Friday, May 29, 2015

Roundup: SEC on CBS, American Early Season Selections, US Open Tennis(?) and Bowl Games

Updated American controlled schedule
Updated SEC controlled schedule

* It was a bit of a surprise to see CBS announce that they would be airing the Chick-Fil-A Classic.  For me it was more because that game, and the Georgia at Vanderbilt game on 9/12, were part of a sublicense agreement with ESPN.  I didn't necessarily see the need for ESPN to sublicense games on 9/5, but more on that below.

Two items I checked in on.  Only one of them I was able to get an answer for:

1) It is unclear whether this is a one time deal to sublicense games to CBS, if it is a multi year deal or renewable / a deal with options to extend.  When I asked multiple parties involved, they could not comment.

2) The two games will not count towards any appearance maximums that CBS has in its contract with the SEC because they are sublicensed from ESPN's pool of games.  This is important as the season progresses.  For example, Auburn is currently credited with one appearance on CBS, vs. LSU, instead of two when counting the Chick-Fil-A game vs. Louisville.  This is per SEC football media contact Chuck Dunlap:
CBS had the ability to choose the Chick-Fil-A game on their own per TV contract details unearthed by FBSchedules (see the middle of the post).  I don't know if any of the following scenarios are the reason for CBS sublicensing the games:
  1. CBS wanted a SEC game every week now that they don't carry the US Open, or specifically wanted the Chick-Fil-A game, and didn't want to give up a doubleheader or Black Friday to do it.
  2. Contract language in CBS's deal spells out when their coverage starts every year.
Also, I don't think CBS had a "choice" per se with respect to at least one of the games.  I can't say that if I had the options of Oklahoma at Tennessee or LSU at Mississippi St. that I would bypass them to choose Georgia at Vanderbilt, especially if they don't count towards an appearance for Tennessee, LSU or Mississippi St.  I would guess that CBS "picked" third if the games were ranked in a particular order or if CBS wanted the Chick-Fil-A game, they had to take a secondary game on 9/12 as part of the sublicense agreement.

* So where are ESPN's game times in all of this?  They released all early season start times as part of their ACC release, but nothing was released from the SEC yesterday and the American's release on Wednesday was missing four games, all games that appear to be earmarked for some TV outlet.  Granted they could be announced today (SEC spring meetings end today) or as part of an all-encompassing ESPN release, so its nothing to set off alarm bells about. 

Something may be up with respect to ESPN's US Open coverage though.  Sports Video Group reported that Tennis Channel declined an offer to sublicense portions of ESPN's US Open rights, particularly the evening rights on 9/5 and 9/6.  That could have been part of the reason why a deal was made with CBS for the SEC games, which would have a tinge of irony in it since CBS didn't air SEC games the first two weeks of the college football season most years...because they televised the US Open on Saturday afternoons.

In any case, if ESPN is trying to finalize their US Open coverage or any third party agreements, that could hold up additional TV announcements temporarily.  At least hold up the ones for games that are more likely to air on television outlets.

* A couple quick hitters:
  • The American's football championship game will air on ABC or ESPN at 12pm ET on 12/5/15.  The interesting part of the tiebreaker is that better overall regular season records will be used if two division champs do not play each other and have equal conference records.  I assume that this means winning percentage will be used as Navy will not have played their final regular season game until after the American title game, if Navy were to be one of the two schools involved.  I'm pretty sure C-USA's tiebreaker spells out that winning percentage will be used.
  • The bowl schedule is starting to fill out.  One of the newly certified bowl games that won't be played is the Austin bowl game.  There's some interesting comments regarding trying to gauge bowl game attrition, so take that for what its worth.

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