Friday, April 21, 2017

Notes: Big Ten Homecoming, Arizona Bowl, Links to Previous Articles

* While we wait on finalization of the Big Ten TV contracts, here's the list of Big Ten homecoming games that have been set so far.  In the past, the start times were set for these in April or May, usually after night games were designated unless a homecoming game was moved to the evening.  I do not know if they will continue to have homecoming start times set in the spring.  Nearly all Big Ten stadiums will have permanent lights coming into the 2017 season due to the expiring TV contracts where primary networks (ie: ABC/ESPN) paid for temporary lights, so this process could be changing.

I was unable to find homecoming dates for Nebraska or Rutgers through the schools or other news reports.  I am currently connecting Ohio St.'s homecoming to this page about the Nursing major's events for homecoming.

9/23 - Michigan at Purdue
10/7 - Illinois at Iowa, Penn St. at Northwestern, Marylan at Ohio St.
10/14 - Michigan at Indiana
10/21 - Indiana at Michigan St., Illinois at Minnesota, Maryland at Wisconsin
10/28 - Wisconsin at Illinois, Rutgers at Michigan, Indiana at Maryland
11/11 - Rutgers at Penn St.

FOX has their network upfront on 5/15 and ESPN has theirs the following day, so maybe those are the two dates to look out for.

* One of the items that may not have carried over as part of the Campus Insiders & ASN joint venture is the rights to the Arizona Bowl, which have been picked up by CBS Sports Network.  A few years back, it was thought that the game would end up on CBSSN, but never did.

An astute observation on the date of the game (December 30th):
To be clear, the Fiesta Bowl organizing committee does also hold the license to the Cactus Bowl, but the Arizona Bowl is under its own operating committee.  With that said, the games will probably overlap in their timeslots as my expectation is the Fiesta will lead into the Orange Bowl, which has been scheduled for a primetime start.

* In the area of self-promotion:

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Breakdown of D1 Men's Basketball on TV For 2016-17 By Conference

I've done this in prior seasons, skipped it last year and decided to bring it back for this year.  Here's a breakdown of men's basketball on TV by conference.  I broke the games down in the following categories:
  • Broadcast network
  • Pay TV
  • Syndication & Regional Distribution
    • Includes ASN, ACC Network, ACC RSNs, FSN, NBC RSNs, ROOT Sports
The TV rights are those contracted with the home school's conference, so BYU's home games on BYUtv are nowhere to be found here (add 13 to the 60-80 million column if you want to include them).  All counts include conference tournaments games that were televised.  

The reason syndication was set aside is that the number of viewers is often variable and I wasn't interested in calculating it on a game by game basis, hence it gets its own bucket.  The fact is the data in this column probably isn't as reliable as it could or should be because I am likely under reporting the number of games.   For example, the WCC count is solely their "Game Of The Week" when I could be adding in a lot of other games, but those other games could be contracted out by the schools with the telecasts regionally shared.  I just don't know enough in that area which is why I tried to stick to situations where a conference had entered into an agreement with an entity. An example of that would be the Big 12, who had about 16 institutionally held games distributed through FSN & several Texas games on Longhorn Network.

Anyways, here's the link.  Have fun.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Way Too Early CFB TV Guesses for Week Three For 2017, Take Two.

Took a final crack at Week Three.

If the game has both its time & TV network set (see link above), I'm not going to re-list it here.  If one of the two is missing, I'll list it since something is in doubt.  The links at the top of each week will have those games.  Also, I'm not going to list games that are scheduled for ESPN3, ACC Network Extra, Campus Insiders, CUSA.TV, etc. since the start times for those games are often set by the schools.

Only a handful of games have been changed from the original post in February and that post has some of the external event considerations and selection orders I considered.  If its in bold below, either the time or network changed from the original post, likely due to a schedule release or date change, or in the case of Massachusetts at Temple, I elected to set a start time & network for it.  The four Saturday games that changed have notes on them.

Massachusetts at Temple, 7pm ESPNU

Notre Dame at Boston College, 12pm ABC
Army at Ohio St., 12pm ESPN
Georgia St. at Penn St., 12pm ESPN2
Tulane at Oklahoma, 12pm FS1
UCLA at Memphis, 12pm ESPNU
Iowa St. at Akron, 12pm ESPNEWS
SMU at TCU, 12pm FSN
Purdue at Missouri, 12pm SEC
Samford at Georgia, 12pm SEC
Kansas at Ohio, 12pm CBSSN
FIU at Indiana, 12pm BTN
Morgan St. at Rutgers, 12pm BTN
Connecticut at Virginia, 12:30pm ACC Network
San Jose St. at Utah, 2pm Pac-12
Delaware St. at West Virginia, 2pm ROOT Sports Pittsburgh
Central Michigan at Syracuse, 3pm ACC RSNs
Miami (FL) at Florida St., 3:30pm ABC
Tennessee at Florida, 3:30pm CBS
Oklahoma St. at Pittsburgh, 3:30pm ESPN
Arizona St. at Texas Tech, 3:30pm ESPN2
Baylor at Duke, 3:30pm ESPNU
Georgia Tech at UCF, 3:30pm CBSSN - previously at 7pm on CBSSN where Oregon at Wyoming will air
Bowling Green at Northwestern, 3:30pm BTN
Northern Illinois at Nebraska, 3:30pm BTN
Virginia Tech at East Carolina, 4pm ESPNEWS - had on Thursday night & needed to find a home for it.
Mercer at Auburn, 4pm SEC
UL-Lafayette at Texas A&M, 4pm SEC
Air Force at Michigan, 4:30pm FOX
Oregon St. at Washington St., 5pm Pac-12
LSU at Mississippi St., 7pm ESPN
Colorado St. at Alabama, 7pm ESPN2
Kansas St. at Vanderbilt, 7pm ESPNU
North Carolina at Old Dominion, 7pm beIN Sports - originally on ASN
Kentucky at South Carolina, 7:30pm SEC
North Texas at Iowa, 7:30pm BTN
Middle Tennessee at Minnesota, 7:30pm BTN
Clemson at Louisville, 8pm ABC
Texas at USC, 8pm FOX
Rice at Houston, 8pm ESPNEWS - was at 4pm on ESPNEWS
Northern Colorado at Colorado, 8pm Pac-12
Wisconsin at BYU, 10:15pm ESPN2
Ole Miss at California, 10:30pm ESPN
Fresno St. at Washington, 11pm Pac-12

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The New ASN: Silver Chalice TV?

The news finally appeared that Sinclair Broadcasting's American Sports Network would be changing in its format, with the creation of a new entity involving Sinclair, Silver Chalice and 120 Sports.

From the point of view of college athletics, Campus Insiders and ASN will be providing the live events where 120 Sports, with equity partners including pro sports & media entities, would provide a great deal of the studio programming.

Its hard for me to completely describe the relationship between 120 Sports and Campus Insiders.  I look at them as first cousins.  120 Sports, at this time, doesn't have any live events to contribute, but the equity partners they have should be able to provide the network with a ton of unique content.  The Silver Chalice umbrella counts White Sox & Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf as its chairman.

Campus Insiders and Sinclair have direct relationships with the following collegiate conferences for live events:
  • Conference USA 
    • It is believed that this may be the only live events agreement that Sinclair is bringing from ASN in addition to a schedule of games on Campus Insiders.
  • Mountain West
    • SportsLabs, a media platform in the Silver Chalice family, is the platform running the conference's website.  Campus Insiders also provides the framework for the Mountain West Network digital network.
  • Patriot League
  • WCC
    • Similar to the Mountain West, the conference's website and digital network are in the Silver Chalice family.
All three entities have partnered on distributing the Arizona Bowl the last two years, with ASN providing the telecast and both Campus Insiders and 120 Sports handling digital delivery and exclusive second screen programming.

The ACC's website is also maintained by SportsLabs, along with websites from multiple schools, including Wyoming, Penn & Kansas St.  Digital network repositories for both the ACC and Big 12 exist over at Campus Insiders too.

For the new entity, the feeling I get it that Sinclair will provide it with the distribution outlet of digital subchannels on several Sinclair owned TV stations that previously housed the 24/7 ASN feed.  From that point of view, you might view it as Sinclair getting out of the business of actively managing a sports channel and reducing its risk by providing the blank canvas of airspace to Silver Chalice and 120 Sports to program over it, with those two entities, hopefully, providing better distribution digitally, better content and improved event production over what Sinclair provided.

