Saturday, March 20, 2010

What FB Conference Gets the Most Bang for its Buck?

Went through the 2009 football TV schedule to see who, in terms of the conferences and their TV partners, had the most national games televised. Here's my compilation of the results, with both the number of games and the percentage based on the number of games controlled by a conference

I left ND, Navy and Army off this comparison because their numbers are all 100% since their home games are contracted to a specific entity.

  • I wasn't surprised that the Big Ten had the best deal far and away. Big Ten Network helps a great deal, particularly that every game is available nationally even when there are multiple games at the same time.
  • The SEC's percentage is a little lower than I thought, but the number could be 10% higher when you consider that the SEC Network telecasts reach over 2/3rd of the country through local stations in the southeast and regional sports networks in New York, northern California and Michigan.
  • The Big 12 had the largest number of primary cable games due to FSN, Versus and ESPN games, but very few secondary cable games.
  • The PAC-10 numbers may be somewhat skewed by including games on Fox College Sports because many of these telecasts are regionally produced games made available to FCS. Otherwise their numbers drop to 31 national games and 48.4% of games available nationally. Note that regional games produced by Comcast Sports Net (Cal, Stanford) and Oregon Sports (Oregon) were not available to Fox College Sports and were not counted here.
  • ACC had a lot of internet-only games and that decreased their stats a lot.
  • The Big East number could be one more ABC game higher, but the UConn-Cincy game reached only 46% of the nation and the telecast window was split three ways.
  • The MWC and WAC are a virtual dead heat. There is a difference at the regional level where the WAC has a limited number of regional games and many local telecasts. The MWC's mtn. network gets that conference far more regional coverage.
  • The Sun Belt continues to bring up the rear

Friday, March 19, 2010

Revised - Week 3 CFB Predictions

Kansas at Southern Miss (ESPN) 8pm (confirmed)
California at Nevada (ESPN2) 10pm (confirmed)

USC at Minnesota, ESPN 12pm
Alabama at Duke, ESPN2 12pm
Maryland at West Virginia, ESPNU 12pm
North Texas at Army, CBS College 12pm
Ball St. at Penn St., Big Ten 12pm
Ohio at Ohio St., Big Ten 12pm
Northern Illinois at Illinois, Big Ten 12pm
Massachusetts at Michigan, Big Ten 12pm
East Carolina at Virginia Tech, Raycom 12pm
Arkansas at Georgia, SEC Network 12:21pm
Iowa St. vs. Kansas St., Fox College 12:30pm
Florida at Tennessee, CBS 3:30pm (confirmed)
Notre Dame at Michigan St., ABC/ESPN 3:30pm
Georgia Tech at North Carolina, ABC/ESPN 3:30pm
Iowa at Arizona, ABC 3:30pm
Air Force at Oklahoma, FSN 3:30pm
BYU at Florida St., ESPNU 3:30pm
Washington St. at SMU, CBS College 3:30pm
Boise St. at Wyoming, The mtn. 3:30pm
UL-Monroe at Arkansas St., Sun Belt 4pm
Houston at UCLA, Prime Ticket 6:30pm
Nebraska at Washington, FSN 7pm
Clemson at Auburn, ESPNU 7pm
Hawai'i at Colorado, Fox College 7pm
Furman at South Carolina, Gamecocks PPV 7pm
San Diego St. at Missouri, FSN PPV 7pm
Akron at Kentucky, WKYT 7pm
Baylor at TCU, CBS College 7:30pm
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss, CSS 7:30pm
Mississippi St. at LSU, ESPN 7:45pm
Texas at Texas Tech, ABC 8pm
Arizona St. at Wisconsin, ESPN2 8pm
Louisville at Oregon St., FSN Northwest 10pm

Made a minor alteration for CBS College's 3:30pm game now that KU-Southern Miss is on ESPN, moving Washington St.-SMU to the 3:30pm slot. Also added a couple Big Ten games that were missing. I also added a Sun Belt Network game at 4pm as the lead in on CSS/CST to the Vandy-Ole Miss game.

