Friday, April 11, 2014

Some items related to the partial Mountain West TV schedule

Edited on 4/16 to account for two more Friday football games from the American.

Here are the games set for television by the Mountain West's TV partners.  And here is a Google Docs spreadsheet that breaks down the TV schedule by network and date.  For the purposes of this post, take a look at the ESPN Thursday & Friday sheet.

* The Mountain West (6) and American (9) conferences will occupy a lot of the Friday night telecasts on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.   At least five games each from both of those two conferences will be on ESPN or ESPN2.  Additionally, UTSA-Houston will air on ESPNEWS on Friday 8/29.

* On 9/5, it will be interesting to see whether Pittsburgh at Boston College & Washington St. at Nevada are paired as a doubleheader or if the first game airs on one network while the latter airs on another.  There is a NASCAR Nationwide Series that is tentatively scheduled for ESPN2 that evening.  NASCAR's website lists a start time of 7:30pm ET, which I think would be enough time to put Washington St. at Nevada after it.  Then again, if there are any issues regarding rain, etc. delaying the race, maybe it would be easier to pair the two games together

* On 10/3, Louisville at Syracuse is waiting for a kickoff time and network to be set and Utah St. at BYU is waiting for both as well.   A couple years ago, the Utah St. at BYU game was paired with another Syracuse game in a doubleheader on ESPN and that could be done again.  Right now, ESPNU is open that evening as well.

* 10/10 remains open for the moment.  Washington St. at Stanford is waiting for a network assignment, as are all weeknight Pac-12 games except for the conference championship game.  I would think that this game is on ESPN or ESPN2.  Maybe the Pac-12 Network as a dark horse.  FOX Sports 1 could have a MLB postseason commitment.  There is also a NASCAR Nationwide Series race currently scheduled for ESPN2 that evening with a start time of 7:30pm ET.

* 10/24 is interesting with the addition of the BYU at Boise St. plus USF at Cincinnati set for ESPN or ESPN2.  I don't think a doubleheader is possible with the Boise St. game to start at 9pm, so ESPN will take one game and ESPN2 will take the other.  There is also a Pac-12 game scheduled for 10/24 (Oregon vs. California at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara). ESPNU and FOX Sports 1 should be free to take that game provided if it is not put together with the Cincinnati game as part of a doubleheader.  One item that could cancel out a doubleheader on ESPN or ESPN2 that evening is if either network airs a NBA preseason game.

* If you didn't notice, once the calendar turns to November, ESPN carries the NBA most Fridays.  That is why the Friday night games move to ESPN2 after a certain point every year.  Black Friday is the exception as ESPN doesn't seem to televise any NBA games that day.

* With yesterday's announcement, we did not see any trade of a Boise St. home game to CBS Sports Network in exchange for a Boise St. road Mountain West game.  That could still occur once the rest of the games are selected by ESPN and CBS Sports Network.

* Not related to the schedule, the Mountain West pays out spot bonuses for any game on some national networks, which includes ESPN or ESPN2.  The bonus is $300K for every Friday night game.  Boise St., Fresno St. and Utah St. earned $600K directly out of the MW TV money pool and Nevada, New Mexico, San Jose St. and Wyoming each earned $300K off the top.

Since a third Mountain West controlled Boise St. game was not moved to a weeknight, the Broncos will have at least one Saturday game air on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.  Assuming that this is a conference game, it would pay both Boise St. and their opponent an additional $500K each.

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