Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mid season CFB TV Report For Select Conferences

Since week seven is the midpoint in the season for most conferences as seven conferences play their championship games the final week of the season, I figured now would be a good time to look at the selections made so far, any requirements that have not yet been hit or any maximums to be concerned about.

I also listed the number of times a conference had a six day hold used against it.  From conversations I have had with others, a six day hold is simply when the kickoff time is not determined until six days before a game's date.  So if a kickoff time has been set, but not the network (usually the networks are in the same family like ESPN or ESPNU), I have been told it is not a six day hold.  As I understand it, it could be just one game from a conference's offering for a given week, all of a conference's games or some number in between.  The number of six day holds available will vary by conference and are usually negotiated within their TV deal(s).

If a conference isn't listed here, it doesn't have any rules or guidelines that must be adhered to that I am aware of.

Nothing to report, except that one six day hold has been used by ESPN.  Per this article at the ACC website, a portion of ACC kickoff times can be put on a six day hold a maximum of four times.

I have been told that ESPN has to carry a minimum of 28 games on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.  Counting games set aside through the rest of the season, 22 of those games have been accounted for, so six more must be made through December 6th (eight more weeks of games for them).  Two more of those games could be chosen for ESPN platforms on Black Friday as CBS Sports Network will choose one of the three available American games that day.

One six day pick has been used.

Big 12
I have read conflicting information regarding whether ESPN's Big 12 selections have to follow a rule regarding a maximum of six appearances for a school on ABC or ESPN platforms (Longhorn Network excluded).  Right now, only one school have made three appearances on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU: Texas Tech.

In total, ABC & FOX have to combine for a minimum of 25 "national" games using full-national television or reverse mirror ABC distribution, ESPN's national platforms, FOX or FOX Sports 1.  So far the tally is as follows through selections made for 10/11:

ABC (national or w/reverse mirror) - 3*
FOX - 4**
ESPN - 3
FS1 - 11

* - does not include Baylor at Texas on 10/4 which is not being reverse mirrored to ESPN or ESPN2.
** - includes UCLA vs. Texas, a neutral site game played in the state of Texas which I am considering as part of the Big 12 controlled TV package because it was played in the conference's "footprint".

So somewhere they'll have to come up with another four national telecasts, which should be relatively easy to do.  They'll probably have that covered by October 25th at the latest.

And from the count above, plus one Longhorn Network game between Iowa St. and Texas, ESPN has used nine of their nineteen Big 12 selections and has ten to use over the final eight weeks of the season.  FOX must air a minimum of six Big 12 games on their broadcast network and should hit that number with ease.  Like the American, the networks will have Big 12 telecast decisions to make for December 6th.

No six day picks have been used yet.

Big Ten
It is my understanding that all Big Ten schools must appear twice on BTN with at least one of those appearances as a conference game.   Using current and future scheduled BTN telecasts, Ohio St. and Wisconsin need to appear on BTN during a conference game over the final seven weeks.

One item I do not know is the maximum number of games that ESPN can choose to spread over their networks.  It was 41 until last year out of 88 conference controlled regular season games.  With the number for 2014 of 96 conference controlled games, math would say the new maximum is 44 games, but I really have no idea and using math for this one is really not the correct measurement.  So far, 31 games have been selected to air on ABC or ESPN platforms (five on ESPNEWS, a new outlet for the conference), so the number of 44 may be a little low.

No six day picks have been used yet.

The minimum requirement of three games on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 has been hit.  One game has been set aside for BYUtv.  The last requirement is that either the Nevada or UNLV game has to air on ESPNU per the Cougars' TV deal.

No six day holds have been used.

I'm not sure if C-USA still has the same requirements for at least ten games on FOX Sports 1 like they did last year.  Language in several C-USA releases moved away from at least 20 national games to at least 30 total games, lumping in the games that FOX College Sports previously would take and moving them into the same pool as FSN and FS1.

Eight games are currently scheduled to air on FS1 and there are eight C-USA games will have their kickoff time & television outlet decided through the twelve day TV selection process, so its possible that FS1 will have ten C-USA games.  I think whether they get to ten could depend on how well Marshall does through the rest of the season.  If the Thundering Herd are in the hunt for the Group of Five access bowl slot, FOX could look to place the Rice at Marshall game on 11/15 on FS1.

No six day holds have been used.

No Pac-12 school, as part of the games under the control of the Pac-12's TV rights agreements with ESPN & FOX, can appear more than nine times combined in those two packages.  The idea behind this is that it should leave the Pac-12 Networks with at least one game, conference or non-conference, for every school.

So far, the following is known:
  • Arizona St. has eleven of their games as part of the Pac-12 TV packages and has only appeared on Pac-12 Networks once.  They must appear on the network at least one more time before the Territorial Cup, which is on Black Friday and to be televised by FOX.  I would not expect the Notre Dame game on 11/8 to be the Pac-12 Networks choice.
  • USC also has eleven games as part of the conference's TV package & has yet to make an appearance on Pac-12 Networks.  Two out of the final five games that have yet to have telecast information set for them must be shown on Pac-12 Networks.  The game vs. Cal will be on ESPN and I would expect either ABC or FOX to televise the Notre Dame & UCLA games, so two of the the games vs. Colorado, at Utah & at Washington St. should air on Pac-12 Networks.
  • All other Pac-12 schools have made enough appearances on Pac-12 Networks that they are free to be chosen for any TV package.
Another portion of the Pac-12 TV rules revolves around the number of games on broadcast television.  You may recall last year that FOX fell one short of the minimum requirement of eight telecasts on their broadcast network.  Through seven weeks, FOX has already matched last year's number.  They need at least one more of their games to air in primetime to fulfill all minimum requirements for the broadcast network portion of their deal.  ABC also needs to air one Pac-12 game in primetime.

Counting future games already set aside by both FOX and ESPN, FOX has used thirteen of their 22 Pac-12 selections.  This does not include the conference's championship game as that is outside of the selections.  ESPN has used 11 of their 22 picks with seven weeks remaining.

One six day hold has been used.

I realize that the two CBS selections were held for six day picks for 10/11 (this is the first six day hold used for SEC games in '14), so this portion of my post gets an "incomplete".  Of the six games selected by CBS (two for future weeks), three schools have appeared twice: Alabama, Florida & Georgia.  A school cannot appear more than six times on CBS during the season, excluding the conference championship game.  A seventh appearance is possible provided a school hasn't had seven appearances on CBS, again excluding the conference championship game, in a certain amount of time (I want to say five years, but I'm not certain).

As for SEC Network, it was told to me that there are no specific requirements around the number of times a school has to appear on the network.  Every school appeared once during the first four weeks of the season, but to my knowledge there are no requirements around the network carrying every school in a conference game.

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