So what events could make it to the new network?  My initial expectation is Conference USA will be there at the start.  Maybe this network tries to attract another former ASN tentpole in the Atlantic 10, who has prior experience with Campus Insiders.  After that, I don't know because I don't know how the existing contracts are structured for the Mountain West and WCC with their TV partners to handle another national TV partner if this entity is considered as such, particularly in cases where the "conference footprint" is designated as in-market with streaming in the out-of-market areas.  Over time, I could see it being a player for media rights, particularly with a conference like the Mountain West who has expressed dissatisfaction with existing TV partners over the number of evening football games and how it has eroded ticket sales.  Or maybe a conference like the Big Ten, who has elected to go with shorter term rights deals with ESPN and FOX Sports, would look at Campus Insiders to handle something a package of content like BTN Plus, but with a few football & men's basketball games in the future.  Whether they could pony up the cash to get a deal done is anyone's guess, and as anyone who follows Sports TV Ratings on Twitter will tell you, digital viewers do not equal TV viewers, so the revenues from linear TV can't necessarily be derived through digital distribution.

What I'm also curious about is the linear television distribution beyond Sinclair's multicast channels.  Campus Insiders has been able to provide live content through several different mediums, such as Verizon's go90 mobile video delivery app, Dish Network's Sling TV and Twitter.  Will the network continue to have dedicated feeds, or live event programming through those delivery methods?  ASN had live events provided to several RSNs in the Xfinity family along with unaffiliated RSNs like Altitude, NESN, MASN and Cox Sports.  Will that continue or end, particularly if a standalone channel is started?

More questions than answers, but hopefully it will provide easier access to these games for fans, higher quality programming and a better return to the schools, either financially at the gate through more control of start times or a rights fee off the production of live events.

Way Too Early CFB TV Guesses for Week Two For 2017, Take Two.

Took a 2nd crack at Week Two.

If the game has both its time & TV network set (see link above), I'm not going to re-list it here.  If one of the two is missing, I'll list it since something is in doubt.  The links at the top of each week will have those games.  Also, I'm not going to list games that are scheduled for ESPN3, ACC Network Extra, Campus Insiders, CUSA.TV, etc. since the start times for those games are often set by the schools.

A fair portion of this is going to look a lot like the Week Two post from February, minus a couple changes due to C-USA and Mountain West TV confirmations.  A few networks changed on a couple games and a couple moved to different start times.  The big change came from FOX Sports and the USGA releasing its television schedule, which includes Walker Cup coverage on September 9th on FS1.

EDIT: And since it looked like that February post, that means I forgot two SEC games.  Since you've first read this (possibly), I added both Northern Colorado at Florida & Alabama A&M at Vanderbilt.  Both at 4pm ET on SEC Network (one on the alternate, we'll find out later).  I moved Fresno St. at Alabama to ESPN2 at 7pm, Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky to 12pm on SEC Network (or alternate), Chattanooga at LSU from ESPN2 to ESPNU and staying at 7pm ET and removed Miami (FL) at Arkansas St. from TV and likely to ESPN3.

All times Eastern

Friday 9/8
Ohio at Purdue, 8pm ESPN2

Saturday 9/9
Louisville at North Carolina, 12pm ABC
Cincinnati at Michigan, 12pm ESPN

East Carolina at West Virginia, 12pm ESPN2
UTSA at Baylor, 12pm FSN
UL-Monroe at Florida St., 12pm ESPNU
Memphis at UCF, 12pm ESPNEWS
Indiana St. at Tennessee, 12pm SEC

Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky, 12pm SEC
Eastern Michigan at Rutgers, 12pm BTN
Towson at Maryland, 12pm BTN
Wake Forest at Boston College12:30pm ACC Network
Indiana at Virginia, 12:30pm ACC RSNs

Boise St. at Washington St., 2pm Pac-12 Networks/Washington
Texas St. at Colorado, 2pm Pac-12 Mountain
Auburn at Clemson, 3:30pm ABC
South Carolina at Missouri, 3:30pm CBS

Iowa at Iowa St., 3:30pm ESPN2
Charlotte at Kansas St., 3:30pm FSN
Northwestern at Duke, 3:30pm ESPNU
FAU at Wisconsin, 3:30pm BTN
Western Michigan at Michigan St., 3:30pm BTN

USF at Connecticut, 4pm ESPNEWS
Alabama A&M at Vanderbilt, 4pm SEC
Northern Colorado at Florida, 4pm SEC
Pittsburgh at Penn St., 4:30pm FOX
Minnesota at Oregon St., 5pm Pac-12 Networks/Oregon
TCU at Arkansas, 7pm ESPN
Fresno St. at Alabama, 7pm ESPN2
Chattanooga at LSU, 7pm ESPNU
UT Martin at Ole Miss, 7:30pm SEC
Nicholls at Texas A&M, 7:30pm SEC
Central Michigan at Kansas, 7:30pm FSN
Western Kentucky at Illinois, 7:30pm BTN

Oklahoma at Ohio St., 8pm ABC
Stanford at USC, 8pm FOX
Oklahoma St. at South Alabama, 8pm ESPNEWS
Montana at Washington, 8pm Pac-12 Networks/Washington
Weber St. at California, 8pm Pac-12 Bay Area
San Jose St. at Texas, 8pm Longhorn
Houston at Arizona, 10pm FS1
Utah at BYU, 10:15pm ESPN2
Hawai'i at UCLA, 10:15pm ESPNU
Nebraska at Oregon, 10:30pm ESPN
San Diego St. at Arizona St., 11pm Pac-12 Networks/Arizona

Monday, April 10, 2017

Way Too Early CFB TV Guesses for Weeks Zero & One For 2017, Take Two.

I suppose its fair to take a second crack at this now that we know a handful of start times for Week Zero (there's very little to work with here) and Week One.

I'll finish up Weeks Two & Three in the next day or two.  Here are the schedules for Week Zero and Week One, along with my original guesses.

If the game has both its time & TV network set, I'm not going to re-list it here.  If one of the two is missing, I'll list it since something is in doubt.  The links at the top of each week will have those games.  Also, I'm not going to list games that are scheduled for ESPN3, ACC Network Extra, Campus Insiders, CUSA.TV, etc. since the start times for those games are often set by the schools.

All times Eastern

Week Zero (8/26 & 8/27), both 8/26
Hawai'i at Massachusetts, 12pm ESPN3
Portland St. at BYU, 6pm BYUtv
Stanford vs. Rice, 10pm ESPN

Week One (8/31 - 9/4)

Thursday 8/31
Presbyterian at Wake Forest, 7:30pm ACC RSNs
Holy Cross at Connecticut, 7:30pm SNY
Ohio St. at Indiana, 8pm ESPN
UL-Monroe at Memphis, 8pm CBSSN
Buffalo at Minnesota, 8pm BTN
North Dakota at Utah, 8pm Pac-12 Network/Mountain
New Mexico St. at Arizona, 11pm Pac-12 Network/Arizona

Friday 9/1
Washington at Rutgers, 7pm ESPN
Utah St. at Wisconsin, 8pm FS1
Boston College at Northern Illinois, 9:15pm CBSSN
Colorado St. vs. Colorado, 10:15pm ESPN

My early thought, which probably falls apart, is FOX broadcast network carries the USMNT World Cup qualifier and FS1 carries Mexico's game.  To carry El Tri, they might need to move up Utah St. at Wisconsin to 7pm ET to start Mexico's game at 9pm or 8pm local time, wherever it is played.

Saturday 9/2
Maryland at Texas, 12pm ESPN
Tulsa at Oklahoma St., 12pm FS1
Kent St. at Clemson, 12pm ESPNU
Liberty at Baylor, 12pm FSN
Missouri St. at Missouri, 12pm SEC Network
Akron at Penn St., 12pm BTN
Bowling Green at Michigan St., 12pm BTN
William & Mary at Virginia, 12:30pm ACC Network
Portland St. at Oregon St., 2pm Pac-12 Networks/Oregon
BYU vs. LSU, 3:30pm ABC
NC State vs. South Carolina, 3:30pm CBS
Louisville vs. Purdue, 3:30pm FOX
Jackson St. at TCU, 3:30pm FSN
Georgia Southern at Auburn, 3:30pm ESPNU
Nevada at Northwestern, 3:30pm BTN
Wyoming at Iowa, 3:30pm BTN
Charleston Southern at Mississippi St., 4pm SEC Network
VMI at Air Force, 4pm ROOT Sports
Montana St. at Washington St., 5pm Pac-12 Networks/Washington
California at North Carolina, 5:30pm ESPN
Central Arkansas at Kansas St., 7pm K-StateHD.TV
Southeast Missouri at Kansas, 7pm Jayhawk TV
UTEP at Oklahoma, 7pm PPV
Houston at UTSA, 7pm beIN Sports
Appalachian St. at Georgia, 7:30pm ESPNU
South Alabama at Ole Miss, 7:30pm SEC Network
Alabama vs. Florida St., 8pm ABC
Eastern Washington at Texas Tech, 8pm FSN
Arkansas St. at Nebraska, 8pm BTN
Ball St. at Illinois, 8pm BTN
Southern Utah at Oregon, 8pm Pac-12 Networks/Oregon
Northern Iowa at Iowa St., 8pm Cyclones.TV
Michigan vs. Florida, 9pm ESPN
Western Michigan at USC, 10:30pm FS1
Northern Arizona at Arizona, 11pm Pac-12 Networks/Arizona
Western Carolina at Hawai'i, Midnight OC Sports

I've tried for weeks to get an answer regarding which conference is the rightsholder for NC State vs. South Carolina & unfortunately I have received no concrete answer on the subject.  I'm assuming it is a SEC game.

