Friday, June 20, 2014

Notes on American & Sun Belt TV selections, Mountain West on ROOT & Big Ten

American controlled TV schedule
Sun Belt controlled TV schedule
TV windows Google Docs spreadsheet

* In terms of the primary networks for the American, one game was selected for the early season (Boise St. at Connecticut on 9/13).  The rest fell into the secondary package of ESPNEWS, CBS Sports Network, SNY and ESPN3.  Eighteen games have been set aside in the primary package, leaving at least ten more games to be selected for ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU through the remaining twelve weeks of 2014.

* CBS Sports Network took an American game for each of the first three weeks of the season.  It appears that they will select at least one game per week, depending on telecast window availability.  Those selections would be handled twelve days in advance of the game date alongside any other selections by ESPN.  I do not know if, or how many times, ESPN or CBSSN can put their selection on hold until the Sunday before a game.

* The kickoff time for Air Force at Army may have been set by CBS, though neither side has announced it.  An 11am ET kickoff, per the MW website, could lead to Notre Dame vs. Navy from FedEx Field airing on CBS in the evening.

* The Big Ten is the last conference to hold off releasing any telecast information for the early season, except for the two weeknight games during the opening week.  Scott Dochtermann of the Cedar Falls Gazette reported a few interesting items this week:
  • The conference is working with its TV partners, specifically ESPN it appears, to place games on ESPNEWS and ESPN Classic
  • July 1st is the latest date that ESPN can pre-select a Big Ten game to air in primetime.  It is also the latest date the network can make its selections for the early season.
  • No side deals.  No third parties.  
The Big Ten was going to need help placing games early in the season, if they did not want to stack a ton of games on BTN.  I have been told that ESPN has rights to a few more Big Ten games due to the increase in membership.  Not sure how many though.  ESPNEWS might be used only for a game or two so that the network can meet some of its requirements with other conferences.  I would not expect ESPN Classic to be used as it is supposed to be ending as a 24/7 channel per the agreement made with Dish Network with Disney.

I think that is why the Navy at Temple game remains TBA in the American package.  If ESPN is allowed to air a Big Ten game on ESPNEWS, it might push Navy-Temple to ESPN3.

As for the possibility of an extra night game selection, November 8th's matchup of Ohio St. and Michigan St. seems to be the one that is desireable to move.  CBS happens to have a night game that day as well from their SEC package.

The "no side deals" part just puts it out there that games won't be showing up on FOX, FOX Sports 1, etc. even though FOX is the primary owner of BTN.  FOX's other entities do not have the room when you consider their schedule of Big 12, Pac-12 and C-USA games.  FS2 doesn't seem to be available for those conferences either at this time.

If you want to see which openings are available for the Big Ten on ABC and ESPN's networks, take a look at the Google Docs spreadsheet at the top.

* Much like the MAC, the Sun Belt has a couple games on ESPNEWS at the beginning of the year.  The Sun Belt doesn't have a publicly known syndication deal, so they may be working with ESPN to maintain one or move them on to ESPN3 or get a few extra games via ESPNEWS throughout the year.

Sun Belt media day is July 22nd.  Maybe more will be announced at that time.

* ROOT Sports selected their Mountain West regional package.  Compared to last year it is a couple less games.   I counted three less MW controlled games compared to last year, so that may have something to do with it after you consider the following:
  • CBS Sports Network and ESPN take 44 games off the top.
  • Hawai'i has to have seven games available to maximize its PPV package as it does not share in MW television revenue
  • Campus Insiders takes a handful of games to produce themselves
  • ROOT is somewhat limited as its RSN footprint does not cover the entire conference
The last point is really relevant to ROOT.  If ESPN and CBSSN take a lot of games involving schools that reside inside ROOT's in-market area, ROOT may have fewer options that appeal to them.

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