Friday, March 28, 2014

TV Contracts & One-Off Neutral Site Games

On the pages where I track a conference's games in relation to their TV contract, one-off neutral site games are often tricky for me, specifically the three organized events in Houston (Texas Kickoff), Arlington (Cowboys Classic) and Atlanta.  The Houston event is organized by ESPN while the Atlanta event is organized by the Chick-Fil-A Bowl committee and contracted to television by ESPN.  The Arlington event is co-organized by ESPN and the Dallas Cowboys.

I bring this up because some television contracts, specifically the Big 12 and possibly others I am not aware of, had clauses in their TV contracts regarding neutral site games that occurred within the conference's footprint.  This goes back to a neutral site between Baylor and Notre Dame that was being planned for Arlington.  The problem was that because the game was being played in Texas, ESPN enforced a clause in their TV deal with the Big 12.

The Notre Dame-Baylor game originally was to have been played at the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, as a Notre Dame home game. But the ESPN contract with the Big 12 precludes any nationally televised game within the league's seven-state footprint being aired on any other network, and NBC would have had the rights to the game, thus forcing the move to another site.
 TV contracts and networks can often be flexible or have what I'll term as negotiable points or selective enforcement.  We saw it last season with the Pac-12 where FOX didn't meet its commitment for broadcast network telecasts.  Anyways, back to the subject.  There have been 13 of these games part of these three events.  So if we were to use the competing teams, the channel showing the game and the location of the game, how many could be attached to a conference's TV deal?

2008 Chick-Fil-A: Alabama vs. Clemson
2009 Chick-Fil-A: Virginia Tech vs. Alabama
2010 Chick-Fil-A: LSU vs. North Carolina

The first three instances of the Chick-Fil-A Classic aired on ABC.  If we use that as the primary indicator, all three of these would be part of the ACC television contract.

2012 Chick-Fil-A I: NC State vs. Tennessee
2012 Chick-Fil-A II: Clemson vs. Auburn
2013 Chick-Fil-A: Virginia Tech vs. Alabama
2013 Cowboys: LSU vs. TCU

These four games aired on ESPN or ESPNU.  With all four of these games, both competing teams were within their conference footprint and the network airing the game had rights to both conferences.  To me, it is not really possible to tell whose TV contract the game falls under.

2009 Cowboys: BYU vs. Oklahoma

The game was played within the Big 12 conference footprint and while it aired on ESPN at a time when they did not have rights to air Big 12 games, ESPN and FOX Sports had a sublicense agreement in place for Big 12 games to air on ESPN or ESPN2.  It could be argued that this game fell under the sublicensing agreement.

2010 Cowboys: TCU vs. Oregon St.

When I look at the Pac-12's contract total for 2010 on ABC/ESPN, this game did not count towards their total as they had twenty other games as part of that contract.  From what I was told, the Mountain West and their TV partners granted TCU a waiver for this game to air on ESPN.

The Mountain West may have had a loophole regarding neutral site events that BYU previously exposed for a basketball game vs. Michigan St. that was played in Salt Lake City.  The game was originally selected by Versus but in the week leading up to the game, it was moved over to BYUtv.  One of the beliefs was that the Mountain West TV contracts were either narrowly defined to only cover events at the schools' designated home sites or did not include any provisions re: conference footprint.

So the possibility of granting a waiver for a game to another TV outlet may have been a compromise.

2011 Cowboys: Oregon vs. LSU

Neither conference could claim Texas as part of their conference footprint in 2011, so it is truly neutral.

2012 Cowboys: Alabama vs. Michigan

This one aired on ABC, which if we were to take into account the SEC's conference footprint, should not have been allowed since the state of Texas became part of the footprint in 2012 with the addition of Texas A&M.  Maybe this game was granted a waiver to air on ABC since the game was likely organized before Texas A&M was added, but I really don't know.

2011 Chick-Fil-A: Boise St. vs. Georgia

This one aired on ESPN and Georgia was playing in Atlanta, so a reasonable conclusion could be drawn that this could count towards the SEC TV contract.

2013 Texas: Mississippi St. vs. Oklahoma St.

The game aired on ABC, so it theoretically eliminates the SEC TV contract.  Also includes a Big 12 team whose games could air on ABC.  When you also tack on that the ESPN portion of the Big 12 TV contract is a game or two light (19 games at a maximum, but I only count 17), this one could be tacked on to the Big 12.  You might also count LSU-TCU from Arlington as well for the Big 12 too in that scenario.