Also, I cut back on the number of Big Ten games aired via ESPN or FOX Sports, placing Akron at Penn St. on BTN.   This led me, along with the two games moved to Sunday 9/3, to cut out the 12pm ABC window.

Re: Troy at Boise St. - see note at the top regarding streaming.  Boise St. home games can be shown on ESPN3.

Sunday 9/3
South Carolina St. at Southern, 3:30pm ESPN

Monday 9/4
Georgia Tech at Tennessee, 8pm ESPN

Friday, April 7, 2017

Notes: C-USA Primary TV Schedule Release, AAC Addition, Civil War & Thursday-Friday Schedules

C-USA Primary TV Schedule

* The C-USA TV schedule is skewed more towards non-conference play with half of the twelve games.

* With ESPN covering a lot of games from other conferences on the opening weekend, it made sense for both Kentucky at Southern Miss and Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee to remain on Saturday and go to CBS Sports Network.   ESPN did take Navy at FAU, Lane Kiffin's first game as FAU coach, and moved it to Friday night.

* Where are the TV designations for games like Houston at UTSA & North Carolina at Old Dominion?  I think you'll see them in the next batch of announcements, which should include beIN Sports.

* Stanford vs. Rice moving to 10pm ET is a slight difference from the original images sent out regarding the start time.  See the original banner below:

If it airs on ESPN, there's also about an hour gap between the start of this one and the end of Chattanooga vs. Jacksonville St. as FCS games typically take less time.

* Western Kentucky at Old Dominion on Friday 10/20 was not set with a start time, however the Air Force at Nevada game airing after it is scheduled to start at 9:30pm ET, so look for the C-USA game to have a 6pm ET start unless a change is made to move the Nevada game back 30-60 minutes.

* Similar to WKU-ODU not yet having a start time, Illinois at USF now has a game airing after it on Friday 9/15 on ESPN with Arizona at UTEP starting at 10:15pm ET, so look for Illinois-USF to start at 7pm ET.

* On the basketball side of the house, Wichita St. is expected to be introduced shortly as a member of the American Athletic Conference.  A potential scheduling rotation could be where two groups of six schools play home-home inside their group/division and single plays cross division to get to 16 conference games.  They could also go with rotating cross division home-home to maintain 18 conference games (EDIT: An 18 game conference schedule is planned per link above). Possible groupings:

"East": Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, Temple, UCF, USF
"West": Houston, Memphis, SMU, Tulane, Tulsa, Wichita St.

These "divisions" are fairly clean with respect to time zone.

* Outside of C-USA, the Civil War (Oregon St. at Oregon) has moved to Saturday 11/25 from Friday 11/24.  Oregon's press release noted that ESPN requested the move as the Ducks men's basketball team is in the PK80 (Phil Knight) event being played in Portland on November 23, 24 & 26 along with the school to allow fans to potentially attend the basketball games and the football game without having to choose between one event or another on Friday.

As with most of ESPN's basketball events around Thanksgiving, Saturday is an off day allowing their networks to carry their college football inventory.  It should be noted, and I can't stress this enough right now, that ESPN was not yet publicly scheduled to carry the football game and there is no guarantee they'll end up with the game now that it has moved to Saturday.

* So what could ESPN's Thursday & Friday night CFB schedule look like, provided I didn't miss an announced game?  Here's a possibility with  everything in red being a guess.  To reiterate, everything in RED is a guess, not factual:

* Here's a guess at what FS1's could look like.  Again, if its in RED, its a guess:

* For completeness, head to this Google Sheets link to view CBSSN's Thursday & Friday night schedule

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Notes on Mountain West National TV Schedule & Remaining Thursday-Friday Openings

2017 Mountain West National TV Schedule

* No trade of Boise St. games between CBS Sports Network and ESPN.  ESPN can send one Boise St. home game to CBSSN in exchange for a BSU Mountain West road game.

* National weeknight games are down two from last year, where there were ten total weeknight games on ESPN Networks and CBSSN.  An case could be made that the two games in "Week Zero", Oregon St. at Colorado St. and USF at San Jose St., help cut down the national weeknight schedule.

* By placing the Boise St. at Utah St. game at 10pm ET on 10/28, look for the Air Force at Colorado St. game at 3pm or 6:30pm ET.  This leaves the possibility for an 11:30am ET start for an American Athletic Conference or Mid-American Conference game.

* The two Mountain West games on 11/4 may be earlier in the day to allow CBSSN to air a portion of the PBR World Finals live, as they have done in past years.

* Look for Temple at Cincinnati game to start at 7pm ET on 11/10 with BYU at UNLV set to start at 10:30pm ET.

* UNLV at New Mexico does not yet have a start time, but should be following the conclusion of the 2K Sports Classic basketball event.  In 2016, UNLV at Boise St. followed it with a scheduled start of 9pm ET and Air Force at Boise St. followed the basketball games in 2015.

* Expect the MAC game that CBSSN has scheduled for Friday 11/24 to precede New Mexico at San Diego St. with a 12pm ET start.

* Based on the start times of the two Mountain West games on 11/25, the final of the Emerald Coast Classic basketball event should be the meat of the MW game sandwich.

* Hawai'i looks to be one game short of the seven games needed to reach their revenue expectation for their PPV package, unless the road game at UMass provides them with a PPV opportunity. The six games currently available are:
  • 9/9 vs. Western Carolina
  • 9/30 vs. Colorado St.
  • 10/14 vs. San Jose St.
  • 11/4 at UNLV
  • 11/11 vs. Fresno St.
  • 11/18 at Utah St.
ROOT Sports could end up picking up one of these games (at Utah St.?) & it could still end up on PPV on the islands.

* With two Boise St. games scheduled for ESPN or ESPN2 so far, one of the remaining home games must air on one of those two networks.  The remaining could air on ESPNU, ESPNEWS or ESPN3.

* So, what's left for Thursday & Friday night games? Per the Big 12, they have to make one more game available for Thursday & Fridays since they have only three currently moved (Texas at Iowa St. on 9/28 & two Black Friday games).  The American Athletic Conference also noted that they could have additional Thursday games in their initial schedule release.  Conference USA has yet to release any game date changes for games they control, but there are openings available, including 10/20 which currently has no other Friday night games scheduled except for the Mountain West game at 10:15pm ET.  C-USA could also have a Thursday or Friday night game on ESPNU too.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Recap of Updates to 2017 CFB Schedule

This is a rehash of tweets from the past ten days, so you may have read these 140 characters at a time already.

* Both Texas A&M at UCLA & West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech have made official moves to Sunday, September 3rd.  Had heard rumblings about the first one, but not the latter, though I made a wild guess at it for a mid-afternoon ESPN game.  The UCLA game was announced first and a Twitter user (the account is now private, but has ESPN in the bio) inferred the game was FOX's and that ESPN, actually ABC, would be having their own telecast, which looks correct at this point.

ESPN should have a Sunday Night Baseball game that night and I don't think the Pac-12 game is earmarked for ESPN2 or ESPNU with its 7:30pm or 8pm start time, so lets continue to assume FOX or FS1.  FS1 is scheduled to carry a NASCAR truck series race in the afternoon and show delayed coverage of NHRA qualifying from the US Nationals from Indianapolis, so both should be free based on whatever is decided.  FS1 has shown one Sunday night football game, SMU at Baylor, in 2014.  They also aired Purdue at Marshall on a Sunday afternoon in 2015, but the NASCAR truck series race from Ontario was scheduled for the prior weekend.

The last Pac-10/12 Sunday football game for FOX Sports, or any Pac-10/12 TV partner, was Fresno St. at Washington in 2004 which aired on FSN nationally.

* Both Northwestern games scheduled for Friday nights in October have been quietly moved back to Saturdays.
The 2017 Big Ten football prospectus confirms this in the PDF.  With both in October, not to mention both weeks had ACC Friday night games, my suspicion is FOX or FS1 was scheduled to carry these and has determined they'll have some other programming commitments, such as MLB postseason, and informed the schools that they could move those back to Saturdays.

* The Big Ten prospectus also confirms that FOX will air the 2017 football championship game on December 2nd.  Still waiting on the conference to announce the new deals with FOX Sports and ESPN.  Would assume they'll be out in April or May to get the word out to advertisers as marketing presentations typically occur in the spring.  The deals end on June 30th.

