Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pac-12, FOX & ESPN - Where 10/19 picks hit a perfect storm

First, here's the picks released by the Pac-12.

Now, how this affects other parts of the 3:30pm ET schedule on ABC and the ESPN cable nets
* There could be a three way split of games on ABC, with either BYU-Houston or Oklahoma-Kansas.  One of those games could be available via ESPN3 out of market.
* ESPN, on a few rare occassions, has split the ESPN game regionally.  Tried it out several years ago with a few ESPN2 split games.  Very rare, but it has happened.  BYU-Houston and Oklahoma-Kansas could be split on cable, with the other available on WatchESPN I imagine.  I rule out ESPN3 because this is a game that is only available on cable, so the higher requirement could be in effect.
* Maryland-Wake Forest seems destined for ESPNU, unless they say that Oklahoma-Kansas could air there.  Conversely, Maryland-Wake Forest could now be available for ESPN now that ESPN2 is no longer available.


Now to the topic itself.

If you've glanced at my Twitter, you probably believe I'm defending FOX's reasons for only having a cable window for the Pac-12 on 10/19.  That's partly true.   FOX didn't take on the MLB commitments at the last minute.  They've had them for years and will in the future too.  FOX only planned for a 12pm ET broadcast window for this very reason.  They couldn't take on a Pac-12 game because of the flexibility needed to accommodate the American League Championship Series Game Six, which would not have a time set based on whether the National League Championship Series had a Game Seven.  Simple as that.  FOX pays MLB a lot more money on a per year basis than they do the Pac-12, though you could argue that college football probably gets FOX a better bang for its buck.  Either way, FOX shells out about four times the money to MLB, so they want to recoup that as best they can, and I would bet a lot of the money is specifically earmarked towards the value of the one LCS and the World Series.

FOX has to air eight games on its broadcast network, four in primetime.  They've aired four games so far, three in primetime.  The fourth is the Apple Cup on Black Friday which will be played in the afternoon.  A fifth game out there is Notre Dame at Stanford.  I believe FOX will air that on its broadcast network.

A second piece is the Pac-12 Network, which initially had two game windows scheduled and added a third to account for Charleston Southern at Colorado.

Another piece is ESPN.  As a rightsholder, they have access to 22 regular season games. Coming into the 10/19 selections they have used thirteen selections on games played up to 10/12, plus weeknight games to be played in late October & November.  They also have to use one more ABC selection and it must be a east coast primetime / 5pm Pacific game at some point.

Going back to the Pac-12 network initially only having two windows - Was ESPN asked to use a third telecast window, leaving themselves with just six selections over the final six weeks of the season?  If so, I think ESPN would have been right to have been concerned about taking an extra game.  We'll never know though.  I'm told that ESPN wanted to protect Florida St. at Clemson as the sole ABC primetime game at all costs as well.

And I guess the final piece is the Pac-12 itself.  I guess we shouldn't be terribly stunned to see Stanford and UCLA as undefeated going into 10/12, though it looked dicey for both as they had scares vs. Washington and at Nebraska, respectively.  But if the selection order for every week was set before the season started and FOX earned the right to pick first for 10/19 (something we'll never quite know), somebody should have stepped up and made a correction.

Let's just be glad that some portion of the country will see UCLA-Stanford in the afternoon.  Let's also hope that all of this wasn't for nothing and that neither one gets tripped up by either Cal or Utah.  Because if one of those things does happen, this whole exercise was a gigantic waste.


William said...

I'm glad that UCLA-Stanford has been moved to ABC in the afternoon instead of late in the evening. ABC could have a fabulous Saturday (10/19) with UCLA-Stanford in the afternoon and Florida State-Clemson in the nightcap. I'm sure the ABC CFB ratings will be the highest of the year on that day.

Hopefully, all parties involved learn a lesson in the future regarding the issues (i.e. dragging one's feet incessantly) you mentioned in this blog.

You mentioned that the Pac-12 is still obligated to a prime-time evening game on ABC this year. The best picks available would be 1) UCLA at Oregon (10/26), 2) Stanford at USC (11/16), and 3) UCLA vs. USC (11/30). #1 seems the most likely since none of the ACC or Big 12 games look prime-time worthy that day, except for maybe Texas Tech-Oklahoma.

Feel free to add your thoughts.

Ann Herrick said...

Tired of night games already.

Unknown said...

Gigantic waste.............