Sunday, August 5, 2012

What's new in college football broadcasting for 2012

Its a rather abbreviated list in 2012.  Less broadcasting changes, but some are directly tied to each other.

Pac-12 takes control of their broadcasting - The Pac-12, after years of what many have felt were behind the times in terms of broadcasting and rights fees, finally gets a broadcasting makeover.  FOX & ESPN are now co-rightsholders and the conference have built itself their own network system known as the Pac-12 Networks.  Made up of six regional networks and one national feed, the goal is to get more Pac-12 content out to the masses.  Several major cable systems have already signed up for the network while the two satellite companies and the telcos are continuing to negotiate.

ESPN adds the Pac-12 - Mentioned above, ESPN will have rights to 22 Pac-12 games and the conference has elected to continue with Thursday and Friday games, in addition to weekly 10pm or 10:30pm ET games each week.  By doing this, ESPN's primetime window has moved up from 7:45pm to 7pm.

A new player emerges in FOX - As part of the new Pac-12 contract, FOX's broadcast network will broadcast around 20 games this year, plus another 15+ games on F/X.  Besides the Pac-12 and Big Ten championship games on FOX, at least eight regular season games will come from the Pac-12 (22 total when counting games on F/X), Conference USA could appear as well and it appears that the Big 12 could get into the mix due to...

...FOX and ESPN are working towards a form of shared rights model for the Big 12 - It sounds like its just for football, and might be tied to agreements where ESPN's Longhorn Network can pick up more than one Texas game per year.  FOX already has a new agreement with the conference where F/X, FSN and FOX College Sports will carry games, but that appears to be in process of changing.

The Mountain West and CBS appear to be headed towards syndication - In lieu of the mtn's demise, a hole was left in most Mountain West schools' TV schedules, particularly New Mexico which didn't have a single game selected by CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports Network or ESPN.  News has crept out that a local affiliate in Denver will pick up the balance of the Colorado St. schedule and that Time Warner Cable in San Diego has contracted with the conference to carry San Diego St. games, but the rest of the regional schedule, which commissioner Craig Thompson said at media day would be around 30 games, is still a mystery.

The Sun Belt and ESPN expand their relationship - A small increase, but an increase nonetheless, in the number of ESPN Networks games with the Sun Belt.  The conference will have Thursday or Friday night games on ESPNU sprinkled throughout the season and will have a larger presence on ESPN3 with games to be added throughout the season.

Changes at the FCS level - The Big Sky and CAA made the biggest changes in broadcasting.  The DirecTV owned ROOT Sports networks, knowing that they would be losing a massive chunk of programming of local interest with the FSN service losing Pac-12 games, made a deal with the Big Sky Conference for up to 18 games per year.  Most Big Sky games will air at 3:30pm ET with a few doubleheaders during the year.  The CAA, by renewing their deal with Comcast, also was able to get a number of games on NBC Sports Network.  Finally the Ivy League and NBC Sports Network renewed their deal for several football games.  In the case of all three, the deals also included men's basketball and other sports.

What's next? - SEC "Project X" on the horizon?  Who becomes the suitor for the Big East television rights?  Does the Atlantic 10 continue its shared rights agreement with CBS Sports Network and ESPN?  Stay tuned...

2 comments:

bigddan11 said...

No mention of the possible demise of the WAC Sports Network, leading to all WAC games being done by ESPN or local broadcasts?

bigddan11 said...

A big surprise with MWC games is Time Warner picking up San Diego State games over 4SD and FS San Diego. 4SD has had all Mtn simulcast rights and would have made more logical sense than going solely to Time Warner Cable. You can expect Boise State's non nationally televised game to end up on KTVB since they had all Broncos games not on national TV when they were in the WAC.