* Army start times have been set.  The Fordham game at 6pm ET should lead into Boston College at Northern Illinois between 9pm & 9:30pm ET on CBS Sports Network.  The UTEP game, with a 3:30pm ET start, is the first on-campus mid-afternoon game since 2011.

* ROOT Sports and the Big Sky Conference remain partners for football.  A new component is that the games on ROOT will be available to the conference's streaming platform, but not until 30 days after the game has aired.

* American Sports Network does appear to be going dark.  At this time, a limited number of events are on the board through mid-April, though with three specific schools hosting the majority of events. An official announcement hasn't occur, but the digital team signed off with final posts to social media on March 21.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Some American Sports Network Updates

Caught this article this afternoon from the Charleston Gazette-Mail regarding the possibility of American Sports Network remaining a viable entity.  Take a few minutes, read it & come back here.

I've spoken to a source with knowledge of the situation and they've provided the following, some of which matches what Doug Smock has reported:
  • American Sports Network, as its currently known & comprised as a Sinclair owned & operated entity, is indeed going away.  A new entity will be replacing it. Could it have the Campus Insiders or 120 Sports name on it?  I don't know.  They may be involved in picking up existing ASN obligations.  
  • The West Palm Beach facility would be the master control for the new network, as I believe it was for ASN (ASN couldn't stream a few games this year due to weather issues at master control in WPB), with other staff located in other areas for marketing, sales, studio, etc. Currently, Campus Insiders runs its studio in Chicago.
  • Since use of a master control facility involved, that appears to be a sign of a linear TV operation, with more emphasis towards online distribution than Sinclair had with ASN.  This would line up with Doug's wording about "stronger, more diversified distribution"
  • Nearly all the agreements Sinclair had for producing events will expire at the end of the current athletic year, except for Conference USA.  This falls in line with at least one agreement: I do not know if this new entity would seek previous ASN partners to bolster their lineup.
More to follow.  Hopefully this week.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Units earned by conference in the 2017 NCAA MBK Tournament

Have tracked this the last couple years.  Here's some information on how much a unit pays out over a six year period.

68 units are earned, simply by qualifying for the tournament as an at-large or conference champion.  A unit is earned for each game played, except for the national championship game.  Essentially the unit count is frozen once the Final Four is set.  A win in the First Four is no different than a credit earned at any other time.

The conferences listed are those who have earned more than one credit.  This will be updated upon the close of games each night or the following morning.

Updated through games played on 3/26/17.

ACC - 18
American - 3
Atlantic 10 - 4
Big 12 - 15
Big East - 13
Big Ten - 15
Big West - 2
C-USA - 2
MVC - 2
Pac-12 - 14
NEC - 2
SEC - 16
WCC - 7

19 conferences earned a single credit.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Requiem for American Sports Network

Doron Gorshein tried.  He tried his hand at the America Channel and it never got off the ground.  When you Google "America Channel Gorshein", you'll find articles from 2003-2008 about when the channel was going to launch.  It never did.  With ASN, the concept for the sports portion finally did, but it wasn't enough.

From a content perspective, ASN had hours of it.  Most of it in the realm of college sports, but they tried their hand with the MiLB Game of the Week and ARCA Racing.  The branding was used for regional MLS distribution for a couple squads.  One way to view ASN was that they were filling a hole largely vacated by ESPN Regional Television as syndicated content left both over-the-air and regional sports networks.

Where ASN didn't necessarily fill that gap was the quality, real or perceived, of all of the content being substituted in.  This is by no means a dig at any of the college properties that ASN provided a platform for.  But let's be real for a minute: Conference USA and several FCS conferences were filling holes vacated by what we now know as the Power Five.  It wasn't the Big 12 or SEC.  In the case of ARCA, no one was mistaking it for NASCAR and ARCA isn't near the top of NASCAR's "farm system".

Conference USA really needed this platform back in 2014.  Besides the adverse effects of realignment on their membership (again, not a dig at the incoming schools), the dawn of the SEC Network directly killed off their regional partner CSS (Comcast Sports Southeast/Southwest) as replays and school related programming would shift there, leaving both C-USA and the Sun Belt devoid of a regional TV partner (CSS helped with the Sun Belt Network too).  CBS Sports Network had cut back on their commitment to the conference and without that regional partner (CBSSN's agreement with CSS was a sublicense), the conference had a huge gap that needed to be filled.  ASN had the conference as a flagship.

Several conferences from the original America Channel were lined up for ASN, but they didn't always resemble what they looked like in 2007.  Many conferences weren't as regional as they used to be.  Football windows were split two or three times, occasionally among overlapping conferences.  And we don't consume video content today in the same fashion that we did back then.  Delivering content online, and eventually through mobile phones, tablets and connected TVs, was in its relative infancy.  ESPN was involved in it through ESPN3, but not many others.

ASN entered the market focused so heavily on TV, and filling time on digital subchannels in several cases, that its online digital product was an afterthought (you might call it non-existent) for its first couple years of existence.  I probably answered more questions about ASN with respect to consuming their content through online means, not television.  Some ASN's games were distributed online by the network themselves as some digital rights reverted to ESPN due to sublicensing, but you had to search or know where to go if ASN wasn't distributing the game you wanted on TV.  In other cases, ASN didn't have the digital rights, but the conferences didn't/couldn't distribute the games digitally either.

Consumers on a large scale, outside of the immediate fans of that content, weren't really seeking out ASN, at least not on that primary screen.  At the end of the day, we're still looking for those established names on the big screen.  Maybe that's where Silver Chalice Networks, the parent company of both Campus Insiders, rumored to be taking over ASN's existing obligations, and 120 Sports, will be better positioned as that second screen network.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Implications of American Sports Network Potentially Ceasing Operations

(Edit: A handful of sources have come forward re: ASN shutting down.  As public confirmation, I'll direct you to Chris Mycoskie of the Southland Conference, who confirms it on his own blog).

First, please read this post over at FTVLive.  Thank you to SportsTVRatings, 506Sports and Jeff Wirth for pointing out the article

A few things come to mind, none of which have any immediate answers, especially since the network has not yet ceased operations.

* ASN had multiple year agreements with many of their college properties.  I don't know if those become null and void or if Campus Insiders would be required to pick up all existing deals or be able to pick and choose what they want.  Also don't know how many of these agreements would be expiring at the end of the current athletic year in June.  By phrasing them as multi-year, you don't always get a good sense of the length outside of the length being at least two athletic years.

Some of these agreements weren't with conferences, but with ESPN to sublicense events from at least three conferences (American, MAC and Sun Belt).  ASN wasn't necessarily known to be paying big, or any, rights fees.

Here's a list of everything ASN carried from Division I college sports.  They also had the NCAA's Division II contract.  Campus Insiders' portfolio includes streamed events from C-USA, Mountain West, Patriot League and WCC.  Today, CI produces a handful of games for their conference partners and much of the live content is self-produced by the schools.

* This news hits FCS football hard.  28 FCS games were distributed regionally/nationally.

* For those conferences where ESPN sublicensed content, does ESPN have to now find alternate linear TV distribution for those games?  The American did have a loose threshold of 80-90% of football & all basketball games being televised, though televised on the basketball side includes ESPN3.

* Both Conference USA, who intends to start negotiations for rights agreements that would end after the 2017-18 athletic year, and Patriot League have rights ties with both ASN and Campus Insiders.

* ASN was a fourth TV partner with the Atlantic 10, but had just as much content in terms of hours as NBCSN and CBSSN.  If CI weren't to take that, and the A-10 was previously with them, would it revert to local broadcasters or back to the conference to continue or expand their Facebook Live experiment?

* Campus Insiders is the online partner for the Arizona Bowl where ASN provided a linear TV production.  If CI is the sole partner, I would be curious if there are questions around the viability of this bowl in the future.

* Several Comcast RSNs, along with independent RSNs like Cox Sports, Altitude and NESN, used live ASN events as filler.  ASN came on at a time where a few of these RSNs had dropped FOX Sports Net backdrop programming, right around the time the Pac-12 started their current rights deal and FSN only carried a year of the conference's events.

* Does Campus Insiders have any desire to produce content for wide distribution through linear television?  They have had a tie-in with Dish Network and provide content to Dish's Sling and Verizon's Go90.  They've also worked extensively to air live events through Twitter.  And would a linear TV requirement keep them from continuing with any of these conferences if CI has no intentions to be involved in that space or in television syndication?  Would CI be willing to act as a content producer & tie in with a network like beIN Sports, who dipped their toes in the water with Conference USA?