These games really drive me nuts and why I really have tried to get a hold of schools, conferences, networks to make sure my own record keeping is accurate, but it isn't perfect.   Conference footprints are now so wide and sometimes disjointed and not contiguous, so they aren't nearly as good an indicator for a TV contract as they used to be.  They are a bit of a relic from contracts that are starting to be renegotiated.

Friday, March 21, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Credits Earned by Conference

Will update this at the end of each day.  A conference or independent school earns one credit per game played for all games except the national championship game.  Forbes estimates that a unit earned this year will pay over $250,000, with the revenue that unit earned being paid out for that amount each year over six years.

If you win a First Four game, it is no different than winning a Round of 64 game.  You earn a credit.

I'm going to list all conferences that will have earned multiple units.

ACC - 12
America East - 2
American - 11
Atlantic 10 - 10
Atlantic Sun - 2
Big 12 - 13
Big East - 6
Big Ten - 16
Big West - 2
Ivy League - 2
Mountain West - 4
MVC - 2
Pac-12 - 14
SEC - 14
Southland - 2
Summit - 2
WCC - 3

Sunday, March 16, 2014

My NCAA Tournament Seed Projection

I am not putting specific teams against each other on seed lines, except for the First Four games.  Have the final four at-large teams on the 12 seed line.

I am sure I probably have a team or two overseed or underseeded.  I tried to incorporate as many data points as possible along with some manual intervention

Teams in bold have earned autobids as of the end of the 1pm ET tip-offs today.  With this projection, I am assuming wins for Michigan and Florida in their title games.

1 - Arizona, Florida, Wichita St., Michigan
2 - Virginia, Villanova, Wisconsin, Kansas
3 - Iowa St., Creighton, Louisville, Duke
4 - Syracuse, Kentucky, Michigan St., UCLA
5 - San Diego St., Ohio St., Cincinnati, New Mexico,
6 - VCU, Gonzaga, Connecticut, Pittsburgh
7 - Oregon, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Saint Louis
8 - Baylor, Massachusetts, Oklahoma St., Tennessee
9 - George Washington, Texas, Harvard, Stanford
10 - BYU, Iowa, Memphis, Arizona St.
11 - St. Joseph's, SMU, Dayton, Providence
12 - North Dakota St., Colorado/Louisiana Tech, Kansas St./Xavier, Stephen F. Austin
13 - Manhattan, Tulsa, New Mexico St., Delaware
14 - Mercer, Western Michigan, NC Central, UL-Lafayette
15 - Eastern Kentucky, American, Milwaukee, Weber St.
16 - Wofford, Albany, Coastal Carolina/Cal Poly, Mount St. Mary's/Texas Southern

Big 12 - 7
Atlantic 10 & Pac-12 - 6
ACC, American & Big Ten- 5
Big East - 4
SEC - 3
C-USA, MWC and WCC - 2

The last four teams I considered were Florida St., Southern Miss, Nebraska and St. John's

Friday, March 14, 2014

Notes on Big Ten, CSS closing and other schedule items

* Asked around regarding how Big Ten TV partners would handle the additional inventory of football games  with the additions of Rutgers and Maryland, which would be around 14 additional games starting in 2014.  It is my understanding that ESPN's networks, which currently carry 41 Big Ten controlled games across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, will see a bump in the number of games they be allowed to carry.  I do not know how large that increase is.

I would assume that since ESPN is seeing an increase in the number of football games, they may also see an increase in the number of basketball games.  I do not know if CBS will inherit any more Big Ten appearances as part of their contract for men's basketball or if any terms have changed around BTN.

* With the SEC Network on its way, Comcast and Charter will shut down the CSS regional network managed out of Atlanta on June 1st.  The network carried SEC content that will end up on the SEC Network, along with a lot of C-USA content from sublicensed from CBS Sports Network.  They also carried basketball from the Atlantic Sun and Southern conferences, managed the Sun Belt Network package along with Cox Sports Television in Louisiana and carried some self-produced content from the College of Charleston.

I don't know who will pick up the slack from CSS when it comes to C-USA.  FOX Sports Regional Networks and affiliates cover a lot of the territory, so CBS could sublicense some of their content to FOX.  CBS could also facilitate some point to point telecasts with local cable systems.  They could continue to work with Comcast through CSN Houston, though that regional network has its own set of struggles right now.

It also makes you wonder about the status of Cox Sports TV, as they no longer have any rights to Pelicans games.  They do have rights to Saints preseason games, but also have a lot of rights to content from LSU and Arkansas that will be moving over to the SEC Network.

