Friday, June 15, 2012

Analysis on CFB Television Schedule Release from 6/15/12

Conference USA
FOX Sports CFB Schedule

Conference USA and the Pac-12 released their television selections for 2012.  C-USA's release was a full season release, the Pac-12's release was early season plus priority selections.

I was somewhat surprised that FOX was able to get all three games that many of us targeted for their college football schedule.  When it came out that the Pac-12 Networks had the 1st choice on 9/8, I thought that Nebraska-UCLA might end up there.  Maybe FOX used one of their priority picks on the game, but that's nothing we'll likely ever know.  It didn't surprise me that Notre Dame-USC ended up with ABC/ESPN as it was going to be a priority pick for whomever picked 1st for those games.  I would be curious as to whether the order of who gets the 1st priority pick alternates every year or if one network gets top pick two straight years.  If it alternates every year, since ND-USC is played in So Cal in even numbered years, ABC/ESPN could claim it each time its available.

What didn't surprise me either is that the Pac-12 Networks had to stack multiple games in a single timeslot, much like the Big Ten Network.  Only so much room early in the season to get those games televised.  They also made a wise logistical move when stacking those games, putting games from the different regions in the same time slot.  In the Pac-12 areas on 9/8 for example, the Cal game probably goes on the Bay Area RSN, the Colorado game on the Rocky Mountain RSN and the Washington St. game on the Washington RSN, with one of the games pushed to the national channel.  In the case of DirecTV or Dish Network, they might request to use overflow channels like the BTN does to get all those games on instead of carrying each RSN full time.

As for Conference USA, the schedule says twenty games on FSN plus the CBS Sports Network and CSS telecasts.  It doesn't 100% line up with what FOX released specifically for 11/24.  FSN on the FOX release only lists two games.  It's possible they'll run two games concurrently (which would kinda suck), put one on FOX or F/X, or either they didn't list an FSN slot.

With no Pac-12 slots on FSN going forward, it allowed some slack in the available timeslots for C-USA.  Consequently, they have less Thursday & Friday games.  That's better for them, particularly with FSN, because of the regional nature of FSN.  They'll have to deal with NHL pre-emptions in some areas, but probably nothing with the NBA since that time is their preseason.

As for FOX, the big news was the sheer number of games the broadcast network is listed as carrying, and maybe that F/X isn't quite carrying as many.  I counted 21 games on FOX and 20 games on F/X, plus 36 slots on FSN so far (20 allocated to C-USA).

If we use the strict definition that the Pac-12 contract terms gave us, and take into account the worst kept secret that the Big 12 will have some games on FOX broadcast network, that would mean the following:

FOX: 8 Pac-12, 13 Big 12
F/X: 14 Pac-12, 6 Big 12
FSN: 20 C-USA, 16 Big 12

That seems like a huge shift for Big 12 football if ABC offloaded most of their Big 12 games.  FOX has rights to about 40 games in the contract it signed last year for games on FSN, F/X and FOX College Sports.

But based on the timeslots released, things don't quite match up to that strict interpretation, at least on the F/X side.  Assuming those timeslots hold up, and last year they did not, there's only around nine time slots that the Pac-12 could possibly fill and that assumes the 1:30pm slots on 11/3 and 11/17 could be filled by either conference with the Rocky Mountain Pac-12 schools an option if they were interested in 11:30am kickoffs.

Right now, I'm using the FOX release as a guideline, but what I've learned the past few years is that nothing gets set in stone or written in ink.  Pencil for everything.  Contracts are made to altered when it benefits a network.

1 comment:

bigddan11 said...

I do believe I said that Pac-12 Networks would end up trying for a double header on Thursday night, which they did. I do also believe I said ESPN would get BYU/ Utah, which they did for ESPN2. I may not understand everything there is with the new TV contract, but I do know the most desirable games will still end up on FOX, FX, and ESPN 90% of the times. Pac-12 Networks will get a few good games, and Houston/ UCLA is certainly no slouch, but for the most part it will be filled with games most of the nation frankly doesn't care about. It's why I predict that Pac-12 Networks won't be on Dish or DirecTV at the launch. They might get them on by mid-season, like Big Ten Network was able to, but frankly there isn't enough demand from East Coast or Southwest fans for the Pac-12.