Here's what I found:
- FSN's Saturday coverage, on average, could be found as available in 87% of regions at any point. So for regions with two affiliated RSNs or a Plus/Alternate channel, if the game was one, at some point no later than halftime, I counted it as showing the game.
- The Pac-12 had the best Saturday clearance rate at 93.5%. The Big 12 was cleared at about 86% on Saturdays and C-USA at slightly less than 85%. Both the Big 12 and C-USA clearance rates drop due to two factors on Saturdays:
- Both conferences suffered pre-emptions from Pac-12 regional games
- The 7pm ET slot has a number of pro sports pre-emptions
- Which Saturday time slots are the best? 12pm &1:30pm ET (94.7%) and late evening (10-10:30pm, 93.4%). The mid-afternoon slot was slightly below average at 85.5% but the 7pm slot, as noted above, had a clearance rate of only 77%.
- C-USA had the three Thursday night games but the clearance rate was about the same as the 7pm Saturday games at 77%. Pre-emptions from MLB and the NHL affected those rates.
- I suspect the NBA lockout helped FSN's clearance rate overall but don't have a clear way to prove that. FSN did more 3:30pm ET starts in '11 (12 vs. 7 in '10) and less 7pm games (9 vs. 11 in '10), but the clearance rate was nearly even in both slots
- Five regions carried every game in some form:
- FOX Sports Houston
- FOX Sports Midwest
- FOX Sports South & SportSouth
- FOX Sports Southwest
- Comcast SportsNet Bay Area & California
- The combo of FOX Sports North & Wisconsin was able to clear the entire Saturday package
- Four regions were well below the 87% clearance rate
- CSN New England (50%)
- ROOT Sports Pittsburgh (55%)
- CSN Philadelphia & Comcast Network (70%)
- MSG & MSG Plus (77%)
Note that my data used DirecTV listings in addition to what the networks themselves listed on their websites. I know that MSG & MSG Plus in western New York might have cleared games that the main feeds of these channels didn't, but they didn't always make it know that the games were available. Same with the CSN New England overflow channel that seems to be only available on some cable systems.
For FSN I don't know what will change now that the Pac-12 is leaving the regional nets in favor of their new deal. I don't know that C-USA's clearance rate will improve as the ROOT Sports nets out west will be clearing a Big Sky game for most of October and November. If the Big 12 moves more games to F/X and possibly FOX broadcast network, they might have some timeslots that C-USA could fill in. Stay tuned.