Revised - Week 2 CFB Predictions

West Virginia at Marshall, 7pm ESPN
UTEP at Houston, 10:15pm ESPN

Iowa St. at Iowa, ESPN 12pm
Georgia at South Carolina, ESPN2 12pm
Michigan St. vs. Florida Atlantic, ESPNU 12pm
Hawai'i at Army, CBS College 12pm
Duke at Wake Forest, Raycom 12pm
South Dakota at Minnesota, Big Ten 12pm
Illinois St. at Northwestern, Big Ten 12pm
Western Illinois at Purdue, Big Ten 12pm
UL-Monroe at Arkansas, SEC Network 12:21pm
Georgia Tech at Kansas, FSN 12:30pm
Michigan at Notre Dame, NBC 3:30pm
Miami (FL) at Ohio St., ABC/ESPN 3:30pm
Florida St. at Oklahoma, ABC/ESPN 3:30pm
Virginia at USC, FSN 3:30pm
LSU at Vanderbilt, ESPNU 3:30pm
Georgia Southern at Navy, CBS College 3:30pm
Montana St. at Washington St., FSN Northwest 3:30pm
Oregon at Tennessee, ESPN2 5:30pm
USF at Florida, ESPNU 7pm
Wyoming at Texas, FSN 7pm
Colorado at California, Versus 7pm
Southern Illinois at Illinois, Big Ten 7pm
Texas Tech at New Mexico, The mtn. 7pm
Western Kentucky at Kentucky, FSN Regional (SO/FL) 7pm
NC State at UCF, CSS/Bright House 7pm
Syracuse at Washington, FSN Northwest 7pm
Indiana St. at Cincinnati, Big East/FSOhio 7pm
TBA vs. Air Force, CBS College 7:30pm
Penn St. at Alabama, ESPN 8pm
Ole Miss at Tulane, ESPN2 9pm (time confirmed)
Stanford at UCLA, ESPN2 10:15pm
Colorado St. at Nevada, ESPNU 10:30pm

I moved Georgia-South Carolina to ESPN2 at 12pm to replace Marshall-WV. I know SEC teams hate playing early afternoon games, but its unavoidable this week. Because Ole Miss-Tulane will be a 9pm start, ESPN2 should have a window at 5:30-5:45pm, so I moved the Oregon-Tennessee game here with the recent suspension of Oregon's QB for the season. That created a reverse mirror window for Florida St-Oklahoma and Miami (FL)-Ohio St.

As it is 9/11 and both Army and Navy are at home, I do have a feeling Air Force will be playing a MWC game at home that day for an Armed Forces feel to their day. With that I created a CSS window for the NC State at UCF game

Revised - Week 1 CFB Predictions

Since we're waiting on the MWC schedule, we can do some more accurate predictions on the TV schedules.

Southern Miss at South Carolina, ESPN 7:30pm
Marshall at Ohio St., ESPN2 7:30pm
Towson at Indiana, Big Ten 7pm
Minnesota at Middle Tennessee, ESPNU 8pm
Pittsburgh at Utah, CBS College 9pm
USC at Hawai'i, ESPN 11pm (confirmed)