I suppose we'll all find out soon enough.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Some NASCAR on FOX & CFB Scheduling Items, plus C-USA Rights

* FOX and NASCAR adjust a handful of start times for races in 2017, including a few Truck Series races that fall during the college football season.  Most of the adjustments were to start the race 30 minutes earlier, so why is that important?  Well, it many give us a few clues about potential telecast windows for FS1.

One setup item for all of these dates: Typically the green flag is about 20 minutes after the telecast window starts.  I'm also going to use last year's race length of time as a base.
  • Saturday 9/30 - Las Vegas will start at 8pm ET instead of 8:30pm (2016 race time: 1:31).  FS1 has a MLB window at 4pm ET, so this gives them an hour of buffer time in the event of a long running game.  From there, the race window should be about two hours, which should leave time for a Pac-12 window around 10pm ET.  In 2016, FS1 had a UFC event after the race, so it could also be to get to a potential fight card sooner.
  • Saturday 10/28 - Martinsville will start at 1pm ET instead of 1:30pm (2016 race time: 1:25). College football windows could start at 3pm.  This Saturday would fall during the World Series, so FOX may want to start their college football coverage slightly earlier.  Last year they carried a tripleheader as the broadcast network carried an early afternoon game plus baseball.
  • Friday 11/3 - Texas will start at 8pm ET instead of 8:30pm (2016 race time: 1:29). UCLA at Utah is scheduled for this evening and with ESPN tentatively scheduled to carry two American Athletic Conference games on this evening, moving the truck race up makes a ton of sense because it would allow FS1 to carry the Pac-12 game with a local kickoff time of 8pm (10pm ET).
* Conference USA is readying to return to the table with their rightsholders, per the Daily News Journal's Aldo Amato.  The conference has four small rights deals with ESPN (football only), CBS Sports Network, beIN Sports and American Sports Network for total minimums of 37 football games and 36 men's basketball games (all numbers include conference championship events), in addition to events in other sports.

My personal opinion: The deals last year were done relatively late after FOX Sports declined to bid to continue as a TV partner and it affected how the conference made its deals.  beIN isn't as many homes, but by the accounts in the article, they did seem to produce a good viewable product.  CBS Sports Network has stuck by the conference through multiple iterations of membership, even if the commitment with the number of games has decreased over time, though it was a coup to pick up the basketball championship.  I'd stay with those partners.  

The point about ASN being a drop in picture quality compared to beIN I think is valid, and with ASN being a syndication partner, finding a game can be hit & miss and I don't think every C-USA game was streamed by ASN (I remember a couple being provided through online pay-per-view , platform CUSA.TV), though that can be true with FOX Sports Regional Networks too, and as ASN picked up more conferences to show via sublicensing agreements with ESPN, there's been a decrease in exposure with C-USA.  I also can't speak to what the conference is being paid.

I'd personally look to move away from ASN.  Maybe see if ESPN would be willing to take on a few more football games for ESPNEWS and maybe some basketball on ESPNU & ESPNEWS.  The conference could use the extra national exposure on a platform that is easy to find.   If the money isn't there and FOX Sports or NBC Sports are willing to come in, it can't hurt to talk to them as the goal is to get back to income levels before the current batch of deals.

There was talk that schools were working towards becoming ESPN3 content providers and it sounds like Rice and Old Dominion were two of the schools that were able to move towards that goal.  Getting away from CUSA.TV, despite the revenue that could be gained, might be worth it.  Where does Campus Insiders fit in?  I didn't see any issue with keeping them around as they are truly a free platform vs. ESPN3 requiring your ISP to be aligned with them or a pay TV provider, but I would understand if the goal for all schools was ESPN3 and to align all online content in one place.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Notes from BYU, MAC, Mountain West, Notre Dame & Sun Belt Schedule Releases

* It does look like Notre Dame can do two night games at home in three consecutive seasons and, as I suspected, the Georgia game is the second night game.  Didn't see the Miami (OH) game on NBCSN though, nor with the unique start time of 5pm ET.  There is a Xfnity Series race telecast preceding the Miami game at 3pm that day.  NBC & Golf channel are listed as carrying the Presidents Cup event over this weekend, so NBC may be occupied most of the day, hence the move to NBCSN.

* With the move of Virgina at Boise St. to Friday, September 22nd, that may signal FS1 picking up Utah at Arizona which is scheduled for the same evening.  FS1 is scheduled to carry an ARCA race that evening but could move that event to FS2, which they did last year when picking up USC at Utah last year.

As for Boise St. at BYU moving to a Friday, October 6th, expect the preceding Memphis at Connecticut game to start at 7pm ET based on the start time for the BYU game being announced as 10:15pm ET.

* New Mexico at Boise St. was scheduled for September 16th, which I thought was a remote possibility.  Since ESPN controls the rights to all Boise St. home games, with the exception of being able to trade one game to CBS Sports Network for one of Boise St.'s Mountain West road games, it is still possible to be doubleheadered with Illinois at USF.

* It appears that both CBS Sports Network and ESPNU will have weeknight doubleheaders involving MAC schools.  On Friday, September 1st, Boston College at Northern Illinois was selected to air on CBS Sports Network.  Fordham at Army was also scheduled for this date and the two games could end up as a doubleheader, maybe starting at 6pm ET with Fordham-Army followed by the NIU game at 9:30pm ET / 8:30pm local time in DeKalb.

On Thursday, November 2nd, one MAC game, either Northern Illinois at Toledo or Ball St. at Eastern Michigan, will be doubleheadered with Idaho at Troy on ESPNU.  My expectation is the MAC game will start at 6pm ET with Idaho at Troy at 9:15pm or 9:30pm ET / 8:15pm or 8:30pm local time.

* I'm a bit unclear why the MAC Championship game is not yet set for a specific date and assume that it is dependent on network schedules.  The Lions would be playing a home Thursday game the week before, so I don't think they would be playing back-to-back Thursday games, though it is certainly possible.  At this point, I imagine ESPN is trying to figure out the best date for the game.  In 2017, they'll have championship games from the ACC, American, C-USA, Mountain West and Pac-12.  Since the Sun Belt is the only conference playing regular season games that Saturday, ESPN could elect to either air the best available Sun Belt game, move the MAC Championship to Saturday to have a full day of championship games or Thursday as they game was played on Thursday nights for several years, or end up keeping it on Friday.

* Seven of CBS Sports Network's maximum 12 MAC games will air on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  Since the conference has virtually eliminated any Saturday games after October 28, expect the conference to have its five other CBSSN games on Saturdays from September 9th - October 28th.  I don't think they'll take UAB at Ball St. on September 9th either, so expect five Saturday MAC games on CBSSN over seven weeks.  Same for ASN who may end up taking a game a week over nine weeks to get to close to their ten game maximum.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Way Too Early CFB TV Guesses for Week Three For 2017

Same as the posts for weeks zero & one and week two.  If a game isn't listed, assume its on a streaming service.

My inclination is this is one week where an American Athletic Conference game could be moved the Thursday night game.  If I had a choice, it would be Virginia Tech at East Carolina.  The Hokies host Delaware the previous Saturday while ECU visits West Virginia.  Georgia Tech at UCF would be my backup, though I don't know if UCF would be willing to face an option team on a short week after conference opponent Memphis.  UCLA also travels to Memphis this week, but I don't believe UCLA would agree to a cross country road trip on a short week.

Dark horses: Kentucky at South Carolina & Purdue at Missouri.  Both South Carolina & Missouri have hosted Thursday night SEC games before.  Purdue is playing the Friday before, so while it is a short week, it's only one day short on preparation.

7:30pm ESPN: Virginia Tech at East Carolina

Four Mountain West schools are currently not scheduled for this Saturday with the following potential matchups based on scheduled opponents:

New Mexico at Boise St.
Hawai'i at UNLV
UNLV at New Mexico

I could see the New Mexico at Boise St. game being selected as a doubleheader with Illinois at USF with Illinois at USF starting at 7pm, but without the Mountain West schedule, I can't guarantee any of these potential matchups would be played this week.  Choosing a Boise St. game here also knocks out one of their three required ESPN or ESPN2 appearances as part of the Mountain West TV contract.

7pm ESPN: Illinois at USF
10:15pm ESPN: New Mexico at Boise St.

For this week, I'm assuming FOX has top Big Ten and Pac-12 choices & ESPN has best Big 12 game. FOX has committed to a MLB window at 1pm ET and I'm assuming a game at 4pm ET as well followed by a UFC Fight Night card on FS1, which would lead to only one game on FS1 that day.

Your eyes are not deceiving you.  All three ABC slots are occupied by ACC games.

For the two Mountain West home games vs. Pac-12 schools, CBS Sports Network does get to cherry pick a handful of games each season over ESPN.  My suspicion is that they'll look to take both Oregon at Wyoming & Stanford at San Diego St.

