Friday, March 22, 2013

A few MWC related items from their ESPN contract

A few items about the MWC deal, at least for the 2013 football season and a basketball scheduling thought.

Boise St. Release (because it has some BSU specific info) 

* You can call this a backpedal if you want.  When I saw that CBS Sports Network had rights for up to 22 MWC football games, that really felt like a lot for a single channel that also has to carry football games from Army, Navy, a Division II package and C-USA.  They certainly can be creative with their scheduling of C-USA and the MWC, plus the D-II package is typically Thursdays.  But I guess that NBC Sports Network could still be in the game for a portion of the MWC games, just not directly from the conference.  If CBSSN has the ability to sublicense any of their content, and they very well could, NBCSN could be a destination for some of it provided they have the room and desire to carry it around their other properties.  With that said, if I'm CBSSN, I don't sublicense my content.  I keep it, build my network and not help anyone else.  Particularly now that the MWC has a partner in ESPN who is in plenty of homes with all of their properties, even ESPN3.  

With that said, I don't think anyone in the conference would be upset if CBSSN licensed some of their games to a network which is in more homes like NBCSN.  Either way, we will probably know more in the next few weeks as the TV partners build the schedule.

* Going back to CBSSN and sublicensing, the same holds true for the football championship game, which the conference says they are negotiating with CBSSN for telecast rights.  If CBS can convince the SEC to move their start time to 6pm ET, you could probably place the MWC title game at 2pm ET / Noon MT / 11am PT / 10am Hawai'i time.  I know that isn't the best time in the world for Hawai'i to host at, but I think you have to look at them as the outlier.

* ESPN's MWC rights this year include the following Boise St. home games: Southern Miss, UT-Martin, Air Force, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming.  Colorado St., Fresno St., San Diego St. and Utah St. are the road games.  Per the agreement, ESPN can trade one BSU home with CBS Sports Network for a road game.  I'd strongly consider doing that this year and try to grab one of the road games in California or the Utah St. game and dump one of the home games.  Just don't expect CBS to be willing to do that if the home game offered up is the UT-Martin game.  Have to believe ESPN is stuck with that for ESPN3.

* CBS Sports Network gets to pick the top eight MWC games.  I don't think they are limited to a certain number of non-conference or conference games. If I were to draft eight games off the top, it would look something like this:

USC at Hawai'i
Notre Dame at Air Force (with possibility of CBS broadcast network)
Boise St. at San Diego St.
Boise St. at Fresno St.
Boise St. at Utah St.
BYU at Utah St.
Fresno St. at San Diego St.
Colorado vs. Colorado St.

I don't think that CBSSN can take both Rutgers at Fresno St. and USC at Hawai'i because of the possibility of starting one of the games in the late afternoon locally, so if I'm making the choice, I go for USC-Hawai'i.  Taking three Boise St.'s best road games is a no brainer, especially if you have to bargain with ESPN for one of their home games.  Same with Notre Dame at Air Force, and that's a game I'd look to consider for a CBS broadcast window if AFA is cool playing at 9:30am or 10am local time.  

* ESPN getting some MWC basketball games during the season will be interesting.  If the conference retains its conference scheduling format of games on either Tuesday or Wednesday plus Saturday, they could certainly slide in a weekly game on Tuesday nights on ESPNU at 11pm ET (9pm MT/8pm PT) without much trouble.  CBSSN could retain its weekly Wednesday game and they each take a game on the weekend, plus whatever they elect to choose from the non-conference portion of the schedule.


bigddan11 said...

I don't think CBS Sports picks up BYU at Utah State as a priority game since it is a Friday Night game. Instead they use it on Army at Air Force.

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Army-AFA did run through my mind as a choice, as did BYU-Nevada. Even though its a Friday night game due to the LDS General Conference, I thought it would be an option as a way for CBSSN to use a selection and still have most of Saturday 10/5 open, particularly with AFA-Navy at 11:30am possibly airing on CBS.

I figured that BYU-Nevada could go back into the general pool of selections because CBSSN may want a game that week that has implications on the MWC divisional races since its the final week of the season.

bigddan11 said...

I agree that it is a possibility. However I also refer to the history of where games air. In 2009, when CBS Sports had a chance to air the game on a Friday night, they opted not to and passed it off to Mtn. In fact, looking at the games they've played since 2008, CBS Sports has never chosen to pick it up. That's why I'm hesitant to say CBS Sports picks up the game.

I also look at the BYU/ Utah series, and I see that every chance ESPN has had to pick up the BYU/ Utah game they have except one year. A lot of those games aired on ESPN+, but the last 7 chances ESPN had to air they ame they've placed all 7 on ESPN2. ESPN traditionally picks up the rivalry games they want to have first thing. BYU/ Utah State is a rivalry game. In fact it's the only rivalry game that week that we know of so far, and it has been one of their highest rated Friday Night games the past 2 years. I just don't see ESPN letting that game get by unless they don't have the priority pick that week.

Here's where BYU/ Utah State have aired since they renewed their rivalry in 2008.
2008- KJZZ & BYUtv
2009- Mtn.
2010- ESPN
2011- ESPN
2012- ESPN

Now I agree that BYU at Nevada is a very likely possibility for CBS Sports. Again though the 2010 contest aired on Mtn, and the games they played against each other in the WAC aired on SportsWest Productions. So it seems the networks may not consider it to be a priority game despite the BYU name. We kind of have to wait to see the MWC schedule before fully guessing where a game is going to fall.

Either way though, I don't see CBS Sports letting Army at Air Force get by them. The past 2 seasons every game in the Armed Forces series showdown has aired on CBS or CBS Sports Net. I see them using a priority pick on that game more than they would a BYU/ Utah State game that they have never aired, especially if they want to place it on CBS.