Monday, June 25, 2012

Quick note on possible Big 12 selections

I was looking over the C-USA schedule at their website and noticed a pair of games at Big 12 schools had television information that I was not previously aware.  If those times hold firm, it actually makes the Big 12 early season selections relatively easy to figure out.

9/1: Tulsa at Iowa St. on FSN, time TBA

FOX's press release has a FSN game at 3:30pm ET that day with teams TBA, so it seems likely that it would be the time slot for Tulsa-Iowa St..  This would mean that ABC isn't taking either Marshall-WVU nor Wyoming-Texas since ABC & FSN have not coexisted in the 3:30pm slot previously and I'm not expecting that to change.  Assuming that Wyoming-Texas airs on the Longhorn Network, Marshall-WVU fits into the 12pm F/X slot on FOX's release.  I'm not anticipating FOX picking up any of the FCS vs. Big 12 games for national airing.

9/8: Rice at Kansas on FSN, 3:30pm ET

This one isn't 100% cut and dry, but it has been mentioned that the Longhorn Network could have as many as three football games in 2012, which would lead one to believe that the New Mexico game is one of those three games.  Assuming that Miami (FL) at Kansas St. isn't selected by ABC, it will air in F/X's 12pm slot.  Again, not anticipating the FCS vs. Big 12 games to be chosen.

9/15: Nothing selected, but...

FSN has two slots, F/X has one.  Throwing out the FCS vs. Big 12 games.  Texas is on the road, so the Longhorn Network is out.  FOX has one timeslot and USC-Stanford is occupying it.  Sounds like ABC would be an option for one Big 12 game.  My guess would be TCU-Kansas since its the only conference game of the four.  After that there's a pair of Sun Belt vs. Big 12 contests and the New Mexico-Texas Tech game.  F/X's 12pm choice is probably whichever matchup has the most appealing Big 12 team of the three (OK State ??).

Friday, June 22, 2012

Texas Tech dictating road game TV is a slippery slope

UPDATE: Per Chip Brown, ESPN is moving on and looking to pick another Texas St. game for the Longhorn Network.  But you're more than welcome to keep reading and comment.


I read over the alleged issue that Texas Tech has over Texas St. with respect to the possibility that the game between the two schools in San Marcos could air on Longhorn Network as the WAC has recognized it as one of the ESPN platforms that the conference will allow its games to air on.  Texas Tech is furious that ESPN may elect to place the game on LHN and is seriously considering cancelling the game and paying whatever buyout is in the contract.

I get it.  Texas Tech doesn't want a football game involving them on a network that benefits the University of Texas, not to mention that the LHN has so little visibility right now that this game can be used as a hammer to drive cable systems to pick up channel.   I don't believe that when the series was signed between the two schools that the LHN was a possible TV option.  But we've seen TV rights be an impediment for series before, for example when Minnesota and Texas cancelled a future football series over replay rights.

Cancelling this late in my opinion is extremely bush league on Tech's part.  12 games isn't a given as we know Temple will play 11 due to their late entry into the Big East.   But having a game televised is a privilege, not a right, and since they signed this series to play in San Marcos, Tech lost the ability to have any say in the television rights.  To me, it sets an extremely slippery slope and could affect future non-conference scheduling around the country if Team A doesn't like Team B's telecast partners.

This is probably an extreme example, but lets say that Northwestern St. is Texas Tech institutional game.  Let's also assume that Texas Tech decides to webcast the game at a fee of $10 exclusively through the Texas Tech athletics website.  If Northwestern St. doesn't like that, should they cancel that game because their fans would have to pay Texas Tech to watch (which is kinda the same as buying a ticket, no)?

Either way, I hope cooler heads prevail.  My solution would be either ESPN3 or don't televise it.  Texas St. can webcast home games that ESPN doesn't take too.  See if Tech prefers any of those options.

Nevada's game at Texas St. was also listed for "an ESPN platform".  They're on the clock next...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Addendum to blog post about FOX, Pac-12 and Big 12

Wanted to address a few items about the FOX schedule and where the Pac-12 and Big 12 fit in.

