Saturday, May 31, 2014

Notes on SEC TV selections & other general TV items

SEC Controlled TV Schedule
Google Docs Flex Schedule by Network

* The SEC released their early season TV schedule Friday and this is the earliest date in several years where the national TV schedule has been completely set.  For a while they would release the CBS, ESPN & ESPN2 games in May or June, then the ESPNU, syndication, sublicense and PPV games at media days.  Then they went to releasing all early season items at media day for a couple years.

Let me say that it will be nice to not receive an email or a tweet every other day asking "Where are the SEC kickoff times?".  Gets old after the 2nd or 3rd time.  Sometimes from the same person.  During the same week.

* The Big Ten is the only "Power 5" who has not released their early season TV schedule.  Of the "Group of 5" conferences, the American likely has a few televised games that are waiting to be set in the early season.  Many of the "Group of 5" conferences have weeknight games that are also waiting on kickoff times that have not yet been set.

What is open & can be filled?

Week 1 (8/28 & 8/30)
  • Likely a lot of ESPN3 exclusives from the G5 conferences
  • Tulane at Tulsa on 8/28 appears to be waiting to be set for CBS Sports Network.  ESPN has announced when they are carrying a weeknight game, so this one kinda sticks out.
  • Openings on ABC & ESPN's primary cable networks (ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU) appear to be:
    • 12pm ESPN2
    • 12pm ESPNU
    • 3:30pm ABC/ESPN2 reverse mirror opposite West Virginia vs. Alabama
  • A mid afternoon opening exists on CBS Sports Network between the completion of the Ohio St. vs. Navy game and the beginning of the Washington at Hawai'i game, though CBSSN could show US Open tennis during this time.
Week 2 (9/6)
  • Oklahoma at Tulsa from the American was guaranteed television coverage on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
  • Air Force at Wyoming is guaranteed to be shown on an ESPN platform
  • Available openings include the following:
    • All ESPN primary network windows at 12pm, plus the possibility of an ABC window at that time
    • A mid-afternoon ESPN2 window at around 3:30pm.  If USC at Stanford is turned into a reverse mirror game, this would be the other half of the reverse mirror
    • CBS Sports Network has a mid afternoon window open for an American game.  
    • A late evening ESPNU window after the 7pm SEC game
  • More ESPN3 exclusives from the G5 conferences
Week 3 (9/13)
  • It appears there will be an ABC window at 12pm.  There are openings across ESPN's primary networks at that time too.
  • CBS Sports Network is once again open in the mid-afternoon for an American game if they choose to air one.
  • It looks like there could be a reverse mirror between Arkansas at Texas Tech and another game, probably from the Big Ten or American.  ESPN would be the reverse mirror network as ESPN2 looks to be carrying a NASCAR race during the mid afternoon followed by a pair of SEC games starting at 6pm ET.
  • The Tennessee at Oklahoma & USC at Boston College games also appear to be filling the two open slots at 8pm ET on ABC & ESPN.  The games could be reverse mirrored or air nationally one of the two available networks
  • Additional ESPN3 exclusives
Not mentioned is that ESPNEWS will be carrying some games.  Only one game has been set for the network (San Diego St. at North Carolina on 9/13), but there should be a game or two on the network on 8/30 & 9/6, along with maybe another game on 9/13.

I also don't know if there will be any MAC or Sun Belt syndication packages.  For selfish reasons, I hope to hear some MAC kickoff times as I'll be traveling to Central Michigan in mid-September.

* LSU at Texas A&M was not mentioned as part of the SEC release today, which I find interesting.  I wonder if we'll hear more about this game during SEC Media Days.  I agree with others who mentioned the following: ESPN could be considering showing it on SEC Network.  

* CBS Sports Network is supposed to air around 13-15 American games.  I'm unsure whether CBSSN will have games off the top or if they will select games through the 12 day selection process.  It would make sense if they were set during the 12 day process as ESPN would also be choosing games.  CBSSN, in terms of subscribing households, has less than any of the ESPN platforms, so if there was a 12 day process, they may receive a choice before games are set aside for ESPN3.

These are open slots they could fill.  There are around 20 of them, but they won't all be used:
  • 8/28 (Thursday) - could be for Tulane at Tulsa
  • 9/6 (3:30pm)
  • 9/13 (3:30pm)
  • 9/20 (12pm & 7pm)
  • 9/27 (12pm)
  • 10/4 (7pm)
  • 10/11 (7pm)
  • 10/18 (3:30pm)
  • 10/25 (after 4:30pm)
  • 11/1 (12pm, only if Air Force at Army is not on CBSSN)
  • 11/8 (12pm)
  • 11/15 (7pm)
  • 11/22 (3:30pm & 7pm)
  • Black Friday 11/28 (12pm)
  • 11/29 (7pm, but only if they have no other men's basketball event conflicts)
  • 12/6 (all day)
* A couple random thoughts:
  • The SEC Network is supposed to have exclusive video content for channel subscribers along with the network feed online.  The Longhorn Network has a online video feed for subscribers too.  I wonder if it would be easier, and a one-stop portal, if those networks were added to the WatchESPN site where one login would provide all of the online content for a subscriber.  
  • With the SEC sublicense package ending and Comcast's CSS RSN closing up, I'm drawing a blank on whether Comcast's RSNs will have any FBS football.  I kinda wonder if they some of them would be willing to make up with FOX to carry FSN content.  CSN Mid Atlantic has the ACC RSN package & MASN2 is affiliated with FSN, so a fair amount of the Mid Atlantic region is covered, but the RSNs in Chicago, Northern California and maybe Philadelphia might desire some of the content.


Mark Falzone said...

Great post, thanks for this (as always!) Some week one questions:
Do you think that ESPN2 will have a 9-10 pm broadcast window? Last year they had Northwestern @ Cal in that slot.
Do you have predictions for the slots open for week one?
My predictions based on your openings:
Cal @ Northwestern at 3:30 on ABC/ESPN2
Appalachian State @ Michigan at noon on ESPN2
FAU @ Nebraska at noon on ESPNU
Boston College @ UMass at noon on ESPNews

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Hi Mark. Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune beat writer, was told when the Big Ten released their homecoming kickoff times that Cal-NU was a 3:30pm ET start, so you are likely correct that it is on ABC/ESPN2.

I don't think ESPN2 will have a late evening telecast. There really isn't anything left that fits at that time. The UTEP at New Mexico game wasn't selected as part of ESPN's MW package. It fits the timeslot, but since they don't appear to have rights to the game, I think ESPN2 stays dark at that point.