Monday, August 19, 2013

Thoughts I wrote out last week, then waited for the dust to settle before releasing them

* This first bullet point was meant for the possibility of FOX and various distributors not coming to an agreement for FOX Sports 1.  May this bullet point rest in peace.

* Someone asked me about whether FOX Sports 1 could sublicense any American Athletic Conference games this year.  Counting up the FOX, FOX Sports 1 and FSN telecast windows and there are 15 on FOX, 14 on FSN (excluding four games that are part of the Big 12 institutional package) and 52 on FOX Sports 1.

Conference USA takes up 20 slots (all selected).  The Pac-12 has 22 (11 selected, 11 open).  That should leave the Big 12 with 39 slots (9 selected, 30 open).  41 open selections across those three networks.

Overall, the Big 12 should have 58 games for their national packages.  19 on ABC and various ESPN platforms and the rest (39) of FOX, after excluding one game per team that appears as part of each school's institutional package.  ABC/ESPN has taken five games so far (Tulsa-Oklahoma, TCU-Texas Tech, Texas-Iowa St., Ole Miss-Texas & Kansas-Texas).  FOX has taken nine as noted above. There are 44 remaining games to be chosen.  Assuming ESPN takes its remaining fourteen selections, FOX has 30 selections remaining.

In short, the math works out.  The number of television windows that FOX has set aside matches the available games that they can pick up.  Unless FOX adds games windows, they will not be sublicensing games from the American or any other conference this year.

* There hasn't been any indicator that FOX Sports 2 (the channel soon to be formerly known as Fuel TV) will carry any college sports.  I don't know that FOX will use it for overflow either.  I would not yet get worked up over it if you don't have it, unless you have interest in the programming on the channel.

* The question has been asked: Is the (Dish/DirecTV/telco or cable sports tier with FOX College Sports) worth it for FSN telecasts?  I think the answer depends on where you live and where your interests lie.  There will be a few Big 12 and Conference USA conference games on FSN this season.  It also looks like a few more RSNs will have interest in the ACC RSN package that will run most afternoons.  If you're in a single FOX RSN area, or reside in a Comcast RSN area, it may be worth weighing those costs.  You may, depending on blackout enforcement, may see games from other conferences as well through those sports packages that are not attached to FSN.

* Speaking of an RSN package of games, Bob Rathbun says the following weekends will have SEC games on FOX RSNs.

FSN has two SEC games on 9/7.  I'm guessing that Bob won't be working both.  The game on 11/9 should be an early afternoon game due to the CBS primetime doubleheader.

* I have heard nothing about a possible MAC regional package on FOX Sports, either on FOX Sports Ohio or SportsTime Ohio.  The MAC media guide listed one Northern Illinois on CSN Chicago and the Bowling Green media guide lists two games on Buckeye Cable, but no other regional games for the Ohio schools.  STO has not yet released an online schedule for September.

* MSG and YES will both carry up to ten Big East basketball games in addition to splitting the ACC's regional sports network package.  It is hard to get a read on where and when FOX will be providing these games during the season.  Will they be part of a "game of the week" package during the conference season or are these non-conference games?  The conference is essentially dark to most of the public eye with the conference website still being built and, according to ESPN, a conference staff is still being formed.  The Big East basketball schedule is being constructed now that the conference knows what NHL and NBA conflicts its member schools have to work around.  We know of the five games on New Years' Eve, which appeared on the release touting the hiring of Bill Raftery (those games were scrubbed from the public press release & appeared on a draft version), plus the Super Saturday pair of games and the entire conference tournament on FOX Sports 1.

* CBS has picked up the Mountain West football championship game.  It will be a 10pm Eastern start time, which is later than a lot of sporting events that have aired live on network television, save for some Olympic events or NBA & NCAA games during the early-mid 80s.  If the conference demanded a widely viewed platform, CBS had to serve up the broadcast network.  I'm under the assumption that the conference and CBS had a fixed period of time to negotiate for the game or it could have went out to the open market.

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