I responded back to Jon about it and we had a brief conversation on it over Twitter. I thought it was worth posting it here instead of attempting to paraphrase it.
you think Fox would want the title game on Friday?— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) March 22, 2018
Maybe. I get the feeling that FOX wants to have the Big East & Pac-12 with as little to no overlap as possible. So for a Friday final at 9pm ET, you're overlapping a Big East semifinal on FS1 using this year's schedules.— Matt Sarzyniak (@mattsarz) March 22, 2018
Personally, I'd want to use the two events in conjunction w/each other. Come for the Big East & stay for the Pac-12. Mountain West benefits from the lead-in of the Big Ten semifinals, except for this year when it was the AAC.— Matt Sarzyniak (@mattsarz) March 22, 2018
Today, its "Watch the Big East on FOX" then there's an hour wait until "change the channel and go to FS1" and by that time, I'm onto the first half of the ACC final.— Matt Sarzyniak (@mattsarz) March 22, 2018
Right now they're doing a semifinal in the FS1 window you mentioned (more like 11:30pm ET, but around the same time). A champ game by nature should draw more. As for FOX at 11pm ET, they could try but would local news push the game elsewhere?— Matt Sarzyniak (@mattsarz) March 22, 2018
And a brief sidebar:For example, when MW had their run for the FB championship on CBS with 10pm ET Saturday starts, some markets tossed the game to digital subchannels or CW & MyTV affiliates. Some joined in late too.— Matt Sarzyniak (@mattsarz) March 22, 2018
True, and I think its a relevant point because for a long time the semifinals were on FSN at the times they currently are when split between Pac-12 Networks, ESPN and FS1, and then were followed by a 3pm PT start on CBS for the championship game after the Big Ten Semifinals.FS1 in 2014 had the PAC-12 at 3 pt and then the Big East Final preceded it— Truth Teller (@dachosen1986) March 23, 2018
I don't think Friday night is the answer regardless of where it airs. The final does better on Saturday on ESPN because it has the lead-in of the ACC. FOX's best lead-in, and arguably one that should help both games, is to pair them together on broadcast television. Right now they'd had to change other scheduling considerations to make it happen (this year, a Xfinity Series race aired on FOX before the Big East Championship), but to get the most back for your buck out of both, I think you have to lobby to hook yourself to Saturday and another championship game.