12pm ABC: Notre Dame at Boston College
12pm ESPN: Army at Ohio St.
12pm ESPN2: Georgia St. at Penn St.
12pm FS1: Tulane at Oklahoma
12pm ESPNU: UCLA at Memphis
12pm ESPNEWS: Iowa St. at Akron
12pm FSN: SMU at TCU
12pm SEC: Purdue at Missouri
12pm SEC: Samford at Georgia
12pm CBSSN: Kansas at Ohio
12pm BTN: FIU at Indiana
12pm BTN: Morgan St. at Rutgers
12:30pm ACC Network: Connecticut at Virginia
2pm Pac-12: San Jose St. at Utah
2pm ROOT Sports Pittsburgh: Delaware St. at West Virginia
3pm ACC RSNs: Central Michigan at Syracuse
3:30pm ABC: Miami (FL) at Florida St.
3:30pm CBS: Tennessee at Florida
3:30pm ESPN:  Oklahoma St. at Pittsburgh
3:30pm ESPN2: Arizona St. at Texas Tech
3:30pm ESPNU: Baylor at Duke
3:30pm CBSSN: Oregon at Wyoming
3:30pm BTN: Bowling Green at Northwestern
3:30pm BTN: Northern Illinois at Nebraska
3:30pm ASN: Cincinnati at Miami (OH)
4pm ESPNEWS: Rice at Houston
4pm SEC: Mercer at Auburn
4pm SEC: UL-Lafayette at Texas A&M
4:30pm FOX: Air Force at Michigan
5pm Pac-12: Oregon St. at Washington St.
7pm ESPN: LSU at Mississippi St.
7pm ESPN2: Colorado St. at Alabama
7pm ESPNU: Kansas St. at Vanderbilt
7pm CBSSN: Georgia Tech at UCF
7pm ASN: North Carolina at Old Dominion
7:30pm SEC: Kentucky at South Carolina
7:30pm BTN: North Texas at Iowa
7:30pm BTN: Middle Tennessee at Minnesota
8pm ABC: Clemson at Louisville
8pm FOX: Texas at USC
8pm Pac-12: Northern Colorado at Colorado
8pm beIN Sports: Arizona at UTEP
10:15pm ESPN2: Wisconsin at BYU
10:30pm ESPN: Ole Miss at California
10:30pm CBSSN: Stanford at San Diego St.
11pm Pac-12: Fresno St. at Washington

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Way Too Early CFB TV Guesses for Week Two For 2017

Same as the Week Zero & One post.  If a game isn't listed, assume it is online only.

Nobody on FS1 or ESPN.  Only game available is Idaho St. at Utah St.  ESPN should be busy with US Open tennis.  This would also be the date of the NFL Kickoff game.

Friday 9/8
ESPN should be unavailable due to US Open men's semifinals.  If I were to move a game to a Friday night for ESPN, assuming Ohio at Purdue doesn't belong to them, I'd move Mississippi St. at Louisiana Tech.

8pm ESPN2: Mississippi St. at Louisiana Tech
8pm FS1: Ohio at Purdue

Saturday 9/9
ESPN's mid-afternoon window is unavailable due to the US Open women's final.  I also assumed that FS1 would not be available in the early evening due to either UFC or MLB.  Let's assume UFC PPV prelims since 9/2 has two MLB windows on FS1.  FOX has a 1pm ET MLB window, so I'm starting their early college football window at 4:30pm ET.  Since one of those games happens to involve the Pirates, it feels like a natural lead in to the Pittsburgh at Penn St. game (here's hoping the MLB game doesn't run long).  The other FOX MLB game, Orioles at Indians, would be a great lead in to Oklahoma at Ohio St., but I don't think FOX will have two Big Ten games on their broadcast network & I don't think this game would be doubleheadered with Stanford at USC.  I am also working under the assumption that ESPN is sublicensing one SEC game to CBS that is not the top choice.

Since both Pac-12 Arizona schools are currently set to host on Saturday, I believe one of the two Pac-12 games involving the Arizona schools will be on either an ESPN platform or FS1 since they really can't be played at the same time on Pac-12 Networks, if you work under the premise that the game should be on both the national and Arizona feeds.

I worked under the premise that ESPN had the top Big Ten and Big 12 choices and FOX had the top Pac-12 choice.  Please understand that I have no idea who is picking when.

12pm ABC: Louisville at North Carolina
12pm ESPN: Cincinnati at Michigan
12pm ESPN2: Iowa at Iowa St.
12pm FS1: East Carolina at West Virginia
12pm FSN: UTSA at Baylor
12pm ESPNU: UL-Monroe at Florida St.
12pm ESPNEWS: Memphis at UCF
12pm CBSSN: Buffalo at Army (semi-confirmed)
12pm SEC: Indiana St. at Tennessee
12pm BTN: Eastern Michigan at Rutgers
12pm BTN: Towson at Maryland
12pm ASN: UL-Lafayette at Tulsa
12:30pm ACC Network: Marshall at NC State
12:30pm ACC RSNs: Wake Forest at Boston College
2pm Pac-12: Texas St. at Colorado
3:30pm ABC: Auburn at Clemson
3:30pm CBS: South Carolina at Missouri
3:30pm ESPN2: Indiana at Virginia
3:30pm FS1: Boise St. at Washington St.
3:30pm FSN: Charlotte at Kansas St.
3:30pm ESPNU: Northwestern at Duke
3:30pm CBSSN: Tulane at Navy (confirmed)
3:30pm BTN: FAU at Wisconsin
3:30pm BTN: Western Michigan at Michigan St.
3:30pm ASN: UAB at Ball St.
4pm SEC: Fresno St. at Alabama
4pm SEC: Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky
4:30pm FOX: Pittsburgh at Penn St.
5pm Pac-12: Minnesota at Oregon St.
5pm Pac-12 Bay Area: Weber St. at California
7pm ESPN: TCU at Arkansas
7pm ESPN2: Chattanooga at LSU
7pm ESPNU: Miami (FL) at Arkansas St.
7pm CBSSN: USF at Connecticut
7pm ASN: Rice at UTEP
7:30pm NBC: Georgia at Notre Dame
7:30pm SEC: UT Martin at Ole Miss
7:30pm SEC: Nicholls at Texas A&M
7:30pm FSN: Central Michigan at Kansas
7:30pm BTN: Western Kentucky at Illinois
8pm ABC: Oklahoma at Ohio St.
8pm FOX: Stanford at USC
8pm ESPNEWS: Oklahoma St. at South Alabama
8pm Pac-12: Montana at Washington
8pm Longhorn: San Jose St. at Texas
10pm FS1: Houston at Arizona
10:15pm ESPN2: Utah at BYU
10:15pm ESPNU: Hawai'i at UCLA
10:30pm ESPN: Nebraska at Oregon
10:30pm CBSSN: Toledo at Nevada
11pm Pac-12: San Diego St. at Arizona St.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Way Too Early CFB TV Guesses for Weeks Zero & One For 2017

Schedule for weeks zero & one

These are guesses, particularly with a few of the games switching to a weeknight or Sunday date.  Please do not take this as gospel or that I have some inside track on a move, because I don't.  There seems to be an appetite for these posts at this point in the year.  I'm just feeding it.

If a game isn't listed, assume ESPN3, Campus Insiders or a conference's/school's streaming package.

"Week Zero" (all Saturday 8/26)
Games on "Week Zero" either involve Hawai'i, opponents of Hawai'i in 2016, games outside the continental U.S. or FCS games that are moved for the explicit purpose of national television.  Florida A&M at Texas Southern, which was scheduled for 8/26, may not have all the necessary paperwork in place to play on this date.

I know there was a graphic touting a 8pm ET start for Stanford at Rice.  That's 10am local time in Sydney.  I'll push that a couple hours to match last year's noon start.

3pm BYUtv: Portland St. at BYU
7pm ASN: Hawai'i at Massachusetts
7pm ESPN: Chattanooga vs. Jacksonville St. (confirmed)
7pm CBSSN: USF at San Jose St.
10pm ESPN2: Stanford vs. Rice

Thursday 8/31
I think the ACC RSN package will again have a game this evening with there being very few FOX affiliated RSNs that could have baseball that evening right now.  Also, Kentucky at Southern Miss has not moved to Thursday from its Saturday date, so that's a guess on both the date change and TV outlet.

7pm ACC RSNs: Presbyterian at Wake Forest
7:30pm ESPNU: Kentucky at Southern Miss
7:30pm Pac-12: North Dakota at Utah
7:30pm SNY: Holy Cross at Connecticut
8pm ESPN: Ohio St. at Indiana
8pm BTN: Buffalo at Minnesota
10:30pm Pac-12: New Mexico St. at Arizona St.

