Monday, October 27, 2014

MBK & CFB TV Roundup, Opinions, BS, etc.

I couldn't put together a complete post on a particular topic, so this is just random stuff.  There's conjecture and opinion sprinkled in here.

* On 11/29, there are only four SEC controlled games.  There's a CBS 3:30pm window and it could end up airing the Egg Bowl or the Iron Bowl.  No guarantees yet for either one.  What is interesting is that there are three scheduled SEC Network windows, per ESPN MediaZone.  Three, not two.

There is no men's basketball scheduled for the network that day.  No other events currently.  So, if the number of telecast windows hold up, and when running the numbers for 11/29, they might as the ACC has five games for ESPN nets after Raycom & RSN packages and the Big Ten has four games (assuming two on BTN), you won't see either the Egg Bowl or Iron Bowl on ESPN if CBS doesn't take it.  You might need the SEC Network.

* For the 11/8 football TV selections, it makes sense in some ways that FOX took, arguably, the top two Big 12 selections (Baylor at Oklahoma & Kansas St. at TCU while the Pac-12's top two games (Notre Dame at Arizona St. & Oregon at Utah) found their way to ESPN.

ESPN has used fourteen of their nineteen Big 12 selections with four weeks left.  On 12/6, with three Big 12 games, FOX does not have a broadcast TV window for the conference and FS1 has a single window at 3pm, so it would make sense that ESPN would have two games that day.  There's only one way to accomplish that realistically and that is for ESPN to skip airing any Big 12 games one of these weeks.  That particular Saturday appears to be on November 8th.

* And both the Pac-12 & Big 12 appear to be intertwined by the common rightsholders of ESPN and FOX.  ESPN had six remaining Pac-12 selections to use coming into the 11/8 selections and FOX had five.  ESPN used two, FOX used one and now they are on equal ground for the rest of the season with four to use over the final three Saturdays.  The math seems to work out.

11/15 - 3 games.  Pac-12 Networks has one scheduled window at 4pm ET.  FOX & ESPN each take one game.

11/22 - 6 games. Pac-12 Networks has three telecasts scheduled at 1pm, 4:30pm and 10:30pm ET.  FOX could take a game, then ESPN could take two.  Or vice versa

11/29 - 5 games.  Pac-12 Networks has two windows at 1pm & 4:30pm.  Whomever takes two games on 11/22 takes only one on 11/29.

* Periodically, ESPN airs two games or more on ABC without 100% reverse mirror coverage for all the games.  Usually the ACC, Big 12 or American is involved in these scenarios.  The reason for that is that these three conferences don't have the requirement of their games airing "nationally" via a reverse mirror.

I can't speak for either conference, but I would suspect that if they wanted full coverage for every game, they would have had to give up something in return, possibly monetary (I know, these conferences make a lot of money already).  The Big 12, by having their rights split by FOX and ESPN, does enjoy the ability for a few extra national broadcast games via FOX.

* The Pac-12 Networks, instead of picking a specific 10pm ET / 7pm PT men's basketball game on the opening night of the season out of the five available, will show "Full Court Friday Coverage" on the national feed.  I'm interpreting this to mean they will show whiparound coverage of the five available games instead of focusing a specific game.

* Straight up got it wrong regarding my position on Big Ten rights and what is going out for bid.  Apparently everything is.
The BTN partnership is 25 years, so I guess its possible for FOX to own a network where they control none of the rights on it, but that doesn't make a lot sense.  I imagine the conference would approve of putting a handful of games that currently reside on BTN on a more widely distributed network.  Not sure if ESPN would like that, but I'm not sure it matters.  I don't see FOX getting into the game at a big scale.  I'm looking at a BTN that after the first few weeks isn't that clogged up with two or three games.

It is something I need to rethink in the offseason.

* Disregard the strike-through item.  After writing up the original item regarding the Big Ten, I found that BTN's rights are not up for negotiation.  The only rights that are up for negotiation are:
  • ESPN, which includes football & men's basketball
  • CBS, for basketball including the conference tournament semifinals and championship
  • FOX, for the football championship game
BTN is a 25 year partnership for FOX and the Big Ten and that includes the games on the network and its distribution (TV, internet, etc.).  Just try to get the correct items out there.  My apologies.

* I am curious to see the final number of Big Ten games that air across all ESPN platforms.  So far, they've had fourteen games on ABC & 29 games on ESPN platforms, which is two over their previous maximum of 41 games.  Five of the 29 have aired on ESPNEWS and that network is new to airing Big Ten football.   I had it pegged at around 44 games and they'll match that, at least, with the 11/15 selections.

* If FOX isn't tied to placing the live college sports content they own on FSN, maybe FOX Sports 2 would have a few more live events and subscribers.  Most of the Big 12 and C-USA football games that end up on FSN aren't impressive to you and me, but FSN currently has a lot of sublicensed content from the ACC tied into the next 10+ years that they can distribute to all of their RSNs and it doesn't appear that FOX can place this ACC content on FS1 or FS2.  Again, the Big 12 and C-USA stuff, plus around 18-20 Big East basketball games, isn't great content and I don't know what guarantees FOX has with its RSNs to provide college sports programming, but some of this content could be used to slowly build up FS2 while they continue to control the sublicensed ACC content for another decade, or at least until it is bought back for a possible ACC 24/7 Network.

* I'm really surprised/dumbfounded/in the dark when it comes to the MAC.  I expected the regional syndication items to fall off since they fell off for other conferences that ESPN administered syndication packages.  I am more surprised that the regional cable/sports package ended completely, at least for the moment.  In football, only Buckeye Cable Sports has picked up any games to air regionally.  For basketball, an announcement for more regional coverage is supposed to be forthcoming.  At least it was at the end of September.

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