Monday, December 29, 2014

Thoughts on 2015-16 Bowl Season, A Puzzle for NBCU in September & More

* Assuming the Rose Bowl remains a 2pm PT / 5pm ET start time and that ESPN intends to have an extended pregame leading into the game, either the Fiesta or Sugar will have a pre-noon local time kickoff.   My money would be on the Sugar as it would be closer to noon than the Fiesta, which would be closer to 10am or 10:30am local time.

That said, the Cotton Bowl for several years kicked off at 10:30am local time.  Someone may have to bite the bullet.

* A few calendar related items for next year's bowl schedule:

  • Should start on Saturday December 19th.  The Cure Bowl intends to be the first bowl game played.
  • Expect no bowl games on the December 20th & 27th, plus January 3rd.  These are Sundays where the NFL will be playing.  
  • December 26th and January 2nd could be two Saturdays where a bunch of games are set aside 
  • Both December 21st & 28th should have NFL Monday Night Football, so ESPN may attempt to schedule afternoon bowl games.
Because the college football regular season schedule will play out over one less week compared to 2014, I don't think you'll see ESPN have any situations where a bowl game is scheduled out over the same weekend as their NFL wild card game, unless ESPN elects to stretch out its bowl schedule.

Wouldn't be surprised to see the Sun Bowl be played post-New Years Day on the 2nd either.  Will have to find the article from earlier this year, but it was pointed out that one of the worst attended Sun Bowl games was one the in 1993 played on Christmas Eve.  In my opinion, I believe the game will work with CBS to find out whether they intend to carry any NFL games on 12/26 (they may if there is no Thursday night game on Christmas Eve) and try to stay away from holding their game that day.

* FOX has again elected to showcase the NASCAR Trucks series from Talledega on October 24th, which should fall in the window of the broadcast network's World Series coverage or possibly the tail end of their ALCS coverage as they rotate leagues with Turner Sports.  For college football, this should put all of their CFB coverage that day on FOX Sports 1 if it mirrors what they did in 2014.

* Assuming that ESPN is carrying the South Carolina vs. North Carolina game from Charlotte on ESPN as their opening Thursday night game, and doesn't push the game down to ESPNU for example or go with a doubleheader, that Michigan at Utah opening could be a nice get for FOX Sports 1 if it falls to them, especially with the forthcoming announcement of Jim Harbaugh as the coach at Michigan.

Looking over the current opening night schedule, there is some "wealth" to go around.  Maybe TCU at Minnesota for BTN & Washington at Boise St. for CBSSN or ESPN later in the evening.

* It will be curious to see how Notre Dame football is scheduled around in September for three specific dates:
  • 9/5: Deutsche Bank Championship, NASCAR from Darlington & Texas at Notre Dame - The golf tournament would only be on the 2nd round on Saturday as it has a Monday finish, so that probably stays on Golf Channel.  The NASCAR race is scheduled to be on NBC and probably would air after Texas at Notre Dame.
  • 9/19: BMW Championship & Georgia Tech at Notre Dame - The golf may be split between NBC and Golf Channel, assuming the football game is an afternoon game.
  • 9/26: Tour Championship & Massachusetts at Notre Dame - Same as 9/19
I am unsure if NBC has to wait until the extension of its current contract comes into play to place Notre Dame games on NBCSN.  Both 9/19 and 9/26 have NASCAR Xfinity Series races scheduled for NBCSN.  The Presidents Cup also falls over the same weekend as the Navy at Notre Dame game, but that event is being played in South Korea and could end up being shown as delayed highlights on NBC with live action on Golf Channel.

NBCU CEO Steve Burke has said that USA Network could be in play for some of their sports content.  Maybe this is one of the places it gets used, especially with the English Premier League and Formula 1 racing in season at that time.

No comments: