Friday, May 14, 2021

Quick Hit On Oregon-Ohio State TV Announcement

You might have caught the news that FOX would be televising Oregon-Ohio State on 9/11 in their network's marquee slot of Noon Eastern Time.  I had a recurring of responses and they involved what games FOX didn't announce.

The announcement was made on The Herd with Colin Cowherd.  

I think its important to note that this announcement was centered around the weekend of 9/11 and 9/12.  This wasn't a college football centered announcement.  This was a "We got some big stuff planned for the 9/11 weekend".  Note that they didn't give away their full plans for the weekend either as they have an opening in the mid-afternoon for college football and announced nothing about it, so that doesn't mean for sure that a specific Big 12, Pac-12 or Big Ten game will be on ABC in primetime.  This programming announcement had a focus on specific tentpole events that would lead into the NFL schedule, which was released the prior evening.

The second thing is that there was an assumption that FOX chose this game over Ohio State-Michigan or another Big Ten game.  The fact is that we don't know that either.   We don't have any clue about the draft orders that are associated with these conferences except for the times that they discuss them in public. If this was more of a college football centered announcement, Mike Mulvihill would have been discussing if they had taken Auburn-Penn State, Notre Dame-Wisconsin, Oklahoma-Texas, Notre Dame-Stanford and Ohio State-Michigan.

But it wasn't, and that's OK. The fact that both they and ESPN made game announcements (Egg Bowl to Thanksgiving this year and 2022) was great, because near this time last year, we were told that TV announcements would be delayed and we ended up with a summer of rescheduling.  No one found that fun.  I find the fact that anything was announced today was a positive and I'm looking forward with some optimism, and I'm a pessimist by nature, to a nice day and evening of schedule updates in about 2 weeks.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Final Revision of CFB TV Week 3 Guesses for 2021

I don't have anything major to revise from Week 2 except for a couple items.
  • North Carolina A&T at Duke moved from Saturday to Friday.  I'm expecting it to air on ACCN at 7pm ET.  I expected the game to be streamed and did not have it listed
  • Toledo at Notre Dame has had its start time confirmed at 2:30pm ET on NBC.
As for Week 3, the reason I have to make revisions is due to FOX's MLB schedule, which will televise games at night on Saturday.

Revisions from the original Week 3 guesses are in red

Thursday
No games yet have been moved to Thursday.  My choice to move to Thursday would be the Baylor-Kansas game.  FS1 has a NASCAR Truck Series race scheduled for 9pm ET.  I think that limits their ability to move any game to this night.

7:30pm ESPN: Baylor at Kansas

Friday
8pm ESPN: UCF at Louisville

Saturday
  • CBS starts its schedule of SEC games this particular week.
  • Typically, BTN will not have a night game when ABC is carrying the Big Ten in primetime, which is why I don't have one as I've placed Auburn at Penn State in primetime on their network.
  • Since FOX doesn't have an open window in the evening, I've had to place a 2nd game on FS2, moving a Big 12 game there and taking the game that was scheduled for FOX and placing it on FS1. Also had to alter the start time for the afternoon FOX game.  I think a good argument could be made to swap the 3:30pm FS1 and FS1 games too.
12pm ABC: Michigan State at Miami (FL)
12pm FOX: Nebraska at Oklahoma
12pm ESPN: South Carolina at Georgia
12pm ESPN2: Mississippi State at Memphis
12pm FS1: Nevada at Kansas State
12pm SEC: Stanford at Vanderbilt
12pm BTN: Northern Illinois at Michigan
12pm BTN: Delaware at Rutgers
12pm CBSSN: UConn at Army West Point
12pm ACCN: Northwestern at Duke
12:30pm ACC RSNs: Furman at NC State
2pm Pac-12: Minnesota at Colorado
3:30pm ABC: Georgia Tech at Clemson
3:30pm CBS: Alabama at Florida
3:30pm NBC: Purdue at Notre Dame
3:30pm FOX: Cincinnati at Indiana
3:30pm ESPN: Virginia at North Carolina
3:30pm ESPN2: Maryland at Illinois
3:30pm FS1: Virginia Tech at West Virginia
3:30pm BTN: Tulsa at Ohio State
3:30pm BTN: Kent State at Iowa
3:30pm CBSSN: ECU at Marshall
3:30pm ACCN: Western Michigan at Pitt
4pm SEC: Georgia Southern at Arkansas
5pm FS2: FIU at Texas Tech
5pm Pac-12: Stony Brook at Oregon
5pm Pac-12 Bay Area: Sacramento State at California
7pm ESPN: New Mexico at Texas A&M
7pm ESPN2: Central Michigan at LSU
7pm FS1: Oklahoma State at Boise State
7pm CBSSN: Iowa State at UNLV
7:30pm ABC: Auburn at Penn State
7:30pm SEC: Tulane at Ole Miss
7:30pm ACCN: Florida State at Wake Forest
8pm Longhorn: Rice at Texas
8pm Pac-12: Arkansas at Washington
9pm FS2: Utah State at Air Force
10:15pm ESPN2: Arizona State at BYU
10:30pm ESPN: USC at Washington State
10:30pm FS1: Fresno State at UCLA
10:30pm CBSSN: Utah at San Diego State
11pm Pac-12: Northern Arizona at Arizona
11pm Pac-12 Oregon: Idaho State at Oregon State
Midnight PPV: San Jose State at Hawai'i