Kentucky at Louisville, ESPN 12pm
Northwestern at Vanderbilt, ESPN2 12pm
Illinois vs. Missouri, FSN 12:30pm
Washington St. at Oklahoma St., Versus 12pm
North Texas at Clemson, ESPNU 12pm
Eastern Illinois at Iowa, Big Ten 12pm
Youngtown St. at Penn St., Big Ten 12pm
UL-Lafayette at Georgia, SEC Network 12:21pm
Purdue at Notre Dame, NBC 3:30pm (confirmed)
Connecticut at Michigan, ABC 3:30pm
Texas at Rice (at Reliant), ESPN 3:30pm (confirmed)
Washington at BYU, Versus 3:30pm
Memphis at Mississippi St., ESPNU 3:30pm
Coastal Carolina at West Virginia, Big East 3:30pm
Colorado vs. Colorado St., The mtn. 4:30pm
UCLA at Kansas St., FSN 7pm
San Jose St. at Alabama, ESPNU 7pm
Arkansas St. at Auburn, ESPN Classic 7pm
Miami (OH) at Florida, FSN Regional (So/FL) 7pm
UC-Davis at California, CSN California 7pm
Western Michigan at Michigan St., Big Ten 7pm
Utah St. at Oklahoma, FSN PPV 7pm
Western Kentucky at Nebraska, FSN PPV 7pm
Tennessee Tech at Arkansas, ARSN PPV 7pm
Jacksonville St. at Ole Miss, CSS PPV 7pm
UT-Martin at Tennessee, Vol Network PPV 7pm
Stony Brook at USF, Big East 7:30pm
TCU vs. Oregon St., ABC 8pm
North Carolina vs. LSU, ESPN 8pm
Wisconsin at UNLV, CBS College 8pm
New Mexico at Oregon, 10:15pm FSN
Cincinnati at Fresno St., ESPN2 10:30pm (confirmed)

Tulsa at East Carolina, 2pm ESPN2 (confirmed)
SMU at Texas Tech, 3:30pm ESPN (confirmed)
Delaware St. vs. Southern, 2pm ESPNU

Navy vs. Maryland, 4pm ESPN (confirmed)
Boise St. vs. Virginia Tech, 8pm ESPN (confirmed)

Changes were that with the Texas-Rice game moving to ESPN at 3:30pm, there is no reverse mirror available. So UConn-Michigan would be a national game. From there, UCLA v. K-State moves to FSN at 7pm. To fill the ESPN 12pm slot, I moved UK-UofL in, moved NT-Clemson to 12pm and Memphis-Miss St. from regional TV to the ESPNU 3:30pm slot.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My 65

With a pretty soft bubble, I think today's results mean very little, except if Mississippi St. pulls off the upset again this year and wins the SEC. Here's how I have the seeding, starting at the bottom and working our way up. Automatic qualifiers are marked with an asterisk.

16 - Winthrop*, Lehigh*, UAPB*, Robert Morris*, East Tennessee St. - UAPB vs. Winthrop is my play in game
15 - Houston*, Vermont*, North Texas*, UCSB*
14 - Ohio*, Morgan St.*, Montana*, Sam Houston St.*,
13 - New Mexico St.*, Murray St.*, Oakland*, Wofford*
12 - Cornell*, St. Mary's*, Washington*, Virginia Tech
11 - Missouri, Marquette, Wake Forest, Florida
10 - Oklahoma St., UNLV, Florida St., Notre Dame
9 - Northern Iowa*, Siena*, UTEP, Texas
8 - Old Dominion*, San Diego St.*, Clemson, Xavier
7 - Georgia Tech, Louisville, Utah St., Richmond
6 - Michigan St., Gonzaga, California, Maryland
5 - Butler*, Wisconsin, BYU, Vanderbilt
4 - Tennessee, Texas A&M, Temple, Georgetown
3 - Baylor, Purdue, Villanova, Pittsburgh
2 - West Virginia*, Ohio St., Kansas St., New Mexico
1 - Kansas*, Kentucky, Duke, Syracuse

Your thoughts?

Friday, March 12, 2010

The ACC's future on TV

This week's Sports Business Journal had an article regarding the exclusive negotiating window between the ACC and its existing media rights partners, ABC/ESPN (national football) and Raycom (men's basketball and regional football). FSN also likely will be negotiating its rights for Olympic sports and women's basketball as well, though that is not part of these negotiations.

In previous statements, IMG's Barry Frank has stated that his goal for the ACC is to get a rights agreement that is comparable to the mega-agreements that both the SEC and Big Ten have earned. Early indications from the negotiations are that those right fees are not likely and that just a little over a week into the 60 day exclusive window, the ACC rights will hit the open market.

