Friday, September 19, 2014

This week's MBK TV schedule notes

* The Pac-12 released its men's basketball schedule on Monday evening.  ESPN's key windows for the conference are typically Wednesdays at 9pm ET on ESPN2 & occasional Thursdays and Sunday evenings on ESPNU as part of a doubleheader with the ACC.

Nineteen of FOX's 22 games will air on Thursdays (nine) & Sundays (ten).  The two games airing on Saturdays are in place to air on FOX broadcast network, where either Oregon at UCLA or St. John's at Xavier will air on FOX on 2/14 with the other on FS1 & the Territorial Cup game in Tempe on 2/7 will air as part of a doubleheader with Georgetown at Villanova.

The conference will probably be paired with women's basketball from the Big 12, Big East and some men's basketball from C-USA on those days.

* An interesting question was posed re: why FOX doesn't take more non-conference men's basketball games for their Pac-12 schedule.  They've taken just one game each of the last two year (Marquette at Arizona St. last year, Ole Miss at Oregon this year).   I believe the reason is two-fold:

1) FOX only has 22 Pac-12 controlled regular season men's basketball games to show over 17-18 regular season weeks and the conference season has more value to them.  The conference season typically plays out over nine weeks, so that is roughly 2-3 games per week they can show.  In other words, they really want to make the 22 selections count.

2) As the sole rightsholder to the Big East, minus what they have sublicensed to CBS, they have more than enough men's basketball content during non-conference play, even though those games are often of a lesser quality, so they don't have as much of a need for choosing Pac-12 content in that portion of the schedule.  Earlier this year I discussed whether having that much Big East content was a good thing.

* It does look CBS Sports Network has access to non-conference games from the American Athletic Conference to complete their sublicense agreement of up to 30 men's basketball games.  They chose four games that I've been able to confirm: UCSB at SMU (12/8), Oklahoma at Tulsa (12/13), UIC at SMU (12/17) & Seton Hall at USF (12/18).  This brings their total to 29 games.

* I looked over the schedule of games for ESPNU throughout the year, specifically 2015 because that is where you typically see your back-to-back(-to-back...) schedules of games and any opening left is where several conferences like the will look to fill out the schedules.  Any Monday opening is likely to be filled by the MEAC or SWAC.  Fridays are apparently open for the Metro Atlantic, America East, Big South & MAC (maybe Thursdays for the MAC too).  The OVC for Thursdays too(?).  Saturday for the MVC(?).

So what is left exactly?

Not that much.  Here's a small list.

Monday: 1/5 7pm, 1/26 All day, 2/2 All day, 2/16 7pm, 2/23 All day
Wednesday: 2/11 9pm
Thursday: 1/8 7pm, 1/15 9pm, 1/22 7pm, 2/5 7pm & 9pm, 2/26 7pm
Friday: 1/9 7pm, 1/16 All day, 1/23 9pm, 1/29 9pm, 1/30 8pm & 10pm, 2/6 All day, 2/13 6pm & 10pm, 2/20 All day, 2/27 6pm & 8pm
Saturday: 1/11 11am, 2/21 ~7pm

* The Big Ten released their basketball schedules in two pieces this week.  The tournament semifinals on CBS will move up 30 minutes, starting at 1pm ET.  My thought is that this is related to CBS no longer sublicensing the C-USA championship game from FOX.  If they were to continue carrying the game with a 11am ET start, that would be 10am locally in Birmingham and just a 14.5 hour turnaround from the finish of the last semifinal game the day before.

FOX Sports 1 has the Big East final scheduled for an 8pm tip on March 15th.  I could see the C-USA final preceding it with a 5pm or 5:30pm ET tip, allowing for some overlap/pre & post game time.

* I'm a bit curious to see who picks up Iowa St.-South Carolina from the Barclays Center on 1/3/15.  The Barclays Center website lists the game as a 6pm tipoff.  FOX Sports 1 doesn't have the ability to take it unless they move the start of Creighton-Georgetown from 4:30pm to 4pm.  On the other hand, CBSSN has an opening at 6pm ET on 1/3/15.  Provided that C-USA does not have their TV schedule modified for TV that weekend, the game may have found a home.

I don't expect the game to air on ESPN.  They have many games set with unknown tip times for that day, presumably due to the uncertainty when ESPN would air their NFL wild card game.

Speaking of C-USA, their TV selections should be out over the next couple weeks.  Last year a TV schedule showed up on October 8th.

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