Friday, May 7, 2021

Final Revision of CFB TV Weeks 0 & 1 Guesses for 2021

I'm under the impression that start times and TV info will be released on their usual schedule at the end of May or early June, right after Memorial Day.  I looked over what I originally guessed for Weeks 0 and 1 and see a few places to make changes.

Here's what I'm changing:
  • I wasn't aware that the Las Vegas Kickoff Classic game between BYU and Arizona is organized to the Las Vegas Bowl. Why is that important? ESPN Events owns the Las Vegas Bowl.  I had FOX televising this game and I can't see an ESPN Events operated game being televised by another network
  • Apparently there are rumblings that Boise State at UCF could end up on Thursday night.  If that's the case, I'm under the impression that it is being moved to air on ESPN, not ESPNU.  ESPN2 should be busy that night with the US Open. If this game is truly being moved to Thursday to air on ESPN, I think that means Ohio State at Minnesota will air on FOX or FS1.
  • A few minor changes, swapping games from one time to another.
The changes are in red

4pm FOX: Nebraska at Illinois
5pm ESPN2: North Carolina Central vs. Alcorn State
10pm CBSSN: UConn at Fresno State
10pm Pac-12: Hawai'i at UCLA
10pm AggieVision: UTEP at NM State


Wednesday
8pm ESPNU: UAB vs. Jacksonville State

Thursday
I expect one SEC game to move to Thursday night.

7pm ESPNU: ECU vs. Appalachian State
7:30pm ESPN: Boise State at UCF
7:30pm ACCN: USF at NC State
8pm FS1: Ohio State at Minnesota
8pm Pac-12: Weber State at Utah
8:30pm SECN: Kent State at Texas A&M
11pm Pac-12: Southern Utah at Arizona State

Friday
North Carolina at Virginia Tech has been confirmed as a Friday game.

7pm ACCN: Old Dominion at Wake Forest
8pm ESPN: North Carolina at Virginia Tech
10pm Pac-12: Northern Colorado at Colorado 

Saturday
12pm ABC: Oklahoma at Tulane
12pm FOX: Indiana at Iowa
12pm ESPN: Texas Tech vs. Houston
12pm FS1: West Virginia at Maryland
12pm ESPNU: Syracuse at Ohio
12pm SECN: Central Michigan at Missouri
12pm SECN: Bowling Green at Tennessee
12pm BTN: UTSA at Illinois
12pm BTN: Western Michigan at Michigan
12pm CBSSN: Holy Cross at UConn
12pm ACCN: Colgate at Boston College
12:30pm ACC RSN: Northern Illinois at Georgia Tech
2pm Pac-12: Nevada at California
3:30pm ABC: Alabama vs. Miami (FL)
3:30pm ESPN: Rice at Arkansas
3:30pm BTN: Temple at Rutgers
3:30pm BTN: Oregon State at Purdue
3:30pm CBSSN: Marshall at Navy
4pm FOX: Penn State at Wisconsin
4pm ESPNU: Miami (OH) at Cincinnati
4pm SECN: Louisiana Tech at Mississippi State
4pm SECN: ULM at Kentucky
4pm ACCN: William & Mary at Virginia
5pm Pac-12: Montana at Washington
7pm ESPN: Stanford vs. Kansas State
7pm CBSSN: Duke at Charlotte
7:30pm ABC: Georgia vs. Clemson
7:30pm SECN: Florida Atlantic at Florida
7:30pm SECN: Akron at Auburn
7:30pm BTN: Michigan State at Northwestern
7:30pm BTN: Fordham at Nebraska
7:30pm ACCN: UMass at Pitt
8pm FOX: LSU at UCLA
8pm ESPNU: Baylor at Texas State
8pm Longhorn: Louisiana at Texas
8pm Pac-12: San Jose State at USC
10pm FS1: Fresno State at Oregon 
10:30pm ESPN: BYU vs. Arizona
11pm Pac-12: Utah State at Washington State

Sunday
7:30pm ABC: Notre Dame at Florida State

Monday
8pm ESPN: Ole Miss vs. Louisville

Monday, May 3, 2021

Comparing college sports TV content, 2019-20 to 2020-21 (Part 3)

Since I took a few weeks off to not check social media or think much about college sports, I neglected to finish this series of articles. Luckily I only had one to go.  To refresh you memory of what I was reviewing, take a look at parts 1 & 2.

