Tuesday, February 21, 2012

SEC Expansion and Television Packages

An excellent article came out yesterday about how CBS and ESPN are having to adjust to the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC with respect to television selections.

One item that wasn't mentioned is how both networks will go about televising those extra games.  48 conference games is now 56 and the out of conference number has increased as well.  Today, the breakdown of games looks something like this:

Note: In ESPN's case, these can be minimum numbers

CBS: 14
SEC Network: 13
Regional Cable (FOX & CSS): Approx. 15

In 2012, the SEC inventory is 96 games as of today while we wait for Missouri to complete its schedule, 11 more than last year's number of 85 (count does not include championship game).  Each school also gets the possibility to televise one game via PPV, online, local TV.  Nine of the 85 games last year were part of the institutional package.

Let's assume 11 games are institutionally televised out of the 96, leaving 85 games for TV partners.  So what amounts to another television package (8-10 games) could be carved out.  Who gets them?

CBS - I don't think so.  Since they have their US Open tennis obligations, plus their windows are exclusive, it would be tough for CBS to add to their package of games.

ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU - I could see a game or two being added here.  There's only 24 hours in the day.  Possibly another Thursday night game.

SEC Network - Not likely.  I don't think they want to do split telecasts in the 12:21pm ET slot.

Regional Cable (FOX & CSS) - Possible beneficiaries.  Could see them each getting a couple more telecasts.

ESPN3 - The wildcard.  ESPN3 doesn't televise any games exclusively from the SEC today, but it makes sense that the broadband network could receive these new games.  If I were the SEC I would try to push that they be non-conference games.


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