All of the conferences mentioned have either conference branded digital networks (C-USA, A-Sun) or have invested in technology to have their games webcast via ESPN (many A-Sun schools on their own).  The Sun Belt had many football games on ESPN3 and the SoCon went away from a traditional TV rights deal a few years ago to go with conference branded packages on ESPN3.

* With basketball season coming to a close, I had someone ask me why ESPN games tend to be listed at the top of a timeslot in many of my listings.  Allow me to bring you into my thought process.

The listed order for a particular time slot is usually done by the number of subscribing homes for a particular channel.  Over the air channels come first, then pay TV channels.  If you look at the 2012 CFB listings, F/X games often came ahead of ESPN/ESPN2 because for a period of time, F/X had more subscribing homes.  You'll notice that FOX Sports 1 and NBCSN come before ESPNU because those two networks are in more homes.

After national cable channels, I try to list by regional sports network(s), syndication package, local over the air station then local cable.  Internet exclusives come last.

With football, I list FBS games for a timeslot first, then FCS games.

Is the system perfect?  Hardly and there are probably a ton of examples where I don't follow it.  Some might find it exclusionary since the FBS games are listed first.  It is the best I can do and sometimes I am relying on subscriber data that may be out of date.  But I want to be clear that no one particular network is favored over another.

* It kinda slipped by that SMU-Baylor was moved to Sunday 8/31.   If it airs on ESPN, I expect it to be a mid-afternoon game.  The MEAC/SWAC challenge game has been paired with an FBS game on ESPN the past couple years with the HBCU game at noon ET.  ESPN has NASCAR in the evening and ESPN2 picks up Sunday Night Baseball at that point.  ESPN2 may also have coverage of the US Open tennis event too.

If the game is on FOX Sports 1, I think it will be in the evening.  FS1 has a Truck Series race on Sunday afternoon and I'm thinking they'll go into some pre-race coverage of the NASCAR race that ESPN will be running.  After that, the schedule should be open.

I think FOX also takes on the bulk of showing NASCAR practice and qualifying that weekend.  I think there's a small chance they only air a C-USA or Pac-12 football game on Saturday 8/30 with the remaining Big 12 games set aside as 3rd tier/institutional games.

* On my Twitter feed, I floated the idea of UCLA-Texas on 9/13 airing on Longhorn Network and I don't think I got my point across well.  That's on me, so allow me to try to flesh out my thought process.

I believe this game falls under the Big 12's TV contract, even though it is a one-off game.  I am making this leap as it is being played in the state of Texas, part of the Big 12 footprint.  During the offseason, I did a little digging on this topic and believe a provision remains in the Big 12 contract regarding neutral site games being played in the Big 12 footprint belong to Big 12 TV rightsholders.  In this case, ESPN organized the game to air it on their networks.

My line of thinking revolved around how Longhorn Network seems to be airing three Texas games per year.  If you assume they will air the North Texas game on 8/30 plus one conference game, that would leave LHN to take either the UCLA game or a 2nd Big 12 game.  At that moment, my thinking was that if they wanted to air three games, they might not take a 2nd Big 12 game.  And with Dish Network picking up Longhorn Network, the game could have become a bargaining chip for the network as they have their upcoming negotiations with DirecTV.

After some discussion with those following my feed and additional research, if Longhorn Network is to air three games, it probably wouldn't be the UCLA game.  As it was a one-off game, compared to the Ole Miss series, the guaranteed money around the game and the stature of both teams coming into 2014 (both could be inside the top 25) seems to make it worth more than just showing on a secondary network.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Way too early Week 3 CFB TV Guesses

Final installment since anything from week four and beyond is set twelve days in advance with the exception of nearly all weeknight games.

Notable items accounted for when setting TV windows
  • ESPN2 has the Nationwide Series race from the Chicagoland Speedway.  Currently set for a 3:30pm ET start
  • FOX Sports 1 will carry an MLB game at 8pm ET
  • FOX has a 1pm ET MLB game
9pm ESPN: Houston at BYU (network confirmed)

If FOX Sports 1 airs a game, my guess is that it is a C-USA game.  Maybe Western Kentucky-Middle Tennessee, Louisiana Tech-North Texas or Pitt-FIU, which I put on CBSSN on Saturday (see below)

7pm ESPNU: Toledo at Cincinnati (confirmed)
8pm ESPN: Baylor at Buffalo (network confirmed)