Friday 9/1
Both the US and Mexico have World Cup qualifiers on this day.  FOX Sports has the English speaking rights to Mexico's game.  I'm unsure who would get the US match as FOX Sports & ESPN split the rights.  As for Big Ten Friday night games, FOX was noted as a possibility for airing games, not just FS1 and ESPN.  I'm also assuming the trend of Michigan St. opening with a Friday night home game will continue as they've opened on a Friday night at home five of the last six years, with the exception being 2015, when they opened on the road on a Friday night at Western Michigan.

7pm FOX: Washington at Rutgers
7pm CBSSN: Fordham at Army
7:30pm BTN: Bowling Green at Michigan St.
8pm ESPN: Utah St. at Wisconsin
8pm ESPNU: Boston College at Northern Illinois
10pm FS1: Colorado St. vs. Colorado

Saturday 9/2
ESPN2 should be unavailable due to US Open tennis.  FS1 has two MLB games scheduled, at 4pm & 7:15pm ET.  The 7:15pm game, Angels at Rangers, is important because it should be a national exclusive to FS1 as both teams have their regional TV deals with FOX Sports.  I could drone on about FS1 & how its national MLB contract appears to work, but this should free up FOX Sports Southwest to carry (concurrent?) Big 12 games.

I am aware that Alabama vs. Florida St. could be selected by CBS.  For the past two seasons, CBS has sublicensed SEC games from ESPN to be able to show SEC games every week of the season, so it appears those weeks they've had anywhere from the second to fourth choice of games and ESPN has been able to show games on ESPN or ESPN2 at the same time.  I just don't know if/how selecting Alabama vs. Florida St. could affect future selections during the season.

12pm ABC: California at North Carolina
12pm ESPN: Akron at Penn St.
12pm FS1: Wyoming at Iowa
12pm ESPNU: Tulsa at Oklahoma St.
12pm FSN: Liberty at Baylor
12pm SEC: Appalachian St. vs Georgia
12pm SEC: Missouri St. at Missouri
12pm BTN: Nevada at Northwestern
12:30pm ACC Network: Kent St. at Clemson
2pm Pac-12: Southern Utah at Oregon
3:30pm ABC: BYU vs. LSU
3:30pm CBS: NC State vs. South Carolina
3:30pm FOX: Louisville vs. Purdue
3:30pm NBC: Temple at Notre Dame
3:30pm ESPNU: Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee
3:30pm FSN: Eastern Washington at Texas Tech
3:30pm CBSSN: Houston at UTSA
3:30pm BTN: Ball St. at Illinois
3:30pm ASN: Miami (OH) at Marshall
4pm SEC: Charleston Southern at Mississippi St.
5pm Pac-12: Montana St. at Washington St.
5:30pm ESPN: Texas A&M at UCLA
7pm ESPNU: Georgia Southern at Auburn
7pm FSN: Jackson St. at TCU
7pm ASN: Grambling at Tulane
7pm beIN Sports: Navy at FAU
7pm Sooners PPV: UTEP at Oklahoma
7pm Jayhawk Sports: Southeast Missouri at Kansas
7pm K-StateHD.TV: Central Arkansas at Kansas St.
7:30pm FOX: Maryland at Texas
7:30pm SEC: South Alabama at Ole Miss
7:30pm SEC: Florida A&M at Arkansas
8pm ABC: Alabama vs. Florida St.
8pm BTN: Arkansas St. at Nebraska
8pm Pac-12: Portland St. at Oregon St.
8pm Cyclones.TV: Northern Iowa at Iowa St.
9pm ESPN: Florida vs. Michigan
10pm FS1: Western Michigan at USC
10:15pm ESPNU: Troy at Boise St.
11pm Pac-12: Northern Arizona at Arizona

Sunday 9/3
Since Florida vs. Michigan won't be moving to Sunday, I'll take a flier on West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech to move instead, though nothing is set in stone.  FS1 has a NASCAR truck series race & could show a portion of NHRA US Nationals qualifying delayed in the early evening, so they may not move any Big 12 games here.

If no game moves to Sunday, push the 5:30pm & 9pm windows to 7pm (Florida vs. Michigan) & 10:30pm (Texas A&M at UCLA) on Saturday, respectively, put California at North Carolina at 3:30pm ET on ESPN and West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech at 12pm on ABC.

12pm ESPN: South Carolina St. at Southern
3:30pm ESPN: West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech

Monday 9/4
8pm ESPN: Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Notes on 2017 American Athletic Football Schedule Release & Pac-12 Pairing


* For the moment, unless Army moves their game dates around, their home games vs. Buffalo (9/9), Temple (10/21) and Duke (11/11) should all be noon ET starts due to Navy placing home games on those dates at 3:30pm ET.  Both service academies have their home games on CBS Sports Network.

* Adding Tulsa at SMU to the fray on October 27th seems to strongly push Michigan St. at Northwestern towards FOX Sports' pool of Big Ten games unless Florida St. at Boston College is aired on ESPNU.  This could be why the Tulane at Memphis game was set for CBS Sports Network as ESPN may have other plans for ESPNU, such as a Sun Belt game.

* The flexible date of the Navy at Temple game is interesting as there is a Pac-12 game, UCLA at Utah, scheduled for Friday 11/3 as well plus Memphis at Tulsa.  FS1 has a NASCAR Truck Series race from Texas scheduled for that evening at 8:30pm ET.  If the race can finish in around 90 minutes, UCLA at Utah could start at 10pm ET / 8pm MT on FS1, but I think what you'll see is a 7pm ET / 6pm CT start for Memphis at Tulsa with UCLA at Utah following on ESPN2 and Navy at Temple moving to Thursday night.

ESPNU wasn't announced as an option for either American game.  If it is, the start times can be staggered a bit and the doubleheader could be Navy at Temple with the Pac-12 game.

* Similar to 11/3, Temple at Cincinnati could be paired with Washington at Stanford on ESPN2 as FS1 has a Truck Series race from Phoenix at 8:30pm ET.  With both 11/3 and 11/10, ESPN would likely not be available due to the NBA schedule or ESPN showing their Armed Forces Classic men's basketball game, in 2017 from Ramstein AFB in Germany.

* Per the schedule release, both Black Friday games will be on ABC or an ESPN television platform.  ESPN is still scheduling heavily for that date even though they have a fair amount of college basketball to account for on that date with Wooden Legacy & Advocare Invitational, plus the possibility of the NIT Tip Off, Battle 4 Atlantis and the new Phil Knight Invitational event taking up space.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Roundup: Notre Dame Night Games, Schedule Changes, Week Zero & C-USA on ESPN3

* I looked over the NASCAR start times for 2017 and NBC appears to have carved out the USC at Notre Dame game for primetime with the Xfinity Series race from Kansas Speedway on NBC in the afternoon.  Don't think this was for airing the football game on NBCSN.  The NASCAR race on NBC looks like it would be preceded by qualifying for the Formula 1 US Grand Prix as I believe the times listed are local to the track, so the football game wouldn't precede NASCAR either.

The rule around Notre Dame having on-campus night games was that there could be three night games over a two year period.  If that clause is still valid, there won't be a second night game as there were two in 2016.  It appears those two year periods are fixed and not rolling periods as 2015 & 2016 would be one game over the limit.

2014: Michigan
2015: Texas & USC
2016: Michigan St. & Stanford

Please note that the Shamrock Series games played at neutral sites do not count towards this rule.

If the rule changed to two night games per year, and right now I don't think it has, my money for the second night game would be on the Georgia game on 9/9 as the NASCAR race from Richmond that same evening is scheduled to air on NBCSN.

* Iowa St. had a pair of schedule changes last week.   Their game at Akron moved back one week to September 16th and the home game vs. Texas moved back two days to Thursday, September 28th.

ESPN is noted in the release, but I think its possible they were called out specifically for the game at Akron, which would be a MAC controlled telecast.  Whether it moves to a Thursday or Friday evening is still a possibility.  As of this moment, there are no Thursday or Friday night games scheduled for that week, but schedules are still being finalized for the American, Mountain West and Sun Belt, plus games from several conferences could be moved if requested.

Here's a hard truth about Iowa St. at Akron and whether you feel its really national TV worthy: The MAC only hosts a few games vs. Power Five schools each year, even if those P5 schools aren't top flight schools competitively.   The MAC didn't have any home games vs. P5 schools in 2016.  In 2017, the number is three with Boston College at Northern Illinois (scheduled for a Friday night) & Kansas at Ohio the other two games.

As for the Texas game, that feels like a move FOX requested.  Since 2013, FS1 has had a Thursday night game the same Saturday they've aired the Truck Series race from Las Vegas Motor Speedway three of the four seasons plus MLB and/or UFC, which limits the number of football games they can air on Saturday.

