Saturday, March 5, 2011

Big Ten, ABC/ESPN Discussing Contract Changes

Per a report over at the great TV sports website, the Big Ten and ABC/ESPN are discussing alterations to the existing television contract.  The item specifically being discussed is that ABC's telecast windows will no longer be exclusive, meaning that the Big Ten Network could air games simultaneously as ABC does.  Currently that happens once a year, usually in the final week of the Big Ten schedule.  With Nebraska entering the conference, there will be more games available for all parties and to televise every game, there will need to be some flexibility.  There is some great discussion of what ABC could get from the conference if it were to drop exclusivity:
  • More telecast opportunities for ABC/ESPN.  Currently up to 17 games on ABC, 24 on ESPN/ESPN2.
  • Big Ten Network could drop its ability to either
    • Jump ESPN/ESPN2 at times during the season
    • Require all teams to have a conference game on the Big Ten Network
  • Flexibility in selecting games for prime time games
    • I have doubts about this one with many stadiums not having permanent lighting
  • Night games in the month of November
  • Possibility for games on non-traditional days during the season, such as Black Friday or Thursday nights
To me, all seem possible except for flexibility in night games due to the lack of lighting at some stadiums.  Bears watching as the offseason and game selections come in.  Typically the Big Ten sets its night games & start times for homecoming games for the season in mid-April.


billmich said...

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss night games. When Michigan Stadium didn't have permanent lighting they were still picked for 330pm (et) games in late October on 6 or 12 picks and that would necessitate bringing in portable lighting.

A longer shot, possibly, but not out of the realm.

Night games in the cold month of November might be a tougher sell though

Sean OLeary said...

There will be night games in November and there will be flexibility.

The Big Ten isn't stupid. They've seen the Pac-10 and Big XII hog the 8pm ABC slot in November for the past couple of years. And they know they've had better matchups that were played at 330.

The Big Ten is saying the right things about tradition, but everything they've done in the past five years has been geared toward making money. This will be no different.

And I assume they want to run games on the BTN all day long, like a tripleheader each Saturday as opposed to split coverage at noon.

billmich said...


Very well put....