12pm ESPN: Iowa St. at Iowa
12pm ESPN2: NC State at USF
12pm FS1: Arkansas at Texas Tech
12pm ESPNU: UL-Lafayette at Ole Miss
12pm CBSSN: Boise St. at Connecticut
12pm BTN: Kent St. at Ohio St.
12pm SEC Network: Southern Miss at Alabama
12pm FSN: UTSA at Oklahoma St.
12:30pm ACC Network: East Carolina at Virginia Tech
12:30pm ACC RSNs: Kansas at Duke
3pm Pac-12: Portland St. at Washington St.
3:30pm CBS: Georgia at South Carolina
3:30pm ABC: Tennessee at Oklahoma
3:30pm ESPN: Penn St. at Rutgers
3:30pm ESPNU: Louisville at Virginia
3:30pm CBSSN: Pittsburgh at FIU
3:30pm BTN: Miami (OH) at Michigan
3:30pm SEC Network: Rice at Texas A&M
4pm FS1: Minnesota at TCU
6pm ESPN2: Kentucky at Florida
7pm FOX: Illinois at Washington
7pm ESPN: USC at Boston College
7pm ESPNU: UCF at Missouri
7pm CBSSN: Wake Forest at Utah St.
7pm SEC Network: UL-Monroe at LSU
7pm SEC/FSN: Massachusetts at Vanderbilt
7:30pm NBC: Purdue vs. Notre Dame (confirmed)
8pm ABC: UCLA vs. Texas
8pm BTN: West Virginia at Maryland
9:15pm ESPN2: Arizona St. at Colorado
10pm Pac-12: Wyoming at Oregon
10pm Pac-12: Nevada at Arizona
10:30pm ESPNU: Army at Stanford
10:30pm CBSSN: Nebraska at Fresno St.

If Pitt-FIU were moved to Thursday (no inside knowledge of that happening, just a guess based on opponents of both teams before & after the game), Western Kentucky-Middle Tennessee or Louisiana Tech-North Texas would be worthy replacements for CBSSN.

The Big 12 choices are unique this week.  After doing some digging this offseason, I think UCLA-Texas will get counted as a Big 12 TV contract game for ESPN because it is being played in Texas.  I also considered the best available game, so it earned the 8pm ABC slot.  Coupled with Tennessee-Oklahoma, I've essentially given ABC the top two Big 12 choices.  FOX is somewhat boxed in with its MLB window at 1pm and historically how ABC and FOX have tried very hard not to air concurrent Big 12 games on the broadcast networks, so I don't think FOX would air Tennessee-Oklahoma in prime time.  Maybe FOX would consider taking Tennessee-Oklahoma and starting it at an odd time (5pm ET maybe?) or airing it on FS1, which would require changing up the ABC 3:30pm window I have listed.  But that's also why I slotted Illinois-Washington for 7pm on FOX.

I am hoping that with a 7pm start for Illinois-Washington, ESPN2 could air Arizona St.-Colorado at 9:15pm ET.  8:15pm or 8:30pm ET local time seems a little late to start that game.  I know there is some concern about the exclusivity of the broadcast network windows with the Pac-12 Network, but I hope some leeway could be given to the cable windows as well when possible.  If they can relax some exclusivity around the Pac-12 Network windows, you could move Wyoming-Oregon to 6:30pm ET.

I did not set aside any games for ESPNEWS, but there are options from the ACC, MAC and Sun Belt.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Quick take on the American CFB TV schedule & remaining Thurs/Fri openings for ESPN

* With the release of the American CFB schedule, thirteen games were designated for national cable telecasts by ESPN (not listed: Oklahoma-Tulsa because it could air on ABC).  That is slightly less than half of the 28 games that, I've been told, ESPN must carry on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.

I'm expecting at least one of the Black Friday games to be picked up by the ESPN networks at some point.

The American says that 80 percent of their conference controlled games will air on a combination of six networks, which would be 56 games out of the 70 games they control.  That should leave a combination of 28 games on ESPNEWS & CBS Sports Network.  CBSSN's sublicense agreement is for about 13-15 games, so it should be roughly a 50/50 split for the "second 28"

The remaining 14 games, or some approximate number, would be on ESPN3 or possibly regional television if they desire making agreements to get those games on TV.

* I'll give you this graphic first and then we can discuss it.  EDIT: Column 1 is the Saturday date.  Column 2 is the corresponding Thursday (-2 days), column 3 the corresponding Friday (-1 day).

