Monday, November 26, 2012

What I learned in CFB TV this year

Was an interesting year.

* FOX was a welcomed addition to many of our Saturdays.  As a nation we likely saw more of both the Big 12 and Pac-12 than in prior seasons on both the broadcast network and F/X.  In a couple years we might see some more CFB on FOX when the rumored FOX Sports One comes to fruition and FOX looks to move more MLB to its cable network.

* I learned that the Big Ten, at 12 teams, continues to have a requirement of 41 contracted games but that those can be spread out over ABC, ESPN and ESPN2.  There used to be a requirement that no more than 17 games could air on ABC, but that no longer exists.

* On the flip side, we saw less FSN than previous years.  Not in terms of games, but in terms of RSNs carrying the games.  Comcast dropped the programming from its RSNs about a month before the season started and was only able to replace those games on a piecemeal basis in some of those markets.  Chicago was completely shut out of FSN games.  ROOT Sports, in their Northwest and Rocky Mountain RSNs, also dumped out of many games in favor of Big Sky or Mountain West regional contests.  That hurt both the Big 12 and C-USA packages.  Next year, and possibly this year after it has finished, I'll drop FSN down to "regional syndication" for both the Big 12 and C-USA due to the hybrid nature of distribution.

* The Pac-12 Network started this year.  Was a welcome sight tor those who were able to get the channel.  DirecTV continues to be the national carrier without the channel, though Charter in Los Angeles is notable for not carrying it either.  Basketball, while encompassing more events on the channel, likely won't drive either one to make a deal anytime soon.  Wait 'til next year.

* The addition of Missouri and Texas A&M caused additional headaches for ESPN when it came to the television appearances for the SEC.  We had one SEC Network doubleheader and a couple split regional windows, which I'm told the SEC prefers not to do.  The regional cable package didn't increase in size, rumored to be due to FOX and Comcast knowing those games would be lost to "Project X" whenever it takes shape. It also didn't help that the CBS primetime window this year was in November.  When it has been in September & October in previous years, ESPN would essentially flip flop their early afternoon Big Ten games to the evening and have the SEC take the early slots.  Couldn't do that this year, though ESPN carried multiple Big Ten games at 3:30pm to make up the difference.

* Random stats: The ACC had its lowest number of contracted ABC games since 2005 with nine.  Conversely, the Big East had six games on ABC, tying its highest number with 2009...The SEC had 29 games on ESPN/ESPN2, up eight over 2011...The WAC, who will no longer sponsor football after this year, had the same number of ESPN/ESPN2 games as the Sun Belt (3)...The Big 12, by realigning its TV deals, increased the number of broadcast network games it had this year, up five to 21 games.  FOX had nine of those games, ABC had 12.  The conference had 14 fully distributed national cable games. ESPN had five, F/X carried nine.

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