  • I mentioned that the 1:30pm ET F/X telecast windows could be filled by either the Pac-12 or Big 12 and I stand by that, particularly because the Pac-12 Rocky Mountain schools could fill in.  I neglected to mention the Arizona schools could fill in those spots as well once Daylight Savings Time ends.  Here's the possible games for those weeks:
    • 11/3: Stanford at Colorado, Washington St. at Utah
    • 11/10: Colorado at Arizona
    • 11/17: Washington St. at Arizona St., Washington at Colorado, Arizona at Utah
  • At least for the F/X and FSN telecast windows, please consider those tentative.  Last year, FOX touted that most of their F/X games would be at 8pm ET and that there would be a doubleheader on October 1st.  The doubleheader ended up being in November and several F/X windows switched from 8pm ET to noon ET.
  • I miscounted the possible Big 12 windows on FSN and neglected to include a window on 12/1.  There's also a FOX College Sports telecast windows listed for 10/27 at 12pm ET and with FOX & F/X taking one game each, plus FSN taking three games and filling one with Navy at East Carolina, FCS appears like it might get a Big 12 game that day.
  • Speaking of FCS, with FOX broadcast taking more Big 12 games plus F/X and FSN taking their cut, it sounds like they'll be shut out of the Big 12 unless they try to buy up some of the institutional telecast games and air those.  The press release also mentions regional matchups from the ACC, SEC, Big East, Big Sky, WAC and Southland.  FCS has shown the Southland TV Network games on tape delay in the past, so maybe they'll make those available live.  The Big Sky Conference has their deal with ROOT Sports which are FSN affiliated networks, so that may be why they are included.  Maybe they'll try to pick up the WAC Sports Network games, but I wouldn't expect to see the ACC, SEC or Big East as part of these channels due to their contracts with ESPN.
  • An item to keep track of with the Pac-12 is how many appearances each school makes on FOX and ESPN.  Per Duane Lindberg, the Pac-12's television coordinator, a school can appear a total of nine times combined on ABC, FOX, F/X and the ESPN networks.  USC, for example, has been selected for four games on those entities as part of the Pac-12 contract (Hawai'i, at Stanford, at Utah, Notre Dame).  The Pac-12 Networks guaranteed themselves at least one USC game with the selection of the California game on 9/22 and they'll have at least one more conference game on their networks.  Why is that?  Nine conference game schedule plus the Notre Dame and Hawai'i non-conference games means that USC has 11 possible appearances as part of the Pac-12 TV deal.  Because FOX and ESPN took the two non-conference games, it left at least two USC games for the Pac-12 Networks.
  • Lastly, if the Pac-12 takes those three 1:30pm ET F/X windows, this could be the split you see of Big 12, Pac-12 & C-USA across all FOX nets.  This split accounts for 22 Pac-12 games, 20 C-USA games and about 38 Big 12 games.  FOX has rights to about 40 Big 12 games and there's a hole on ESPN's Thanksgiving evening schedule that seems to be waiting for a Big 12 game to fill it and I assume that will come out of ABC's count of games.  I counted 66 Big 12 games.  Ten games go back to the schools, one game per school.  If ABC takes their 18 (maybe airing some on ESPN/ESPN2), FOX would have exactly 38 to distribute across their networks. 
    • FOX: Big 12 (9-13 games), Pac-12 (8-12 games)
    • F/X: Big 12 (6-10 games), Pac-12 (10-14 games)
    • FSN: Big 12 (18 games), C-USA (20 games)
    • FCS: Big 12 (1 game ??)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Analysis on CFB Television Schedule Release from 6/15/12

Conference USA
FOX Sports CFB Schedule

Conference USA and the Pac-12 released their television selections for 2012.  C-USA's release was a full season release, the Pac-12's release was early season plus priority selections.

I was somewhat surprised that FOX was able to get all three games that many of us targeted for their college football schedule.  When it came out that the Pac-12 Networks had the 1st choice on 9/8, I thought that Nebraska-UCLA might end up there.  Maybe FOX used one of their priority picks on the game, but that's nothing we'll likely ever know.  It didn't surprise me that Notre Dame-USC ended up with ABC/ESPN as it was going to be a priority pick for whomever picked 1st for those games.  I would be curious as to whether the order of who gets the 1st priority pick alternates every year or if one network gets top pick two straight years.  If it alternates every year, since ND-USC is played in So Cal in even numbered years, ABC/ESPN could claim it each time its available.

What didn't surprise me either is that the Pac-12 Networks had to stack multiple games in a single timeslot, much like the Big Ten Network.  Only so much room early in the season to get those games televised.  They also made a wise logistical move when stacking those games, putting games from the different regions in the same time slot.  In the Pac-12 areas on 9/8 for example, the Cal game probably goes on the Bay Area RSN, the Colorado game on the Rocky Mountain RSN and the Washington St. game on the Washington RSN, with one of the games pushed to the national channel.  In the case of DirecTV or Dish Network, they might request to use overflow channels like the BTN does to get all those games on instead of carrying each RSN full time.

As for Conference USA, the schedule says twenty games on FSN plus the CBS Sports Network and CSS telecasts.  It doesn't 100% line up with what FOX released specifically for 11/24.  FSN on the FOX release only lists two games.  It's possible they'll run two games concurrently (which would kinda suck), put one on FOX or F/X, or either they didn't list an FSN slot.

With no Pac-12 slots on FSN going forward, it allowed some slack in the available timeslots for C-USA.  Consequently, they have less Thursday & Friday games.  That's better for them, particularly with FSN, because of the regional nature of FSN.  They'll have to deal with NHL pre-emptions in some areas, but probably nothing with the NBA since that time is their preseason.