For the five openings on Thursday nights

8/28 - Would seem to be a lock for Ole Miss-Boise St.
9/4 - Last year ESPN went dark on this Thursday night to televise the US Open tennis event on both ESPN & ESPN2.  This is also the opening night of the NFL season.
9/27 - Two games are currently available: Texas Tech-Oklahoma St. & UCLA-Arizona St.
11/13 - California at USC is available
11/27 - TCU at Texas and LSU at Texas A&M are available

Of note, ESPN could do doubleheaders on 8/28, 10/2 and 10/16.  These three dates have Pac-12 games set aside.

8/28 - Rutgers vs. Washington St., Weber St. at Arizona St. & Idaho St. at Utah
9/27 - Taking both Texas Tech-Oklahoma St. & UCLA-Arizona St.
10/2 - Arizona at Oregon
10/16 - Utah at Oregon St.

Fridays are open for ESPN too.  The Mountain West, BYU and Pac-12 could be slotted into many of these openings.  One item of note: Boise St. home games, which ESPN has the rights to, can have no more than three weeknight games

9/26 - Right now, probably a MW game.  Boise St. is at Air Force, so ESPN would need to trade CBS Sports Network a Boise St. home game to get access to the game.
10/10 - Washington at Stanford is scheduled for this evening.  Boise St. is on bye.  BYU is playing the night before
10/17 - Fresno St. at Boise St. is available.  Nevada at BYU could be moved.
11/7 - A Mountain West game seems likely.  Boise St. is on the road.
11/21 - A Mountain West game seems likely.  Boise St. is on the road.

The possibility exists of a Friday doubleheader on 10/3 with Utah St. visiting BYU.  Oregon is also visiting Cal on 10/24 in a game being played at Levi's Stadium for a doubleheader.

There will also be some Thursday & Friday games on ESPNU, likely from the Sun Belt.  The American has a few scheduled already and the Mountain West, BYU and maybe the Pac-12 fill out a few too.  There should also be some SWAC & MEAC games on Thursdays.

FOX Sports 1 will also be getting into the mix with some of the Pac-12 games mentioned, along with some C-USA games in process of being set aside and a couple Big 12 games, such as the Kansas St.-West Virginia game on 11/20 (not confirmed, but seems likely) and possibly TCU-Texas on Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Way too early Week 2 CFB TV Schedule Guess

Considered the following items:
  • Last year ESPN did not air a Thursday night game for the 2nd week of the season.  They elected to air the US Open tennis event on both ESPN and ESPN2.  Also, this is the opening night of the NFL season.
  • For motorsports conflicts, there are the following
    • NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Saturday night on ABC
    • NASCAR Nationwide race on Friday night on either ESPN or ESPN2
  • FOX has two MLB telecast windows.  FOX has confirmed a 1pm window on their broadcast network and a 4pm window on FS1.
  • Virginia Tech at Ohio St. and Michigan St. at Oregon were both moved at the request of ESPN to this date.  Virginia Tech-Ohio St. for a time before 3:30pm ET and Michigan St.-Oregon was guaranteed not to be a night game out on the west coast.
  • There could be conference games involving teams from the American that are waiting for a schedule release.
7:30pm FS1: Arizona at UTSA

This game was moved along with UNLV-Arizona.  I'm playing a hunch that FOX was the one that requested both games be moved with the intention of televising both of them.

7pm CBSSN: Navy at Temple
8pm ESPN/ESPN2: Pittsburgh at Boston College (game confirmed)

Playing another hunch on moving Navy-Temple.  No insight or advance knowledge.  Just comparing against other American games that weekend.

