Monday, March 11, 2013

Hawai'i not part of MWC TV deals?

This is culled from a series of tweets.  You may have already read some of these.

A few days ago I wrote about the forthcoming MWC TV deal with ESPN and that we needed to see some finalized details before any judgments could be made whether a school like Boise St. would benefit more than 11 other schools.

Let's knock that down to ten other schools.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that Hawai'i will not share in this new TV deal as they are not a full member of the conference.  SBNation's MWCConnection provides a synopsis of the S-A's article.  And for the moment, let's not go down the road of whether they desire to be a full member nor whether they MWC wants them to be one.  Leave realignment out of this for the moment.  Fact is, Hawai'i and the MWC have a "quid pro quo" relationship.  Under the new playoff rules, the highest ranked conference champion for the "group of five" will play in an access bowl, so the MWC provides UH a place to win a conference.  On the flipside, UH provides the conference a 12th member, which is still the magic number of members needed to hold a conference championship game in football, which the MWC will hold in '13 and monetizing as part of their TV deal.

Instead of being part of the monetary portion of the TV deal (apparently UH will remain a participant with respect to providing their games), UH will continue its pay-per-view package with Oceanic Time Warner cable.  By not sharing in the conference TV contract, more money could be left behind in the shared pool of revenue if UH is not participating, particularly if UH has any of their games which would have qualified for the TV bonuses of playing on a national network.

The school requested four MWC games.  The MWCConnection article states that UH already has two non-conference games for the PPV package, but I honestly can't figure out where that comes from.  Of the four non-conference games:

  • UH controls TV rights to two games.  I can't see the USC game being on PPV.  The Army game I think is a possibility.
  • The road games at Oregon St. and Navy are on broadly distributed networks.   I'm assuming that Oceanic has access to both the Pac-12 Networks and CBS Sports Network.
UH may be continuing to work towards adding a 13th game against an FCS team.  That could be a 2nd non-conference PPV game.

If UH is asking for four MWC games to be made available for PPV, that leads me to believe that the MWC could be done with negotiations for national TV partners and that a regional package could be on the horizon.  When CBS adjusted their TV contract with the conference, they allowed for two packages to be sold.  I don't know how the packages were defined (ie. if CBS or the conference agreed that a package was 10 games in size) or if what ESPN bought was both packages or a single package.  If it was a single package, the regional package could still be in play for someone to step up, produce & syndication to various networks.

The UH football schedule should be finalized with the remaining MWC games in April.  My guess is that until all TV partners are finalized, they don't want to release a schedule where game dates could change.  The UH PPV package usually includes multiple football games along with some women's volleyball matches and a few men & women's basketball games.  Many UH events, including the bulk of the men's basketball home schedule, are also locally broadcast on Oceanic's Channel 16.

1 comment:

bigddan11 said...

Last season 6 Hawaii games were done by OC Sports (which is programmed by Oceanic Time Warner cable PPV)- Lamar, New Mexico, at Colorado State, at Fresno State, UNLV, and South Alabama. Of those 6 games, all 6 were shown regionally on ROOT Rocky Mountain or on Time Warner Sports Net (though with the UNLV game it was tape delayed). It looks to me that what Hawaii is asking for is that 4 MWC games be made available for them to be the broadcasters on PPV, just as was the case last year. Based off of last years model, those games would also be part of the MWC Regional package, so it doesn't necessarily mean a new TV deal is done. It just means that they basically want OC Sports to be the regional partner for those 4 games.

As far as their home model goes, it should be noted that Hawaii wants those home games to be exclusive to OC Sports in Hawaii. It doesn't mean they want the road team to have to buy their PPV package to watch it. Last year they made the Lamar game available on KBTV, and in past years they have made the broadcasts available for Utah State (KMYU) and New Mexico State (Aggie Vision).

I suspect though that the MWC is folding the Time Warner Sports Net and ROOT packages into one package so they can get more games on national TV. Time Warner, ROOT, KTVD, Oceanic, etc. will be the third-tier group that can be shown on regional chanels.