Thursday, July 17, 2014

CFB & MBK TV Roundup for 7/17/14

* The Big Ten released its remaining early season kickoff times and television assignments on Wednesday afternoon.  As Scott Dochterman reported earlier, ESPNEWS will carry a couple Big Ten controlled games.  I do not know whether ESPNEWS is ahead, behind or somewhere in between BTN selections.  I do know that ESPN has more Big Ten selections available to them compared to previous years.  Not sure how many.

* The Sun Belt announced that the conference had partnered with ESPN3 to air around 50 events per year from various sports.  I believe this is a direct replacement for the Sun Belt Network television package that was jointly managed by Comcast and Cox.  For football, I'd expect ESPN3 to exclusively air nearly every football game that is not televised, so that would mean ESPN3 would tack on an additional 10 football games.  In men's basketball, they'll probably carry a "game of the week" type package plus, as they announced, every game not on TV from the conference's basketball tournament.

* Sinclair Broadcast Group announced a new venture called the American Sports Network which will include athletic contests from the Big South, C-USA, CAA, SoCon and Patriot League.  The venture is run by Sinclair COO Doron Gorshein, who previously tried starting up a national cable venture called the America Channel using several conferences' events as backing.  The channel never got off the ground.

This venture differs from the America Channel because the ASN will be syndicated on over the air stations, so it has a better chance at success.  Per the press release, the Big South will have football games on the network and Western Carolina's AD acknowledged the existence of a deal with Sinclair last week.

* Per, ESPNU will not have late evening (10:15pm or 10:30pm) telecast windows on 9/20 or 9/27.  On those dates they are currently scheduled to show tape delayed airings of games from HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges & Universities).  That may affect where ESPN places Virginia at BYU on 9/20 and UNLV at San Diego St. on 9/27, along with any possible Pac-12 selections.

For the Virginia-BYU game, ESPN has to place one more BYU home game on either ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 to satisfy a contract requirement of at least three BYU home games on the previously mentioned channels.

* The bowl schedule has been finalized.  ESPN has rights to nearly every bowl game.

* The Corpus Christi Challenge, now known as the Corpus Christi Coastal Challenge, is alive and well.  Bradley, TCU, Mississippi St. and Saint Louis will make up the "championship" portion of the field.  CBS Sports Network was not mentioned in the press release for the event, but my guess is that they will remain involved if earlier press releases touting the event by CBS are accurate as the dates for the event fall at a time that CBS Sports Network can air it.

* Last year, ESPN released several of the brackets for their early season basketball events on July 17th, so they should be appearing sometime in the next 2-3 weeks.  After that, conferences should start announcing their schedules.  One event that may look different is the NIT Tip Off.  Minnesota set off some alarm bells by posting that they are looking for a game on a date that would seem to conflict with the rounds that the host schools would play home games and the event may not have enough teams for the schools to be able to take advantage of rules regarding the number of games that can be played as part of an exempt event.

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