12pm ESPN: Oklahoma at Tulsa
12pm ESPN2: Akron at Penn St.
12pm ESPNU: San Jose St. at Auburn
12pm FS1: Kansas St. at Iowa St.
12pm ESPNEWS: Missouri at Toledo
12pm FSN: Northwestern St. at Baylor (Big 12 institutional)
12pm CBSSN: Buffalo at Army
12pm BTN: Central Michigan at Purdue
12pm BTN: McNeese St. at Nebraska
12pm BTN: Middle Tennessee at Minnesota
12pm SEC Network: Eastern Michigan at Florida
12pm SEC Network: Nicholls St. at Arkansas
12pm ROOT Pittsburgh: Towson at West Virginia (Big 12 institutional)
12:30pm ACC Network: Old Dominion at NC State
12:30pm ACC RSNs: The Citadel at Florida St.
3pm Pac-12: Sacramento St. at California
3pm Pac-12: Fresno St. at Utah
3:30pm ABC: Virginia Tech at Ohio St.
3:30pm ESPN2: Georgia Tech at Tulane
3:30pm ESPNU: San Diego St. at North Carolina
3:30pm CBSSN: Washington St. at Nevada
3:30pm FSN: Missouri St. at Oklahoma St. (Big 12 institutional)
3:30pm BTN: Ball St. at Iowa
3:30pm BTN: Western Illinois at Wisconsin
3:30pm BTN: Western Kentucky at Illinois
3:30pm SEC Network: UAB at Mississippi St.
3:30pm SEC Network: Ohio at Kentucky
4pm ESPNEWS: Maryland at USF
4:30pm ESPN: FAU at Alabama
7pm FOX: BYU at Texas
7pm ESPN2: Ole Miss at Vanderbilt
7pm ESPNU: East Carolina at South Carolina
7pm CBSSN: SMU at North Texas
7pm SEC Network: Arkansas St. at Tennessee
7pm SEC Network: Sam Houston St. at LSU
7pm Jayhawk Network: Southeast Missouri St. at Kansas (Big 12 institutional)
7:15pm FS1: Texas Tech at UTEP
7:30pm NBC: Michigan at Notre Dame (confirmed)
7:30pm SEC/FSN: Lamar at Texas A&M
8pm ESPN: Michigan St. at Oregon
8pm BTN: Northern Illinois at Northwestern
8pm BTN: Howard at Rutgers
10:30pm ESPN2: Colorado St. at Boise St.
10:30pm FS1: USC at Stanford
10:30pm ESPNU: Arizona St. at New Mexico
10:30pm CBSSN: Oregon St. at Hawai'i
10:30pm Pac-12: Eastern Washington at Washington
10:30pm Pac-12: Memphis at UCLA

Eleven SEC games in their own telecasts windows would really make this a mess.  But I've heard that the network will have overflow feeds available as needed to fit multiple games into a single TV window.

If ESPN televises Michigan St.-Oregon, I think it keeps USC-Stanford off FOX broadcast network and onto FS1 and forces FOX into choosing a Big 12 game.  BYU-Texas seems to be more attractive compared to Kansas St.-Iowa St.  I know that ESPN likes to take BYU road games whenever possible, but sometimes they fall to other entities, like last year's game at Utah St.

The NFL schedule isn't out yet for 2014, but I believe that Minnesota's games will be early afternoon games whenever possible as TCF Bank Stadium will need to be converted over for Vikings games.

The MWC schedule made things more interesting.  ESPN has rights to all Boise St. home games and there are four decent non-conference choices.

Still early Week 1 CFB TV Guesses - 2nd Chance

With nearly all schedules released except the American, here's a 2nd guess.  In reality, I'm probably just fishing in an empty pond.

All times listed are Eastern.  Here's the full schedule

6pm SEC Network: Texas A&M at South Carolina
7:30pm ESPN: Ole Miss vs. Boise St.
7:30pm CBSSN: Bowling Green at Western Kentucky
8pm ESPNU: UTSA at Houston
8pm BTN: Eastern Illinois at Minnesota
9:15pm SEC Network: Temple at Vanderbilt
9:30pm Pac-12: Weber St. at Arizona St.
9:30pm Pac-12: Idaho St. at Utah
10pm FS1: Rutgers vs. Washington St.

Right now, I expect any other games listed for Thursday to air on ESPN3 or a conference-based streaming service.

8pm ESPN: BYU at Connecticut (confirmed)
10pm FS1: UNLV at Arizona

Once the announcement that UNLV-Arizona game was moved to Friday came out, I felt that it was FOX's move because they have their MLB commitment for FS1 on Saturday afternoon and are somewhat limited when it comes to when Arizona and Arizona St. want their early season games to kick off.