So who are possible suitors for the ACC rights if the they hit the open market

Over the air
FOX has been mentioned as the most likely suitor for these rights. While the network has mid-afternoon obligations to Major League Baseball, the network should be able to accomodate some 12pm windows in the September and October and some primetime windows. Mid-afternoon windows would be available in November. NBC and CBS do not appear to have any interest in the rights and NBC's schedule with Notre Dame that often pushes their start times to 2:30pm makes it unlikely that NBC could accomodate ideal start times.

FOX has not shown any interest in college basketball in the past and its not know if they would be willing to pick up any games. ABC's recent decline in sports programming also makes it unlikely that they would pick up a small package of games and NBC has not shown any interest in the sport in close to a decade. That leaves CBS, by default, to air any games. The question becomes whether CBS would make a pitch for a set of games or continue a sublicense agreement with a cable or syndication entity.

Pay Television/Syndication
ESPN owns the rights and one of the synergistic aspects of having the football rights with both ABC and ESPN is the ability for multiple games to air in the same broadcast window. The ACC has also been the one conference that has benefitted the most from the Big Ten's reverse mirror, where an ABC game at 3:30pm will air on ESPN/ESPN2 depending on the coverage of the Big Ten's game. One downside that the ACC felt directly this year, largely from the new SEC deal, was that a large number of games shifted to ESPN360, a service that is still not available on the Time Warner systems in the Carolinas.

Versus and FSN are likely interested in the rights as well. FSN does have an existing relationship with the conference through its Olympic sports contract and through the ACC Sunday Night Hoops sublicense. Versus could have a leg up because, unlike FSN, Versus is national and does not have regional pre-emptions. FSN on the other hand does have about a 7-8 million household advantage due to channel placement. Comcast does have a stronghold in most of the ACC's large markets outside of the Carolinas and that could help Versus. A dark horse could be Turner. TBS was offered up for the Raycom package of games back in 2003 and it wouldn't surprise me if they also made a bid. TBS has been out of the college football game since the end of the 2006 season to focus on their MLB Sunday & playoff package, but has stated more than once that their interest in college football was still alive.

Because the ACC's basketball rights are owned in full by Raycom, then games are sold as needed to other entities. I'd expect that all cable entities mentioned would make a pitch for a package of games. ESPN has stated previously that their interest is only in a set of games and that the regional syndication package would compete with their SEC package of games in too many markets, so Raycom could stay in play for a set of games in both basketball and football at a reduced rate. FOX has not syndication since the early part of the 00s with both the PAC-10 and Big 12 but eventually took those games in-house and placed them on FSN and sold them to other entities. CBS through CBS College Sports does offer syndication through their purchase of the Atlantic 10 network and allows local broadcasters to produce their own games from Conference USA, so an inventory purchase of the ACC could be ideal for them.

Where does this leave us
I think at the end of the day, the ACC re-ups with ABC and ESPN for a primary set of football games. The ACC might get a premium for having so many games placed on ESPNU would also receive a minimum number of ACC games and the ACC would continue to have a major presence on ESPN's Thursday night football package.

For regional football, I think the ACC could strike out on its own and offer a package of regional football games through FSN. FSN currently has a regional set of games involving the ACC on the four RSNs covering the ACC areas (NESN, FSSouth/SportSouth, FSFlorida/Sun Sports and CSN Mid-Atlantic). The ACC could do this in most of these areas without FSN sacrificing these region's Big 12 early afternoon package because of multiple RSNs in most of these areas. The ACC could get more bang for its buck and wider coverage of these games, provided they are not blacked out outside of ACC areas.

I could see the most changes in men's basketball to make up for what will likely be a shortfall compared to projections for football TV rights. I see CBS making a pitch for a package of 6-8 ACC games and maybe getting the ACC quarterfinals and championship as the Big Ten's men's basketball rights with CBS are up for renewal at the moment. If they re-up with the Big Ten, the package of games would be regular season only. ESPN would then pick up a package of 60-70 games, including the ACC tournament except the 1st round and would likely pick up FSN's national package of games. In addition, would air exclusive ACC games. Lastly, Raycom would stay in the picture, probably airing the same number of games but not paying as much to the ACC.