Friday, March 8, 2013

A few items re: MWC TV & Thursday nights

* The terms of the ESPN contract with the MWC have not come out yet.  Lets take a breath here.
  • It is for "up to" 22 games, so they is probably some minimum number of games that ESPN has to carry across their networks.  It will include Boise St. home games.
  • Until we see the terms of the agreements in a press release or have details leak out, let's not assume that every game is on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.  The bonus pool, as indicated in the term sheet leaked to the Idaho Statesmen, narrowly defined the bonus pool towards six networks that were in 90 million homes.  ESPNU is in 73 million homes and not part of the bonus pool.  There's time to fill in the late Saturdays evenings most weeks on ESPNU and many Thursdays & Fridays. In short, until a schedule comes out, I don't know that we can assume that every Boise St. home game is going to put them in the bonus.
  • The biggest bonus provided with the pool is a Saturday game on one of the six networks ($500K).  A smaller bonus of $300K is paid for weeknight games on those networks.  Again, lets see a schedule.  We should be able to quickly figure out from there whether Boise St. makes out like a bandit or not.
  • I think the bigger key is the "up to" 25 men's basketball games.  The MWC has improved as a basketball conference over the past few years, in some ways out of the spotlight.  That spotlight should return and can only benefit the conference when it comes to recruiting.
  • I'll need it explained to me how CBS is still the "primary" rightsholder if their games are on CBS Sports Network and appear to be paying less money than ESPN.  Only thing I can come up with is that CBS is paying for only a handful of games and ESPN is getting more games, but not necessarily top tier.  No, not every Boise St. home game is a top tier game.  Going to be hard to get "bonus" money out of the UT-Martin game.
  • They still need to hash out getting paid for non-conference games outside of the TV deal.  I'm having a hard time figuring out how they can get paid for games their contract has no control over.
* The news of the MWC signing the ESPN deal wasn't completely surprising because it was the goal to sign a deal with a network that the conference could use to pay out the bonus money.  And that meant NBC Sports Network was going to be left behind with it only at 78 million homes.  The MWC still has a package of games to sell.  The next package could end up as a regional network package, and if that happens, it would leave NBC Sports Network/Versus without FBS football for the 1st time since 2005, when it was OLN.

I feel conflicted about that.  MWC fans don't have any love for the folks at Comcast but believed things would be different with the NBC branding.  They went after the Pac-12 extremely hard, but were beat out by the ESPN & FOX dual bid.  Never had a chance with the Big 12 as those rights never went to the open market.  Seemed to be in it to win it when it came to the Big East, but the moving parts of realignment may have given them pause in regards to how much they were willing to offer.  They're left with the CAA & Ivy League, plus will have Saturdays filled with the English Premier League & MLS, plus open wheel racing programming from Formula One & the IRL.  They've become the alternative at this point.  Not the worst thing in the world.

* When FOX said that FOX Sports 1 would have regular Thursday night, they weren't messing around.  With respect to the Big 12, Pac-12 & C-USA, we won't know who will be televising those teams Thursday night games.  In the case of the former two, ESPN & FOX and for C-USA, CBS Sports Network or FOX.  I do think its interesting that when the NFL started their regular Thursday night series that it would kill off scheduling top games on Thursday nights.  If anything, ESPN and FOX are doubling down.

8/28: North Carolina-South Carolina & Ole Miss-Vanderbilt (ESPN), ??? (FS1)
9/7: ??? (ESPN & FS1, I think Sacramento St.-Arizona St. ends up with the Pac-12 Network)
9/14: TCU-Texas Tech (ESPN or FS1)
9/21: Clemson-NC State (ESPN), ??? (FS1)
9/28: Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech (ESPN), Iowa St.-Tulsa (FS1 or CBSSN)
10/3: UCLA-Utah & Texas-Iowa St. (ESPN or FS1)
10/10: Rutgers-Louisville (ESPN), Arizona-USC (ESPN ?? or FS1)
10/17: Miami (FL)-North Carolina (ESPN), ??? (FS1)
10/24: Kentucky-Mississippi St. (ESPN), Marshall-Middle Tennessee (FS1 or CBSSN)
10/31: USF-Houston (ESPN), Arizona St.-Washington St. (ESPN ?? or FS1)
11/7: Oregon-Stanford & Oklahoma-Baylor (ESPN or FS1)
11/14: Georgia Tech-Clemson (ESPN), Marshall-Tulsa (FS1 or CBSSN)
11/21: Rutgers-UCF (ESPN), ??? (FS1)
11/28: Texas Tech at TCU & ??? (ESPN or FS1)
12/5: Louisville at Cincinnati (ESPN), ??? (FS1)

In the case of most of the Pac-12 games on Thursdays, I'm not expecting the Pac-12 Network to be carrying those games.


Morgan Wick said...

I've said it before, I'll say it again: NHL fans have to be cursing that their contract didn't run out a year later so they could get on the FS1 train instead of re-upping with NBC.

bigddan11 said...

I'm not so sure they should be. It's important to remember that Fox Sports has had the NHL before, and they've shown no interest in requiring it, outside of their FSN Networks picking up games. Any type of deal would almost certainly put games back on Fox Sports for at least the Stanley Cup. If Fox Sports isn't interested in the NHL, then there's no reason to think that FS1 would ahve gone after it either.