* CBS Sports Network = Switzerland. In a lot of folks minds, it is the fourth place sports network when compared to ESPN, FOX Sports 1 and NBCSN in terms of quality content and subscriber numbers. The past few weeks have been very good to the network, completing sublicensing agreements with ESPN for American Athletic Conference football and men's basketball and with FOX Sports for Big East basketball.
The deal with the Big East also allows for CBS to pick up a few basketball games to air on their broadcast networks. But the content that CBS Sports Network has pulled in is quite solid. Say what you will about the Group of Five designation that both the American and the Mountain West will have next year, but those two conferences I suspect will be the ones competing for the "Access Bowl" slot most seasons and CBS Sports does have access to the Mountain West's top games as the primary TV partner. The basketball they've picked up is also decent. The Mountain West is expected to remain a multiple bid conference and the American & Big East should be as well. Couple that with the Atlantic 10 and you have a very solid base in men's basketball, along with the C-USA and Patriot League content.
* The Atlantic 10 championship game is again on the CBS men's basketball schedule as the lead in to the Big Ten championship. Don't know the length of the agreement for the sublicensing of the game from ESPN. Will have to check on it.
* As part of the Atlantic 10 schedule release, NBCSN noted their 29 A-10 telecasts (25 regular season plus four quarterfinal games). They'll happen to fill a couple Wednesday nights while the NHL is on break for the Winter Olympics. NBC says that the quarterfinal games will air on NBCSN or NBC Sports Regional Networks. I suspect that could depend on whether NBCSN is carrying a Hockey East game in the evening, which could be a tournament game. So the quarterfinals could be split with the afternoon on NBCSN and the evening games on the RSNs.
And before someone says it was a bait and switch on NBC's part, I distinctly remember the wording on the Atlantic 10's release mentioning that NBCSN would "produce" the quarterfinal games. Not necessarily air them.
NBCSN says they'll have around 50 games next year. About what they were scheduled to air before cherry picking extra games due to the NHL strike. The other 25 games should be a mix of the CAA and Ivy League.
* I normally don't cover women's basketball here, but many folks have asked which Big 12 basketball games would be on FOX Sports 1. I suspected it would only be the women's basketball games that FSN has aired in prior years, and so far that suspicion has been confirmed. The Big 12 women's basketball package will be split between FSN and FS1, with the tournament semifinals and championship moving up to FS1.
* FOX Sports 2 has joined the party. They'll carry a small amount of Big East men's basketball games and they are all non-conference games, many involving lower-level conferences. No games in conference play.
* FSN will also have 18 Big East games and eight of them will be conference games. Four of the conference games involve DePaul or Villanova, so FOX will have to make nice with Comcast SportsNet on a few games or syndicate those to local stations in those markets. FOX Televisions Stations does own the affiliates in Chicago and Philadelphia, along with WPWR in nearby Gary, IN. FSN is the new backdrop programming for MASN2, so coverage in the DC area should be OK. They probably need to get a New England affiliate for Providence to be covered.
* FOX's broadcast network will carry what I believe is their first college basketball game on November 16th, showing Ohio St.'s visit to Marquette.
* The US Open tennis tournament's schedule change is at least part of the reason why ESPN did not carry a college football. The next two years, I believe, will have a men's final on Monday instead of Sunday, so the round that falls on Thursday will have more matches and the need to use both ESPN/ESPN2. There is also the matter of the NFL's opening night and how much that game, in terms of TV numbers, overshadows any college game.
* I'll need to do some digging on what happens when there is a network change or when a network opens up an extra feed and how that gets communicated to providers on short notice. As you probably know, we saw two lengthy weather delays that forced ESPN to alter coverage plans for games. One of which, BYU at Virginia, had some unique challenges because ESPNEWS, which has become an overflow channel, had a live game at the time. Satellite companies typically cannot sub in one feed of a channel over another, so they have to open up alternates. Dish Network managed to do this, DirecTV did not. There were also some issues around ESPN3's availability to show BYU-Virginia and while I don't have all the information, I do not know if some of those issues where around an unavailable stream due to geolocation (ie. if you were in Utah or Virginia, ESPN3 didn't seem to work for some).