Friday, July 30, 2010

MAC Regional Coverage on SportsTime Ohio

At the MAC media day it was announced that SportsTime Ohio would supplant Fox Sports Ohio as the regional carrier of the MAC for all sports. The minimums are three football games and 33 basketball games (men and women).

STO, while improving its production since its inception, is
not carried in many parts of Southern Ohio where two MAC schools reside (Miami and Ohio U.). STO does carry OHSAA playoffs which covers all high schools in the state, though I'm not sure how STO gets the games covered in the southern part of the state.

The number of football games is in line with what FSOhio covered in prior years, while the basketball number is a increase of 60% over the prior year according to the
press release.

What isn't mention is whether Fox Sports Detroit will be allowed to maintain its own regional contract to cover the three Michigan based MAC schools. Comcast SportsNet Chicago will maintain the ability to cover Northern Illinois sports and the Time Warner Sports Net covering the western New York area still has the rights to cover University at Buffalo athletics.

In the case of FSOhio, they will have less pre-emptions of the national FSN coverage of the Big 12 and Pac-10, in addition to their coverage of University of Cincinnati athletics.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Quick Hits

  • Conference USA recently re-signed with CBS College Sports for another five years. The press release itself doesn't really mention if CBSC gained any rights and from what I've been able to gather, CBSC didn't gain any expanded rights. ESPN is continuing to negotiate with the conference and it's expected that a new deal with the conference could be completed before the season starts. The ESPN deal is expected to mirror its existing deal (1st choice of 10 C-USA FB games and 5-8 MBK games). I will monitor the C-USA media day today and report back if there is indeed any changes.

  • At the very end of this article, it notes that Arizona is petitioning the PAC-10 and FSN to air its games vs. The Citadel and California on Fox Sports Arizona. The reason for this is because Arizona (along with Arizona St.) prefers to play its early season home games at night due to the extreme temperatures. FSN and the PAC-10 have to rule on the exemption because because FSN has national windows on both of those dates.

    The interesting part is that Arizona St. will be featured in both of the same game times on FS Arizona. One game appears to be due to the two entities granting ASU an exemption (vs. Northern Arizona on 9/11, same date as Citadel game). The 2nd exemption would have to be granted against ASU's national appearance vs. Oregon (same date as UA's game vs. California)

  • Now that the SEC has announced its schedule of secondary national, regional and PPV games, what is left to be announced for opening weekend? Very little. Only games I could see being televised is a Big East Network regional telecast of the Stony Brook-USF game and a Comcast produced telecast of the UC-Davis vs. California game. For the 1st three weeks, we appear to be 95% complete, with the exception of game affiliates & coverage maps. Head over to my site for more details.

Friday, July 9, 2010

ACC - ESPN New Deal

With all the hoopla of a certain NBA star's public announcement of his choice of his new team, lost in the shuffle was the official announcement of the ACC signing a new rights deal with ESPN. Its a weighty deal since this is the 1st time that the ACC has hooked all its rights into a single deal. Previously the football deals were with ABC/ESPN for national coverage and Raycom for regional games, basketball was with Raycom (who would then re-sell games to ESPN, FSN and others) and most other sports were with FSN for either a national or regional level.

So what has changed, at least in the two major sports represented in the contract?


Not that it was an afterthought, but nothing really will change at the ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 level. The conference will still retain priority for a game on Labor Day, have games on Thursdays and still be regularly a part of ABC's Saturday slate of games.

At the regional level, things will change. ESPN decided that they sublicense their games to Raycom, who will manage the syndication business. Those games will be called the ACC Network. The syndicated games will now start at 12:30pm, like the SEC's games, and Raycom will be allowed to reach out to markets outside of the ACC territory to sell those games (this was not previously allowed).

Raycom will also be allowed to create a syndicated package of regional cable games and market those to regional networks. My guess is that any combination of regional networks run by FSN, Comcast or independent ones like NESN and MASN could get in on these games. will also be allowed to air games and it will be necessary to get cable operators like Time Warner on board to take full advantage. Another item that seemed interesting is that the door was left open to sublicense games to other networks. Maybe that is dependent on whether they can get ESPN3 to the masses. Who would be interested in sublicensed games? The usual suspects of FSN, Versus and Turner's networks. I don't believe they would sublicense games to another over-the-air partner.

Men's Basketball

Plenty of changes here now that ESPN is the rightsholder instead of Raycom. ESPN made a point of noting that there would be no more blackouts in ACC areas if a game aired on both Raycom and ESPN (appears that might only be the ACC tournament and one of the Duke-UNC games). They also noted that both Duke-UNC matchups would air on ESPN and that seems to take out CBS from airing one of the games every other year. Raycom will continue to be able to air one of the Duke-UNC games, but will not hold the exclusive rights in ACC areas.

At the moment, FSN is also out of the picture. The new deal notes that a package of Sunday night games would air on ESPNU. According to Commissioner John Swofford, the ACC games on Sundays on ESPNU will be
earlier in the evening (see page 6), starting no later than 6pm. Like the football deal, ESPN left open the door to sublicense games to other national networks, so I think its likely that CBS and others could still pick up ACC games.

Much like the syndication part, Raycom will again manage it and they will be allowed two syndication packages (over-the-air and regional cable).

Other aspects

Like the deals the with the SEC and ESPN & CBS, the ACC will again recapture their copyright on material to do digital archiving and highlight packages.

Also the women's basketball package will be managed by Raycom and syndicated to regional cable stations. The entire tournament will now air on TV on a combination of Raycom syndication and ABC/ESPN/ESPN2.