Friday, February 10, 2012

Thoughts on the possible Big 12 schedule & television implications

While we wait on the Big 12 football schedule, and while I finally get around to listening to "The Whole Love" by Wilco (2LP), lets look at a few television related items for the conference:

1) One institutional game per year - With the new FOX Sports Media Group deal, each school will retain a game for them to sell to local/regional television, stream over the internet, etc.  Let's assume as well that Texas only gets one game for the Longhorn Network.  Per the teleconference when the FOX deal was announced, FOX will let the schools know which game will be returned to them before the season starts so they can plan how to distribute the game.  My guess is that it will be the FCS game on a team's schedule or their lowest rated OOC game.  So who would that be in 2012?

Baylor - Sam Houston St.
Iowa St. - Western Illinois
Kansas - South Dakota St.
Kansas St. - Missouri St.
Oklahoma - one of their 2 OOC games not contracted yet.  If the rumored UTEP road game comes to fruition (more on that later), the last OOC game will be the institutional game since the other OOC home game is Notre Dame.
Oklahoma St. - Depends on the remaining OOC game.  Could be the UL-Lafayette game
TCU -Grambling
Texas - New Mexico
Texas Tech - Northwestern St.
West Virginia - James Madison

2) Based on the math, assuming that one of the two remaining Oklahoma OOC games not scheduled will be a home game, along with Oklahoma St.'s remaining OOC game, the Big 12 has 65 games to offer television.  ABC can take as many as 18, FOX as many as 40.  With each school retaining one game, that means FOX and ABC have 55 Big 12 games to choose from.  I don't know if there is a provision where a school can forego the local game if ABC and/or FOX want to televise the maximum number of games.

3) In my opinion, if the rumored Oklahoma-UTEP series happens, FOX appears to be the matchmaker.  Here's why:

  • FOX can televise both ends of the series.  As the C-USA rights holder, they get the 1st ten selections for the conference's home games.  And as the Big 12 cable rights holder, it is more likely that this game would fall to them instead of ABC.
  • Order is important as to which game happens first.  If the often rumored MWC & C-USA merger occurs, depending on the conference formation & legal stuff, FOX isn't guaranteed to be the rightsholder of the merged conference if it is a new entity.  So while C-USA exists, it is to FOX's benefit to have the game at UTEP occur first.  FOX can pick up the 2nd half of the series in Norman as part of the Big 12's television package as that conference is more stable (can't believe I typed that) at this time.
  • UTEP, due to location in the Mountain time zone, has better kickoff time flexibility and can kick off a game at 10pm eastern time, allowing FOX's regional affiliates to finish any MLB or regional football commitments.
4) Looking over the first three weeks of the Big 12 season, it would not stun me to see a conference game or two slipped into the schedule.  Not a lot for ABC and FOX to choose from in terms of quality.  TCU-Oklahoma St. (9/1), WVU-Baylor (9/8) and a combination of Oklahoma, TCU and Kansas (9/15) would be possibilities.  FOX and ABC did want the schedule to have non-conference games spread out in the schedule and have conference games available earlier to maximize television opportunities.  Of course, things can change and these teams could be moving around OOC games too so they don't have early season conference games.

5) Special dates - FOX can have up to five "special dates" games.  Those are:
  • Friday after Thanksgiving
  • Sunday of Labor Day weekend
  • Up to three Thursday night game
FOX can sublicense their content to other cable networks like they have previously with TBS, ESPN and Versus/NBC Sports Network.  If they do Thursday night games, expect them on ESPN.  FOX would likely keep the Labor Day weekend game as they have in past years.  I believe the Black Friday window is new.

1 comment:

J.D. said...

I'd like to see Texas vs. WVU on Black Friday. Both teams just lost their traditional rivalries that they are accustomed to playing on that date.