Mountain West - Similar to the MAC, Big Ten and Pac-12, the Mountain West started its football schedule later and with cancellations, lost a fair number of games.  The conference was also in the unenviable position of starting a new series of rights agreements with FOX Sports, CBS Sports and Stadium, FOX Sports replaced ESPN as a rightsholder.  I don't know if there's an apples-to-anything comparison that can be made for the conference.

The Stadium deal seemed to be added for sports on linear TV that they were not already carrying, like men's basketball.  My assumption is they've been added for football too, but the short season, and the need to get games to both national TV partners and Hawai'i's PPV agreement kept them out of the game in 2020.

Football20192020
AT&T SN Regional80
CBS01
CBSSN2215
ESPN Networks23N/A
ESPN35N/A
MW Digital & Stadium Facebook90
Spectrum PPV76
FOXN/A1
FS1 & FS2N/A16

MBK2019-202020-21
AT&T SN Regional240
CBS13
CBSSN3745
ESPN Networks19N/A
ESPN312N/A
MW Digital, Local TV & Stadium Facebook9255
FOX00
FS1028
Stadium TVN/A5

Pac-12 - Besides the shortened season, the big change was to not use the Pac-12 Networks during football season to make sure they had as many games as possible for national TV rights holders, and even then, due to cancellations, they fell short of the 22 games that both ESPN (14) and FOX Sports (16, plus the conference championship game) typically pay for.

Pac-12 Networks reappeared to provide coverage during men's basketball.  Overall, the conference was about flat its it numbers when it came to national partners in that sport.

Football20192020
ABC73
ESPN Networks1611
FOX109
FS1128
Pac-12 Networks351

MBK2019-202020-21
ABC10
CBS33
FOX22
ESPN Networks4044
FS11920
Pac-12 Networks139106

SEC - CBS went into the season knowing that their rights agreement for the SEC would be expiring in a few years, though the formal announcement by Disney didn't come until December.  They came into the season choosing more games up front and airing less games.

The ABC appearance for the SEC was a unique circumstance where an ACC game was canceled that morning and CBS had already had their SEC game canceled for the week and replaced with a Mountain West game.  ESPN had a SEC game already and since CBS was dark for the conference that week, it appears that there was no issue with ABC airing it.

The large decrease in football games on ESPN/2/U is a bit surprising but, similar to the ACC, I believe it was done to keep SEC Network fully stocked as ESPN could draw from so many other places to fill up their other networks.

Continuing a theme that you'll see for most conference, the basketball numbers for linear TV were pretty close to pre-pandemic levels.  Digital was often sacrificed to keep those numbers up.

Football20192020
CBS1611
ABCN/A1
ESPN Networks4020
SEC Network
& Alternate
4837

MBK2019-202020-21
CBS77
ESPN Networks6258
SEC Network114112
SEC Digital6116

Sun Belt - Much like Conference USA, the Sun Belt benefitted from the late start of several Power 5 conferences, filling holes on Saturdays and on ESPN's weeknight schedule.  2020 would have been the first year of a new rights agreement to have a slight increase in games, but they really took advantage of the decisions that other conferences made to postpone their season's start.

In men's basketball, the majority of games remained on digital outlets like ESPN+ and school produced platforms, but there was a slight uptick in games on ESPN Networks linear TV (4, up from 2).

Football20192020
ESPN Networks1532
ESPN Digital4723

WCC - Our final conference is the West Coast Conference, who has three national linear TV partners in ESPN Networks, CBS Sports Network and Stadium.  Stadium also backs the conference's streaming service, WCC Network, and provides out of market streaming for most non-national TV games.

And while the conference consistently scrambled to have games available for schools to play to feed the mouths of those TV partners, they mostly matched the previous season by...you guessed it...taking from their digital inventory when they had to.

MBK2019-202020-21
ESPN Networks2221
CBSSN1211
Stadium TV99
Other TV and streaming13572

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Comparing college sports TV content, 2019-20 to 2020-21 (Part 2)

Finally got around to post #2 in this series.  We're going in alphabetical order and taking into account Division I conference who play FBS football and those with a significant amount of televised men's basketball.  So come back to post #1 if you haven't checked it out yet.

Big Ten - The big thing here, no pun intended, is that nearly every football number is down across the board due to the conference playing roughly half a season compared to 2019. The FS1 number being equal is interesting. In a couple places they ended up pulling games from BTN to replace games that were canceled.

