Wednesday, September 24, 2014

ESPN College Gameday (Basketball Edition) Going to Flexible Schedules?

* It appears that most of ESPN's College Gameday basketball schedule, especially the final two weeks, will be flexible selections.  Looks like it starts on 1/17.  All times Eastern and all of the Gameday games are on ESPN.
  • 1/17: West Virginia at Texas OR Kansas at Iowa St. at 9pm
    • The other game will be shown on ESPN/ESPN2 at 6pm 
  • 1/24: Michigan St. at Nebraska OR Wisconsin at Michigan at 7pm
    • The other game will air at 4pm on ESPN/ESPN2 at 4pm
    • Start time is earlier, presumably, due to X Games
  • 1/31: North Carolina at Louisville OR Duke at Virginia at 7pm
    • The other game will air at 4pm on ESPN/ESPN2 at 4pm
    • Start time is earlier due to an NBA game at 9pm
  • 2/7: Kentucky at Florida at 9pm
  • 2/14: Connecticut at SMU at 9pm
  • 2/21: UCLA at Arizona at 9pm
The games they appear to be leaning towards on 2/28 & 3/7 are both ACC games.  For 2/28, Syracuse at Duke was the only game the ACC release said was specifically going to air on ESPN.  On 3/7, Duke at North Carolina will air at 6pm or in the Gameday slot, but there was not another game that was specifically set aside to take its place.  But most of the schedule for ESPN/ESPN2 on 2/28 & 3/7 are not set in any way.

* C-USA released their FOX & CBS Sports Network MBK schedules and a few items are new.

  • CBS broadcast network is truly no longer sublicensing the conference's tournament championship game from FOX.  FOX Sports 1 will carry the game instead.  CBS Sports Network, which has the rights to carry all other portions of the conference tournament, will continue to carry the semifinals.
    • Why is there a gap between the C-USA final at 1:30pm and the Big East final at 8pm. NASCAR's Xfinity Series schedule says the race on 3/14 from Las Vegas will air on the broadcast network, so the only thing that could interfere is if FS1 is carrying Happy Hour practice.  Maybe FS1 will be carrying a spring training game that day.  Just not sure.
  • FOX Sports 1 is only carrying three regular games and only one of those is an intraconference game (UTEP at Louisiana Tech on 2/26).  FSN will carry seven regular season games instead.
    • My guess, and this is only a guess, is that FOX has guaranteed the conference a certain level of coverage for their games and that level of coverage cannot yet be met by the number of homes subscribing to FOX Sports 2.  So while there are pockets of the country not serviced by RSNs carrying FSN programming, the number of homes that do receive FSN programming still outnumber those receiving FS2.
  • Of the non-conference games available, Washington St. at UTEP was not chosen.  My assumption is that neither FOX nor CBS could provide it a tip time before 10:30pm ET / 8pm MT, so they passed on it.  
* FOX put out a release for its entire college basketball schedule.  A few items on it, or missing from it, of note:
  • It did not have the Iowa St. vs. South Carolina game from Barclays Center.  I'm reasonably confident this one is airing on CBS Sports Network now that the C-USA schedule for that network has been announced
  • FS1 will carry one of the games from the Orange Bowl Classic (Florida vs. Wake Forest) on 12/20.  Florida St. vs. USF game will air on FSN.
    • Florida vs. Wake Forest will be simulcast on either FOX Sports Florida or Sun Sports
  • A game between Long Beach St. and St. John's, scheduled for 12/22 at 7:30pm, has gone missing.  I did send a note to their PR department last week noting that the game couldn't air on FS1 based on other games already set for the network, nor could it air on FS2 based on its tip time with a game on FS2 at 9pm ET.  I suspect they are working with the school to finalize a new tip time and network.
  • Last year, around twenty Big 12 games, including one intraconference game, aired on FSN over multiple regions, including those outside of the Big 12 footprint.  I assume this will happen again, especially since three games were set aside for FSN to air during conference play.  I believe these will be added to the schedule at a later date.

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