8:30am ESPN2: Penn St. vs. UCF (confirmed)
12pm ESPN: Clemson at Georgia
12pm ESPN2: Appalachian St. at Michigan
12pm FS1: SMU at Baylor
12pm ESPNEWS: Boston College at Massachusetts
12pm ESPNU: FAU at Nebraska
12pm CBSSN: Ohio St. vs. Navy (time confirmed)
12pm BTN: Western Michigan at Purdue
12pm BTN: Northern Iowa at Iowa
12pm SEC Network: UT-Martin at Kentucky
12pm MAC/ESPN Plus: Ohio at Kent St.
12:30pm ACC Network: Georgia Southern at NC State
12:30pm ACC RSNs: Elon at Duke
3pm Pac-12: Portland St. at Oregon St.
3pm Pac-12: UC Davis at Stanford
3:30pm NBC: Rice at Notre Dame (confirmed)
3:30pm ABC/ESPN2: UCLA at Virginia
3:30pm ABC/ESPN2: LSU vs. Wisconsin
3:30pm ESPNU: California at Northwestern
3:30pm FSN: Samford at TCU (Big 12 3rd tier)
3:30pm BTN: Indiana St. at Indiana
3:30pm BTN: Jacksonville St. at Michigan St.
3:30pm SEC Network: Utah St. at Tennessee
4pm ESPN: Idaho at Florida
6:30pm Pac-12: Colorado St. vs. Colorado
7pm ESPNU: Southern Miss at Mississippi St.
7pm FSN: Central Arkansas at Texas Tech (Big 12 3rd tier)
7pm SEC/FSN: South Dakota St. at Missouri
7pm SEC Network: Arkansas at Auburn
7pm PPV: Louisiana Tech at Oklahoma (Big 12 3rd tier)
7pm FCS: Troy at UAB
8pm ABC: Oklahoma St. vs. Florida St.
8pm ESPN: West Virginia vs. Alabama
8pm BTN: James Madison at Maryland
8pm BTN: Youngstown St. at Illinois
8pm CyclonesTV: North Dakota St. at Iowa St. (Big 12 3rd tier)
8pm Longhorn: North Texas at Texas (Big 12 3rd tier)
10pm Pac-12: South Dakota at Oregon
10:30pm ESPN2: Fresno St. at USC
10:30pm CBSSN: Washington at Hawai'i

Auburn is supposed to host the first SEC Network pregame show.  Would make a lot of sense for their game vs. Arkansas to air on the channel too.

The first pass omitted the ACC Network and ACC RSN games.  I have added those at 12:30pm.

I moved the WMU-Purdue game after others reminded me how Purdue prefers their home night games to be on ABC or ESPN because those networks end up footing the bill for temporary lights.

Once the MAC schedule came out, Ohio-Kent St. was added with an ESPN Plus telecast window.  It is the only MAC intraconference game during the opening week.

Everything else should be on conference streaming packages or ESPN3.

3:30pm ESPN: Tulane at Tulsa

8pm ESPN: Miami (FL) at Louisville (confirmed)

A scheduling item plus some thoughts on the Dish Network-Disney agreement

EDIT: This post erroneously had the expiration date of Disney's contract w/DirecTV in 2015.  The agreement signed in 2005 was retroactive back to 2004, meaning the expiration date of the current deal is in 2014.  My apologies for the error.

I want to briefly hit on a couple items, particularly around the news of Dish Network and Disney coming together on a programming deal.

* With the news that it suspends Dish's AutoHop technology on ABC shows for three days after airing (known as the C3 ratings period) and that Dish received "over-the-top" rights to some of ESPN channels, it is a huge agreement.   Because I tend to limit what is covered here to college football and men's college basketball, I don't properly focus on the items external to those products.

But after digesting more of the items in the agreement last night and reading more items that followers on Twitter provided, I think it has scope changing items, similar to the agreement Disney did with Time Warner Cable.  That agreement set the precedent of tying access to ESPN3 to a subscription to the appropriate tier of channels that carried ESPN.  Two years later on the opening week of college football season, live programming from ESPN & ESPN2 was split out of ESPN3 and set aside as part of the WatchESPN product.

Here are three articles & blog posts that brought up excellent points.

Wireless Week
JMan Media Zone

* For a lot of college football fans, the confirmation of the SEC Network (and Longhorn Network) being tied into the deal was a huge deal.  Similar to the deal with AT&T U-Verse, the Dish deal bring a competitor to traditional cable if they elect not to sign up for the service.

Where does it leave DirecTV?  It puts them in an interesting spot.  The agreement with Disney and DirecTV ends in late September of 2014.  DirecTV CEO Michael White has previously stated they weren't interesting in renegotiating for access to ESPN3 and WatchESPN services until their contract is up.  Does this force their hand?

I know that the Pac-12 had their campaign around dumping DirecTV for another service to get the network, with Cal AD Sandy Barbour providing proof of her home receiving Comcast service and dumping DirecTV.  But I also had a fair number of folks who were not interested in dumping the service right away due to contracts with DirecTV for service.

