Random TV related items since we're halfway through the season.
- With the ACC's rights switching to ESPN exclusively next year, I'll be interested to see if ESPN sublicenses any ACC games to other national entities. The press release notes that they have the ability to do so. We know that Raycom will be able to syndicate their content to both over-the-air and cable entities as part of separate packages. ESPN3 was the missing component and now that it is available in many more ACC areas, will the number of ESPN3 exclusives decrease, particularly the number of conference games that the online network picks up?
- Conference USA still does not have their ESPN deal in place. The silence is defeaning on that front, but if there is more realignment to be done, maybe that is the holdup. Is the Fresno St./Nevada/WAC buyout discussion part of the issue? I can't see C-USA taking all their content to CBSC, unless there is a deal with a larger cable entity. I also assume that ESPN is outside of their exclusive negotiating window with C-USA, if there is one, and that others can solicit offers for the conference's rights.
- The Sun Belt is nearly halfway through their current contract with ESPN. Unlike other conferences with ESPN, the Sun Belt went for the short term on their agreement, signing just a three year deal. Could be some great foresight by Wright Waters if they can get a better deal as other conferences around them are shifting membership.
- I'm not sure that the Big Ten will allow night games in November. Adding lights at Michigan Stadium and bringing in Nebraska might necessitate that they play more night games in September and October. Maybe that the Big Ten Network and ABC/ESPN coexist in those slots as the nighttime slot seems to be an exclusive slot today.
- I counted fifteen games that would air on FSN/CSN regional networks for Pac-10 teams, both conference and OOC games vs. FBS teams. That doesn't include seven more games where Pac-10 teams hosted FBS teams. They have enough content to do a Pac-10 network, especially when you look at how many Pac-10 men's basketball games end up on regionally televised. Add in Utah and Colorado, plus the compression of the schedule due to the last week of the season claiming a conference championship in football, and there should be at least 1-2 football games each week that a Pac-12 network would air. As it stands today, FSN Rocky Mountain should be thrilled to continue their relationship with Colorado moving to the Pac-12. Wonder if Utah can get one done with the RSN.
- We got a glimpse of the willingness of the Pac-10 to become more proactive in moving games, time slots, exclusivity, etc. late last year. They've done a better job with it this year. Kudos to the presidents and Larry Scott for making those changes.
- I don't believe the mtn. is going anywhere. Could Comcast sell of their share to someone else, maybe back to CBS College? Yep. Might be necessary if/when Comcast gets approval to purchase NBC Universal. Even with BYU and Utah leaving, there will be a net gain in homes served by the mtn. once Fresno St., Nevada and Boise St. come on board. When that happens for the first two schools is anyone's guess.
- Speaking of the WAC, extracting the appropriate pound of flesh out of Fresno St. and Nevada is important for the remaining WAC schools. No doubt in my mind that ESPN will look to cut back on the WAC contract with the network, both in appearances for the conference and in rights fees. One rumor that was floated was that Fresno St. and Nevada would go to the MWC for all sports except football. Reason being is that the WAC would be able to maintain eight football playing members and six members in all others sports, the two minimum numbers required to maintain status as an AQ conference in football and keep the auto-bid to NCAA championships in other sports, including men's basketball. To me, that seems like a really awkward solution.
- The WAC did solicit proposals from four schools recently (Texas St., UTSA, Seattle, Denver) in Dallas. Montana, who has been targeted, did not present anything, though that may not be correct. Taking Montana St. might be a requirement for Montana to move up to FBS. Then someone else mentioned that an existing FBS school has been talking to the WAC. No one is quite sure who that school is. My money is on North Texas, extreme dark horse would be UTEP.