Thursday, May 29, 2014

Notes on the Partial Big 12 TV Schedule

Big 12 Controlled TV Schedule

* As I mentioned in the FOX release post, I was really stunned to see the UCLA vs. Texas game end up on FOX as ESPN helped facilitate the matchup.  Upon further reflection, this might make more sense.

ESPN announced in November of '11 that would be bringing the game to Arlington and that they would be televising it.  The date the game was contracted is extremely important.  At the time, ABC was only allowed to air Big 12 games as part of their TV contract while any Big 12 games on ESPN were typically part of a sublicense agreement between FOX Cable Networks and ESPN.  Conversely, FOX could not air any Big 12 games on their broadcast networks.  Just FX and FSN.  This was seven months after FOX had made an increase in their Big 12 commitment after the defections of Nebraska & Colorado, but ten months before both FOX & ESPN modified their deals with the conference following additional changes in conference membership.

The big modification by both TV partners?  ESPN could air games on pay TV without having to sublicense from FOX.  Conversely, FOX could air games on their broadcast network.  I think this revision is where things changed.  Previously, one could argue the deck was stacked in favor of the Disney properties to carry the game.  ABC usually selected ahead of FOX.  Even with sublicensed games, they probably could have shuffled things around.

Once FOX gained access to air games on their broadcast network and select ahead of the Disney properties, and maybe 9/13/14 was that week, they exercised their right to choose a game organized by a rival.  UCLA vs. Texas was contracted to be played under a vastly different TV agreement, but by being played in Texas, FOX may have asserted that the game was a Big 12 controlled game, not just a random neutral site game, and either TV partner could choose it.

Tennessee at Oklahoma isn't a bad consolation prize though.

* FOX has a relatively low minimum number of games they have to carry on FOX Sports 1 (six games).  With the early season & special date games they've chosen, plus a telecast window on December 6th, at least eight Big 12 games will air on the network.

* If the remaining C-USA flex selections all air on FSN, that would leave the Big 12 with at least nine games on FSN.  This number is not counting the four institutionally controlled games that will air across the regional networks.

* Fifteen selections remain for ABC/ESPN.  Or maybe fourteen if the Florida St. vs. Oklahoma St. game counts since the game is in Arlington much like UCLA vs. Texas.  Neutral site games & classifying them make my head hurt.

* North Texas at Texas is considered Texas' institutionally controlled Longhorn Network game.  I'm sure they'll be looking to air one intraconference game.  When they do, it will count towards the nineteen games ESPN is allotted to air across their platforms.

* I found it interesting but not surprising that FOX chose to designate Iowa St.'s game vs. Toledo as their institutionally controlled game and not the North Dakota St. game.  The Bison have made a name for themselves over the past few seasons, including a win over Kansas St. last year.  If FOX had chosen to give the Cyclones the NDSU game, they may have elected to sit out Saturday as none of the other available games may have been worth carrying nationally.  It also provides FOX a bit of flexibility on October 11th since it looks like they'll be airing a MLB playoff game in the evening, so they can maximize their available telecast windows.

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