Saturday, January 8, 2011

Too Many Games, Too Few Timeslots

Fox's deals with Conference USA and the Pac-12 has given FSN far more telecast rights that they have timeslots to use, at least on Saturdays.  FSN now has the rights to nearly seventy games (24 Big 12, 21 C-USA and 24 Pac-12).  A thirteen week season, with timeslots at 12pm, 3:30pm, 7pm and 10:30pm, allows for 52 games.  So there's going to be games that will not air on FSN, but somewhere else.  Where could those places be?

Fox Networks
Fox has an option with the C-USA contract to place some games on F/X and on Fox Network (ie. your local Fox affiliate).  The contracts for the Pac-12 and Big 12 don't allow for games on Fox because of those conference's contracts with ABC, but F/X could be an option.  This is the year where Fox wants to make a good impression to keep the Big 12 and Pac-12 contracts with FSN as they expire at the end of the 2011-12 athletic year, so why not keep the games on F/X?

EDIT: Confirmed by Fox Sports' Lou D'Ermilio, Big 12 and Pac-12 games can only air on FSN and not another Fox-owned network per contract.  C-USA games can air on Fox, F/X or FSN.

Turner Sports
Turner ended their sublicensing agreement with FSN once they started a package of national MLB games on Sundays, along with a share of the MLB playoffs.  Since then, Turner has become a partner with CBS in the NCAA tournament and Turner Sports executive David Levy has been on-record and being receptive to bringing back college sports to Turner at the right price.   If he were, I'd suspect this would be only for Pac-12 and Big 12 games.

Versus is the current sublicense partner of FSN for seven Pac-10 games this past season.  The Big 12 was not pleased with some aspects of the sublicense arrangement between FSN and Versus (related to the payments to teams), requesting that it discontinued and FSN kept those games.  The Pac-10 did not seem to be as concerned and may be willing to have more games on Versus.  Could also be a place for a few C-USA games.

ESPN already sublicenses six Big 12 football games from FSN (separate from the existing 24 games that FSN will carry) and there's some room for ESPN to tackle more Pac-12 windows in the late evening if they so desire.  FSN did get those extra windows as part of the rights agreement for Fox to televise the 2011 Pac-12 title game, citing extra games being available due to expansion, so ABC/ESPN may also try to extract extra games for their own contract.

Don't forget that the Conference USA deal allows for games to air on Thursdays, so a few C-USA games will air then.  I also expect C-USA to have a presence on Black Friday and on Labor Day, maybe Sunday of Labor Day weekend too.  That helps lighten the load.  FSN could also televise a Big 12 game or two on Championship Saturday now that the conference does not have a championship game.



billmich said...

i am also wondering if fox college sports would be available to lighten the load, so to speak

Matt Sarzyniak said...

I don't think Fox College would be used because these are primary appearances for a conference. C-USA's release did not specify Fox College and Big 12/Pac-10 don't get paid to be on Fox College. Home teams that agree to be on Fox College are doing it strictly to say they had a game televised.

billmich said...

i only bring up fcs because while they are usually only on a sports cs is usually on some sort of premium tier as well

Matt Sarzyniak said...

See update in article. FSN games from the Big 12 and Pac-12 cannot appear on F/X. Sounds like they can appear on FSN or they must be sublicensed.

Maybe a syndication package comes about.

TJ said...

They cant be sublicensed to FX? ;)