Friday, December 18, 2009

Random Thoughts

Haven't posted a blog entry in almost a month, so I owe one.
  • The SEC's new TV contract has been a resounding success so far for out-of-market coverage of the conference. So many more markets received the SEC Network football games and the games available on FSN and CSS were available to many markets outside of the southeastern US. Every game in HD was the cherry on top, minus the ESPN Classic games. Now that basketball season has started, we've seen many of the FSN games get that extra coverage too. Have to see what happens with the SEC Network games.
  • The ACC and C-USA rights negotiations should be heating up soon. A report on Bleacher Report says that FOX has been involved, and that doesn't surprise me. I've heard of a joint FOX/Comcast bid could be in the cards, but we'll have to wait and see what the ACC decides.
  • NBC and Comcast appear to be heading towards a merger. Will be interesting to see what sports NBC and Comcast and leverage. Versus and Golf Channel have NHL and PGA rights that can be worked into NBC Sports existing coverage of these two properties. The Olympics or Notre Dame football on Versus? Could they also bid on the upcoming pay TV rights for the ACC, Big 12 or PAC-10?
  • ESPN and ESPN2 have done a great job getting a ton of early season college basketball in HD. Same with ESPNU, though I wouldn't know that DirecTV is still dragging its feet on offering ESPNU in HD.
  • Speaking of DirecTV, they are now in the regional sports network business, now as the owners of three FSN affiliates (Pittsburgh, Rocky Mountain/Utah and Northwest). Question becomes whether these will end back in FOX Cable Networks hands once again, be sold off to someone like Comcast who has large cable clusters in these areas or stay in-house.
  • DirecTV & Comcast, part II: Versus is still off DirecTV but the two sides have been in negotiations according to Sports Business Journal. Meanwhile, two Comcast RSNs have been on DirecTV without contract for a few months and another two will expire at the end of the year. There haven't been rumblings about removing these stations from DirecTV, but they could be part of a larger deal between the two entities. And no, don't expect CSN Philadelphia to be part of that deal.
  • Finally, the Big Ten announced that they are going to collectively begin considering expansion. Couple schools came out with statements that they were happy with their existing status (Notre Dame & Rutgers), while Missouri's statement was definitely non-committal towards the Big 12 and that they would listen if offered. I'm not convinced that the Big Ten will expand and their statement notes that they may decide not to consider any schools. At least they appear to be doing things above board and more transparent than the ACC was when they offered membership to Miami (FL), Virginia Tech and later Boston College.

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