could leapfrog the American onto ESPN as a simulcast of sorts.
- I had a hard time believing FS1 would get any portion of the conference tournament after looking over the game times that ESPN had. FS1 usually will have commitments to NASCAR on Fridays for practice (either Las Vegas or Phoenix based on the schedule) plus the Big East tournament most years.
* Why is FOX's number of football games more elastic where ESPN's is more concrete? I don't know the exact reason, but there's always variability in the number of home non-conference games you may end up scheduling. If we assume seven home games per school, at 14 schools, you would have 91 regular season games. With 27 games for ESPN, the low end of 24 for FOX Sports and a base number of 40 for BTN, you end with 91 games.
FOX could also be attempting to cover themselves with respect to other programming commitments like MLB, NASCAR, UFC (if renewed). There's also the matter of whether Friday football games will continue to be in future season schedules. FS1 is scheduled to air four of the five Friday games in 2017. The Friday that ESPN is airing a game happens to be one that FS1 also has one.
* I don't have any minimums or maximums around the number of games that will air on any of these networks, with the exception of the ten regular season basketball games on CBS.
* The game counts for both ESPN and FOX Sports in the area of men's basketball are interesting. The number of conference controlled games that previously aired on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNEWS in the regular season each of the past three seasons was either 70 or 71 games, including the five conference tournament games that will air on BTN in the future. If you're comparing the number of regular season games that ESPN Networks and FOX Sports will have rights to, the number increases from 65 games last athletic year to anywhere from 77 to 85 games. It should be noted that 25-26 additional conference controlled games aired on ESPN3 last year, usually non-conference games. It could be inferred that some of the ESPN3 games are being absorbed by the new TV deals of ESPN and FOX Sports, but some of those could end up with BTN or to beef up the BTN+ subscription package, which I guess is still a thing.
* ESPNU appears to be limited to non-conference football and a handful of men's basketball games. I don't have any sense around whether FS2 or FSN is involved on the FOX Sports side. My magic 8 ball says "no" for football & "unlikely" for men's basketball, especially when you consider that FOX doesn't have a RSN that they own or are affiliated with in Illinois, part of Iowa and a large portion of Pennsylvania. FS2 has distribution issues but will have at least two Big 12 non-conference football games and could have one Big 12 intraconference game depending on the number of games played in the AL Championship Series. I would expect FS2 to continue airing a select number of Big East men's basketball games too.
* If CBS is limited to Sundays for their regular season basketball windows, expect FOX to roll with Big East-Big Ten doubleheaders on Saturdays on the broadcast network. Going back to the 2014-15 athletic year, only three of the 25 regular season games on CBS were scheduled for Saturdays and none last season:
- 1/17/15: Michigan St. at Maryland
- CBS had the AFC championship on Sunday
- 12/5/15: Temple at Wisconsin
- Lead-in to SEC football championship pregame show
- 2/6/16: Michigan St. at Michigan
- CBS had Super Bowl 50 on Sunday
* I couldn't get a lot of information about Olympic Sports and women's basketball, other than ESPN's coverage. I would expect BTN to remain involved in that area. As for events on FOX or FS1, I'm less certain on that. They may be willing to let coverage stay with BTN.