With this news, I can't tell you how many folks have either messaged me or responded to Twitter posts about how they would gladly pay off the DirecTV contract to get out from under it to get SEC Network or if the choice was to be made between NFL Sunday Ticket or SEC Network, SEC Network would win.

It should be a interesting 4-5 months.  DirecTV has decisions to make.

* Arizona had a pair of games moved to weeknights yesterday, with their game vs. UNLV moved to Friday night 8/29 and the road game at UTSA to Thursday 9/4.  A common programmer in these items is FOX, who is a rightsholder to both C-USA and the Pac-12.

FOX has MLB programming on FOX Sports 1 every Saturday during the season, including 8/30 and 9/6.  Airing games on Thursday and/or Friday through September may alleviate some scheduling issues with other events instead of being forced to move events to FOX Sports 2.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Conference tournament TV primer

First week
Second week

With the ACC getting larger, the American & Big East effectively splitting from each other and the A-10 and Mountain West changing over their TV deals, let's take a few minutes to discuss changes in where to find games over the next few weeks

The tournament is now five days, essentially what the Big East was for nearly the last nine years, running from Wednesday to Sunday.

First Round - ESPN2 / ACC Network
Second Round - ESPN / ACC Network
Quarterfinals - ESPN / ACC Network
Semifinals & Final - ESPN / ACC Network

The ESPN network for the quarterfinals has not yet been set.  It would be going up against the Big Ten quarterfinals in the afternoon and the American semifinals in the evening.

The ten team tournament will be contested over four days

First Round - ESPNU (game 1) and ESPN2 (game 2)
Quarterfinals - ESPNU
Semifinals - ESPN2
Final - ESPN

Atlantic 10
As part of a new television contract, the quarterfinals, semifinals and final will be on three different networks

First Round - NBC Sports Regional Networks (2 games, 12pm & 9pm) & NBCSN (2:30pm & 6:30pm)
Quarterfinals - NBCSN
Semifinals - CBS Sports Network
Final - CBS (sublicensed from ESPN)

Atlantic Sun
The championship game has shifted to Sunday on ESPN2 as part of a doubleheader with the Big South.

Big East
The Big East switches over to FOX Sports 1 and its entire tournament will air on the network.  Four day tournament.  The final will air on Saturday evening after the Pac-12 championship on FS1.

Only the semifinals (CBS Sports Network) and final (CBS) will be televised.  Part of the issue is the Mountain West now taking up four full days due to their increased size of eleven schools (see further down).

The other rounds will be streamed through the C-USA Digital Network.

The televised portions of the tournament previously handled by SportsTime Ohio (2nd & 3rd rounds, plus semifinals) will be televised on Time Warner Sports Channel in Ohio and New York.  It might also be televised by BCSN in northwester Ohio and other affiliates.  These games are usually available on ESPN3 outside Ohio and the MAC Digital Network in Ohio for those without Time Warner Cable.

With an eleven team format, the quarterfinal round has shifted back to Thursday.  All quarterfinals (CBSSN), semifinals (CBSSN) and final (CBS) will be televised and the first round will be shown exclusively on the Mountain West Digital Network.

Three games (one quarterfinal, one semifinal and the final) are the property of the Pac-12's national TV partners, ESPN and FOX, and are switched on a yearly basis.  This year FOX Sports 1 will have these three games.

Due to NBA commitments, the SEC final shifts from ABC to ESPN with a later start time of 3pm ET on Sunday.  This is also the final year of syndication telecasts for the bulk of the tournament.

The semifinals will be televised once again, this time by CSS.

Sun Belt
The Sun Belt moved its tournament back nearly one week with its final to be played on Selection Sunday.  Two quarterfinals and the semifinals will be shown on the Sun Belt Network and the final on ESPN2.

The tournament has shifted to a "traditional" ten team tournament with two first round games & four quarterfinals.  The tournament will take a break on both Friday along with on Sunday.  The Friday break is for the women's quarterfinals to be played as the WCC has both tournaments at the same site.  The semifinals will be played on Monday with a Tuesday night final.

BYUtv will televise four games from the tournament: two first round games and the afternoon quarterfinal session.  The BYUtv games will be streamed on both the BYUtv website and the conference's digital network,  ESPN2 and ESPN will carry the rest of the tournament.

First Round (Thurs) - BYUtv
Quarterfinals (Sat) - BYUtv (afternoon) & ESPN2 (evening)
Semifinals (Mon) - ESPN (1st semifinal) & ESPN2 (2nd semifinal)
Final (Tues) - ESPN