Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Quick take on the American CFB TV schedule & remaining Thurs/Fri openings for ESPN

* With the release of the American CFB schedule, thirteen games were designated for national cable telecasts by ESPN (not listed: Oklahoma-Tulsa because it could air on ABC).  That is slightly less than half of the 28 games that, I've been told, ESPN must carry on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.

I'm expecting at least one of the Black Friday games to be picked up by the ESPN networks at some point.

The American says that 80 percent of their conference controlled games will air on a combination of six networks, which would be 56 games out of the 70 games they control.  That should leave a combination of 28 games on ESPNEWS & CBS Sports Network.  CBSSN's sublicense agreement is for about 13-15 games, so it should be roughly a 50/50 split for the "second 28"

The remaining 14 games, or some approximate number, would be on ESPN3 or possibly regional television if they desire making agreements to get those games on TV.

* I'll give you this graphic first and then we can discuss it.  EDIT: Column 1 is the Saturday date.  Column 2 is the corresponding Thursday (-2 days), column 3 the corresponding Friday (-1 day).

For the five openings on Thursday nights

8/28 - Would seem to be a lock for Ole Miss-Boise St.
9/4 - Last year ESPN went dark on this Thursday night to televise the US Open tennis event on both ESPN & ESPN2.  This is also the opening night of the NFL season.
9/27 - Two games are currently available: Texas Tech-Oklahoma St. & UCLA-Arizona St.
11/13 - California at USC is available
11/27 - TCU at Texas and LSU at Texas A&M are available

Of note, ESPN could do doubleheaders on 8/28, 10/2 and 10/16.  These three dates have Pac-12 games set aside.

8/28 - Rutgers vs. Washington St., Weber St. at Arizona St. & Idaho St. at Utah
9/27 - Taking both Texas Tech-Oklahoma St. & UCLA-Arizona St.
10/2 - Arizona at Oregon
10/16 - Utah at Oregon St.

Fridays are open for ESPN too.  The Mountain West, BYU and Pac-12 could be slotted into many of these openings.  One item of note: Boise St. home games, which ESPN has the rights to, can have no more than three weeknight games

9/26 - Right now, probably a MW game.  Boise St. is at Air Force, so ESPN would need to trade CBS Sports Network a Boise St. home game to get access to the game.
10/10 - Washington at Stanford is scheduled for this evening.  Boise St. is on bye.  BYU is playing the night before
10/17 - Fresno St. at Boise St. is available.  Nevada at BYU could be moved.
11/7 - A Mountain West game seems likely.  Boise St. is on the road.
11/21 - A Mountain West game seems likely.  Boise St. is on the road.

The possibility exists of a Friday doubleheader on 10/3 with Utah St. visiting BYU.  Oregon is also visiting Cal on 10/24 in a game being played at Levi's Stadium for a doubleheader.

There will also be some Thursday & Friday games on ESPNU, likely from the Sun Belt.  The American has a few scheduled already and the Mountain West, BYU and maybe the Pac-12 fill out a few too.  There should also be some SWAC & MEAC games on Thursdays.

FOX Sports 1 will also be getting into the mix with some of the Pac-12 games mentioned, along with some C-USA games in process of being set aside and a couple Big 12 games, such as the Kansas St.-West Virginia game on 11/20 (not confirmed, but seems likely) and possibly TCU-Texas on Thanksgiving.


bigddan11 said...

There is a strong rumor that the BYU/ Boise State game will likely be moved to Thursday or Friday. Thursday's already have both ESPN & ESPNU airing games, and they dnot't have to air an HBCU game on the ESPNU broadcast, as illustrated last year. They've also shown they are willing to air games on two networks on Friday's (BYU & I think it was Utah State both aired on the same Friday on ESPN2 & ESPNU this past year).

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Yes, I saw where Tom Holmoe hinted at BYU-Boise St. moving. Depends how many networks they decide to utilize. As I mentioned, Oregon-Cal is already on that Friday night too, but could air elsewhere (FS1 or Pac-12).

Hagen Bentley said...

On 10/10 there's a NASCAR Race.

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Good point. Race can air on ESPN2 with footbal on ESPN or vice versa. Could also air after race.

Hagen Bentley said...

Yeah, the Pac-12 through doesn't like Friday Night Football games kicking off at 10:30 PM if they can help it. So if it's going to happen, gotta do it on the main network that is not doing NNS.