Thursday, April 28, 2011

Late April Musings

First, we've had a lot of nasty weather out there.  My hope is that your family and property are safe.

* The Big 12 signed a shiny new deal with Fox Sports Media Group for their pay TV football and others sports.  The 1st thing that sticks out is grabbing 40 games and the 1st thing I look at is "Wow, that's a lot more games than they take today.  But it isn't.  Last year there were 24 games on FSN as part of the Big 12 contract (3 others were national in nature but not part of the deal, so we're not counting them).  In addition, ESPN sublicensed six games and FOX College Sports took on eight games, so we're at 38 games.  My suspicion is that the ESPN sublicense continues and that some of the FSN games (5-6) end up on F/X.

The real key to this deal is that for those eight games on FOX College Sports schools will now be paid for those as part of the national contract.  Previously, FOX gained rights to those games essentially for free and the teams were paid with the exposure of the game being on TV.

Also, FOX can dictate which game reverts to a school's local package, usually before the season starts.  Doesn't mean a game can't air on PPV though since that could be the way a school decides to air that game, like the SEC schools do.

* Big 12 schedules changed again slightly the other day and we'll see two Friday telecasts on ESPN, making the Big 12 the third of the AQ conferences scheduling Friday night games this fall with the Big East, who has been doing Fridays for nearly a decade, and the Pac-12.

* C-USA will have possibly seven Thursday night games this fall (UCF @ UAB not announced yet officially).  That's a lot more than I anticipated, but I suppose it beats being scheduled on Tuesdays & Wednesdays. Unfortunately, the conference or its television partners as of this moment (FSMG and CBS Sports Network) can't acknowledge which network these games will air on due to the lawsuit ESPN has against the conference.

* The Big East has accepted an ESPN request to have two Friday night games on October 21st (Rutgers at Louisville, West Virginia at Syracuse).  I really wish the conference had not accepted this request as it cannibalizes two games into a single time slot.  Sure it happens on Saturdays with the SEC, ACC and Big Ten, so what's the big deal?  Generally by moving a game to a Friday, you move it to get away from the competition for viewers on Saturday.  With two games there, there's that competition even if its from conference mates. 

I do suppose that its possible that there may have been compromises involved.  I have a gut feeling that Syracuse's home game vs. Wake Forest over Labor Day weekend was close to being moved off Saturday and this could have been a compromise.  Again, gut feeling, no inside knowledge.

* The Big Ten has interest in moving games to 1pm ET (12pm CT) to avoid pre-noon kickoffs.  Per the Quad City Time, Jim Delany wants to start games "at noon, 3:30pm and 7pm".  The writer assumes central time, so lets go with that (1pm, 4:30pm, 8pm).  Its a big issue if the conference is able to push this request to ESPN and ABC.  That pushes the possible start times back in other conferences to allow for the ABC "reverse mirror" game in the mid-afternoon and forces the ESPN/ESPN2 noon windows to start later.  I think they can accomplish this with the Big Ten Network windows more than the Disney ones.

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