As for FOX, the big news was the sheer number of games the broadcast network is listed as carrying, and maybe that F/X isn't quite carrying as many.  I counted 21 games on FOX and 20 games on F/X, plus 36 slots on FSN so far (20 allocated to C-USA).

If we use the strict definition that the Pac-12 contract terms gave us, and take into account the worst kept secret that the Big 12 will have some games on FOX broadcast network, that would mean the following:

FOX: 8 Pac-12, 13 Big 12
F/X: 14 Pac-12, 6 Big 12
FSN: 20 C-USA, 16 Big 12

That seems like a huge shift for Big 12 football if ABC offloaded most of their Big 12 games.  FOX has rights to about 40 games in the contract it signed last year for games on FSN, F/X and FOX College Sports.

But based on the timeslots released, things don't quite match up to that strict interpretation, at least on the F/X side.  Assuming those timeslots hold up, and last year they did not, there's only around nine time slots that the Pac-12 could possibly fill and that assumes the 1:30pm slots on 11/3 and 11/17 could be filled by either conference with the Rocky Mountain Pac-12 schools an option if they were interested in 11:30am kickoffs.

Right now, I'm using the FOX release as a guideline, but what I've learned the past few years is that nothing gets set in stone or written in ink.  Pencil for everything.  Contracts are made to altered when it benefits a network.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Misc. items after 6/7/12 CFB kick time announcements

First, no Big 12, no SEC, no Pac-12.  Felt rather deceived (no disrespect to Big East & Big Ten), but no one said exactly what was being announced.  At least they didn't confirm start times that had been out there previously.

On the flip side, it was nice to see the extra announcement from NBC, particularly on their CAA and Ivy League schedules.

Since a few of you asked, here's the remaining possible slots on ABC, CBS & ESPN for the 1st three weeks that those three conferences will likely end up filling.  As we know, there are no FOX selections made yet.

All times ET

3:30pm ABC (regional Big 12 ??)
3:30pm ESPN
7pm ESPNU (probably SEC)
Late evening ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU (probably Pac-12 if used)

12pm ESPN
3:30pm ABC (regional Big 12 ??)
3:30pm ESPN
7pm ESPNU (probably SEC)
Primetime ESPN & ESPN2
Late evening ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU (probably Pac-12 if used)

3:30pm CBS (SEC)
3:30pm ABC (regional Big 12 ??)
7pm ESPNU (probably SEC)
Primetime ESPN & ESPN2
Late evening ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU (probably Pac-12 if used)

FOX may be waiting to shore up the Big 12 contract before they announce any games, though they and ESPN certainly could release Pac-12 information once selections are made.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

While we wait on kickoff times...

I'm not thrilled, but not surprised, that several conferences are holding back on early season kickoff times and television selections.  It sounds like a pair of events, namely the finalization of the Big 12 television contracts & the "game draft" for the Pac-12 Network, need to be completed before all slots can be filled.  And that makes sense, particularly in the Pac-12's case.  Both ESPN and FOX could elect to place games on various networks & time slots based on what is available to them.

And to be quite honest, the networks used to have a deadline date of around June 15th for most conferences, so going past June 1st isn't unusual.

We do know that the Pac-12 Network will have some decent choices early in the year.  Jon Wilner reported that they'll select second in the opening week of the season and Bryan Fischer notes that they will pick first in the second and fourth weeks.  I did see that ESPN PR notes that it depends on if either they or FOX use priority picks on either of those weeks.  Don't know who picks where in week 3, but my guess is the Pac-12 Net picks third.

It does have some interesting implications right off the bat.  I know a lot of people, including myself, earmarked Nebraska-UCLA for FOX.  Now that's no longer a guarantee.  Either Cal-USC or Arizona-Oregon could end up on the Pac-12 Network in week four.  The maximum number of times a school can appear on ESPN & FOX combined is nine, so the Pac-12 can play a little bit of poker and try to get a late season USC matchup too (USC is part of 11 Pac-12 controlled games).

As for the Big 12, Sports Business Journal reports that the extended, and in the case of FOX a possibly amended, contracts are in the hands of lawyers.  If FOX can't get their hands on Nebraska-UCLA, they might request Miami (FL) at Kansas St. as a nice consolation prize.

Either way, I'd expect that both ESPN and FOX will try to protect certain games out of each package from the two conferences.  ND-OU is probably claimed by ABC in exchange for keeping ND-USC (ND-OU happens to fall on the week that FOX has the World Series in primetime, so they don't have a choice really).  The Red River Rivalry was claimed by ABC already, in exchange we could find that USC-Oregon stays in the hands of FOX.  The Pac-12 games could be the priority picks that those networks use.