2013 - Iowa St. at Tulsa (9/26)
2014 - UCLA at Arizona St. (9/27)
2015 - Aired the NWSL final (no MLB game on Saturday)
2016 - Kansas at Texas Tech (9/29)

* The NCAA legislation around playing games the weekend before Labor Day weekend got some work last week.
  • Texas Southern will travel to Florida A&M on 8/26.  Why am I'm pointing this one out?  The press release didn't mention this, but any FCS game played on the Saturday before Labor Day must be for the purpose of national television per new legislation adopted by the NCAA (search for proposal number 2015-80).  ESPN is already televising their FCS Kickoff Classic between Chattanooga & Jacksonville St., so this could be for another ESPN TV platform or another television network as the proposal explicitly disallows FCS games being moved to this date for Internet only broadcasts.
  • Stanford and Rice have officially moved their season opener to August 26th and to Sydney, Australia.  I am checking with the Pac-12 office to see if the Pac-12 has purchased the TV rights to the game as last year's game in Sydney between California and Hawai'i was available to Pac-12 rightsholders.  EDIT: C-USA retained media rights.  Unlike last year, the game will be played on Saturday, August 26th in the U.S., which will translate to Sunday, August 27th locally in Sydney.  I suspect this is due to finalization of proposal 2015-79-FBS, which explicitly calls out the Saturday before Labor Day where last year's game in Sydney was played on a Friday night in the U.S., Saturday afternoon in Sydney.  Could this change?  Maybe, but the marketing for the game has already been created with the Saturday & Sunday language in place.
* There's not a lot of meat behind what I'm about to say, but both Charlotte and Old Dominion added ESPN3 basketball games to their schedule this week and ODU's release about the additional games discussed how their goal this year was to produce their own ESPN3 content.  Last November, Rice acknowledged the same goal.  I think its possible that you'll see more C-USA content, specifically football games, on ESPN3 next season and maybe less of a reliance on the C-USA.TV platform, though it is a small (probably very small) revenue stream for the schools.

EDIT: Updates below

* FS1 & FS2 will have ten ARCA races scheduled for 2017, with one September race falling on a Friday evening (9/22, Chicagoland).  Last year, FS1 aired the USC at Utah game the same evening they had an ARCA race scheduled, though the ARCA race moved over to FS2 after initially being scheduled for FS1.

* Michigan's ticket department seems to have confirmed that the Florida game, being played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, will not be moved off Saturday 9/2, as there were reports that the game could move to Sunday 9/3 (h/t to GodfatherBoS for the tweet below)
If this is truly finalized, I don't know if that means another game is going to move or not.  There are plenty of other games out there that ESPN could request for a date change to Sunday, with the exception of BYU vs. LSU.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

ACC Schedule Notes & Big Ten Friday Night Game Scheduling

2017 ACC Football Schedule

* The ACC press release did not note the potential television networks for Friday night games Miami at Duke (9/29), Clemson at Syracuse (10/13) and Florida St. at Boston College (10/27), but I would expect them to be ESPN or ESPN2, similar to the three Thursday night games which were noted for ESPN or ESPN2 in the release.  I believe the first two games will be on ESPN and Florida St. at Boston College on ESPN2 as ESPN typically carries the NBA on Fridays starting in late October.

* All three Friday night games above coincide with Fridays where the Big Ten has Friday night games scheduled, with Nebraska at Illinois on 9/29, Northwestern at Maryland on 10/13 and Michigan St. at Northwestern on 10/27.  I don't think that necessarily ties the Big Ten games to FOX Sports as both the ACC and Big Ten could occupy ESPN and ESPN2 on all three nights, though October 27th, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, could be a challenge.  October 13th could be the potential date for ALCS Game 1, so both games on that date could belong to ESPN. October 27th, as mentioned above, has the potential for NBA games on ESPN.  Assuming Florida St. at Boston College on ESPN2 & not ESPNU, that would leave Michigan St. at Northwestern with FOX Sports, more likely FS1 as the MLB calendar notes that the World Series starts on October 24th, making the 27th the date of Game 3, provided a travel day on Thursday & no weather issues.

9/29 and 10/13 also have Pac-12 games scheduled (USC at Washington St & Washington St. at California, respectively), so someone should have a doubleheader or two.  How that will work with 10/13 remains to be seen.

* Miami (FL) at Florida St. & Clemson at Louisville on 9/16?  Would expect both on ABC.  All four schools in the top 25 for ESPN's Way-Too-Early prognostications.  Where they get slotted is anyone's guess as Texas at USC is a big draw that Saturday too.

* Speaking of Miami (FL) vs. Florida St., a mid season date has been the norm, but it has been played in the recent past over Labor Day weekend, so a mid-September date isn't surprising, but it is a bit unique, at least over the past 35 years.

* A location has not been officially set for the '17 ACC football championship game but does need to be finalized soon.  Might be heading back to Orlando for a second year.  When doing a quick Google search, PrimeSport, the ACC's official secondary ticket marketplace, had a lot of text about the game in Orlando, though that text could have been recycled from the 2016 marketing.

Monday, January 16, 2017

More Early CFB '17 Notes and a MBK Tourney Item

* CBS Sports Network picked up its third men's conference championship game with a one-off deal to televise the CAA's championship game, adding to the televising of the C-USA and Patriot League game.  This is the seventh conference championship game inside the CBS family of networks, with the Mountain West, Big Ten, Atlantic 10 and Missouri Valley championships on the broadcast network, the last two via sublicense from ESPN.

The championship game was initially thought to be airing on an ESPN network, but plans apparently have changed.  The press release does not mention if this arrangement is a multi-year deal, nor does it mention the possibility of any regular season games airing on the network next season.

Number of conference championship games in '17
ESPN Networks: 24
CBS & CBS Sports Network: 7
FOX Sports: 1

Note that the Pac-12 championship game moves between ESPN & FOX Sports, with FOX Sports showing it in even numbered years.  ESPN also added the new Ivy League championship this season.

A few early notes for the first week of college football in 2017.

* No, I don't know where or the Big Ten rights deals with ESPN and FOX will be announced.  Apparently FOX did have ads touting their new Big Ten programming during the Foster Farms Bowl and the conference championship game.

* The St. Louis Cardinals' printable schedule notes that their 9/2 game at the San Francisco Giants will air as a non-exclusive national game on FS1 at 4pm ET.  Consider this important because it is one less window for FS1 to carry games from their partner conferences.  It is unknown at the moment if there are other MLB game windows for FOX or FS1 that day, or if UFC will have an event that evening where either network will be carrying matches.   From 2013-2015, Labor Day weekend was a UFC pay per view event weekend where FS1 carried prelim matches, but in 2016 the September pay per view moved to the weekend after Labor Day.

* Per ESPN's Adam Rittenberg, the Florida vs. Michigan game from AT&T Stadium may be moved to the Sunday night of Labor Day weekend.  ESPN helps to stock the Cowboys Classic event and I would expect this to be for airing on ABC as ESPN would be carrying Sunday Night Baseball.  ABC had a nice rating for the Notre Dame at Texas game in an unopposed window last year.

This helps alleviate a glut of neutral site games that ESPN could end up airing with Florida St. vs. Alabama from Atlanta, BYU vs. LSU from Houston (an ESPN operated event), Louisville vs. Purdue from Indianapolis, West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech from Landover, MD and NC State vs. South Carolina from Charlotte.  

Could any others have a date change? Maybe.  BYU vs. LSU won't be considered for Sunday due to BYU's written policy against Sunday competition.  When Charlotte hosted North Carolina vs. South Carolina, the game was hosted on a Thursday night.  That date change happened a year in advance of the date of the game and, for now, the Charlotte Sports Foundation continues to list the game for Saturday 9/2 as it may not be able to change until the NFL preseason schedule is finalized.  

If NC State-South Carolina remains on a Saturday and is considered a SEC game for TV rights purposes (TV rights will be finalized in February per a request to South Carolina's media relations dept), it may be to CBS's benefit.  CBS has sublicensed SEC games the past two season from ESPN for the first two weeks of the season,   After the Florida St.-Alabama, BYU-LSU and Florida-Michigan games, the SEC schedule is rather weak with the exception of the game in Charlotte.

Could CBS decide to take one of the SEC games off the top?  I suppose they could, but I do not know how it affects other selections later in the season, such as whether CBS would negotiate to have a lesser selection on another Saturday.  I have learned, though following this stuff enough & in other aspects of life, that nothing is ever really set in stone anymore.  Everything is negotiable.

* The last item for today looks at one of the provisions in the Big 12 contract for the possibility of a Labor Day Sunday game.  Three of the last five have had one (all even numbered seasons).  While its probably not recommended to compete with the possibility of Florida-Michigan, maybe Maryland-Texas would be looked at if FOX, for example, wanted a game on FS1 after their motorsports coverage (NASCAR trucks & NHRA) on Sunday or a broadcast network game.