Thursday, April 9, 2015

MBK Event Scheduling for '15-'16 and Football Championship Game Legislation

* Was going through the college basketball schedule for next year and noticed that both the Gonzaga vs. Pittsburgh from Okinawa, Japan and the Washington vs. Texas game from Shanghai, China will tip off on Friday 11/13/15 in US time zones.  The game from China will be an 11am local start on Saturday in Shanghai which equates to a 10pm ET start.  The start time of the game in Okinawa has not yet been determined, but I would suspect that is will start at 9am(?) locally on Saturday to start at 8pm ET.

The tie-in with ESPN's potential college football games is the following, assuming ESPN carries both games:
  • Whatever college football game ESPN would air likely airs on ESPN2 or ESPNU
    • ESPNU depends on scheduling of games, including "host" rounds of events that ESPN has rights to, like the CBE Classic, etc.
    • ESPN2 could be open for a game like USC at Colorado
    • ESPN usually airs a single NBA game late or skips this Friday completely.
      • I think it is less likely for ESPN2 to pick up an NBA game.  Regular season games air on ESPN with rare exceptions.
* Per an article from Sports Business Journal regarding FOX Sports' move into event management, the Las Vegas Invitational event will be a Friday & Saturday event during the Thanksgiving break.  Having two games on Friday shouldn't be necessarily that surprising as the event was a Thursday & Friday event last year.  The championship round is a bigger deal since it would be on the final full Saturday of the college football season.  Depending how the event is scheduled into FOX's programming schedule, it could lead to potentially one less telecast window on 11/28.

One possibility was alluded to by FOX Sports VP Dan Shell (my emphasis in bold):
Because of our ownership of the event, it gives us the ability to deliver pretty good college basketball content to Fox Sports 1 and potentially Fox Sports 2 without paying for it and, hopefully, making a little bit of money on it.
Do not be surprised if the 3rd place game or the Friday games end up on FS2 as FOX works on their college football schedule for FS1.

* The NCAA will receive legislation in the fall that will potentially allow conferences to determine their own rules for playing a conference championship game in football.  Conferences are currently required to have a minimum of twelve members and there must be round robin play within a division.

The legislation being presented to the NCAA would allow a conference like Big 12, at ten members, to play a game, presumably by taking the top two schools in the standings, or the ACC taking its top two ranked teams vs. taking a division champion. For example, Florida St. could play Clemson instead of Duke if Clemson is ranked higher.

(There was also something regarding the ACC splitting into three divisions and taking the top two division champions.  I don't know if that means Notre Dame would be a full member.  I frankly don't want to know.  I've intentionally stayed away from places where the talk has primarily been realignment rumors.)

Yes, they do have a round robin schedule, which should in theory eliminate the need for a championship if tiebreakers are used to determine "One True Champion".  And, at a high level, schools that would be the power brokers might be less inclined to agree that the game is needed.  From Allen Kenney, founder and editor of Blatant Homerism:

To provide additional context, between those two tweets, Allen listed several of Oklahoma's future non-conference opponents, which provides additional context to the 2nd tweet.  External forces, such as the inability to schedule quality non-conference opponents, could force a school to consider if playing another conference school can help strengthen a resume.

From a financial point of view, I think it is worth having the discussion and requesting some proposals, officially or unofficially, from TV partners and potential hosts, or make the decision to go to a school site host.  Can't hurt from a dollars and cents point of view to ask around.  In terms of the CFP, at worst, the Big 12 champ is playing in the Sugar Bowl in years where both the Sugar and the Big 12 champ is not involved in the playoff.   At best?  A school in the CFP and a second school in the Sugar, again if they are not part of the playoff.

If a seventh ranked school defeating a tenth ranked opponent could put them over the hump on that final weekend, isn't it worth having the discussion, if it already hasn't happened within the context of this potential legislation?  And to be fair and provide a counterpoint, the same scenario can happen without the need for a championship game using smart scheduling techniques, but that regular season game is already bought and paid for where a conference championship game could be an additional revenue stream.

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