When you look at both ESPN and FOX Sports* normally carrying 27 games for their respective rights packages, both networks fell far short in the regular season.  ESPN carried 15 and FOX Sports carried 16 plus the conference championship game.  And its one thing to look at it from a quantity standpoint.  Look at it from a quality standpoint and you'll remember that FOX lost out on Ohio State vs. Michigan at the end of the season, which pops a big number in TV ratings most years and may drive a better than average number when it comes to advertising sales.    

In basketball, most numbers are similar to what you would find in a full season, minus the BTN+ number going down. Some BTN+ games ended up on BTN as schedules shuffled during the non-conference portion of the schedule.  CBS's number is up when you consider they were able to air the conference tournament, FOX Sports' overall count when aggregating FOX and FS1 is only down one game, and ESPN's number is mostly the same when taking solely ESPN & ESPN2 (2019-20: 27, 2020-21: 31).  ESPNU is where there was a sharp decline (2019-20:12, 2020-21: 1).

Football20192020
ABC169
FOX185
ESPN
Networks
116
FS11212
BTN4018

MBK2019-202020-21
CBS911
FOX79
ESPN Networks3932
FS13431
BTN125123
BTN+297

*FOX Sports had 29 regular season games plus the conference championship game due to extenuating circumstances around the ALCS keeping a scheduled FS1 game from airing on that network.  FOX appears to have received two additional games during the regular season as a make-good.  

CAA - The CAA took a huge hit in visibility in 2020-21 in men's basketball.  One of the tenets from getting paid from their FloSports rights agreement was to reinvest that rights fee and pay for airtime on CBS Sports Network for men's basketball regular season games.  With the pandemic tightening the budgets at the conference and its schools, it appears that the decision was taken to not buy time in 2020-21 after airing eleven regular season men's basketball games in 2019-20.

CBSSN did continue to air the conference semifinals and the championship game as they did in 2019-20, but I believe the agreement to air games from the conference tournament is not tied to whatever the CAA elects to do with their money during the regular season.

MBK2019-202020-21
CBSSN143

C-USA - Conference USA was all over the map.  NFL Network disappeared as a TV partner for the conference's football content and to my knowledge this has never been acknowledged by either party.  ESPN aired games on linear TV for several weeks before the Big Ten and Pac-12 restarted play and CBSSN picked up several more games until Mountain West play started again.

Also, Facebook received no games to sublicense during the regular season from Stadium or CBS Sports except for a couple men's basketball quarterfinal games. And Stadium shifted their football games from the 24/7 OTA feed to the regional sports networks owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Group. 

The conference did get a game on CBS though when a scheduled game involving BYU and Army was canceled.

What can you extract from any of this? I have no idea. Might need to see how TV is set up for 2021 to know how things shake out in the future for the conference.  Suppose that I could see a lessened use of Facebook, at least on the CBS Sports side as they continue to push Paramount+.

Football20192020
CBS01
CBSSN1013
CBSSN
Facebook
30
ESPN Networks010
ESPN Digital5021
NFL Network100
Stadium
Over The Air
70
Stadium RSNs011
Stadium
Facebook
80

MBK2019-202020-21
CBSSN811
CBSSN Facebook75
CUSA.TV,
Regional TV with
CUSA.TV &
School Streaming
8275
ESPN Networks55
ESPN Digital &
Regional TV with ESPN Digital
9174
Stadium Over The Air816
Stadium Facebook92

MAC - One of the things that intrigued me with the pandemic affected season is how sublicenses seemed to be paid attention to a bit more.  With both the MAC and the next conference in the list, the MVC, ESPN sublicenses content to CBS Sports Network and it seemed like they wanted to do their best to make sure CBSSN got its full allotment so that it could contribute its fees back to ESPN.

And in the case of the MAC, who played a limited football schedule, CBSSN still got in eight of the ten football games it would normally be allocated over a full season, plus it appears they received their expected allotment of 11 regular season men's basketball games and the semifinals of the conference tournament.

And ESPN carried 13 games on linear TV, so they were right around the amount of games you would normally find on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU during a season.  Digital is where the dropoff could be found as that's where the majority of MAC games end up until the weeknight games start in late October and November, which in 2020 is where the MAC decided to start their season.

Football20192020
ESPN Networks1713
CBSSN108
ESPN Digital4311

MBK2019-202020-21
ESPN Networks66
CBSSN1213
ESPN Digital159107
Non-ESPN Streaming62

MVC - The MVC juggled their schedule a ton during the season, almost as often as the MAAC did and it often seemed like it was done to make sure that their secondary and sublicense partners in CBS Sports Network and the MVC TV Network RSNs were taken care of.  And they pulled it off.  The MVC had a full conference tournament in both seasons, so the comparison is pretty close and the difference in digital can be explained mostly with the shorter non-conference season and any lost games in conference play.

MBK2019-202020-21
CBS11
ESPN Networks1010
CBSSN1010
MVC TV Network2221
ESPN Digital & Other Regional TV11889