Saturday, June 6, 2015

Big 12 Member Retained Games & FOX's Selection Process and a Roundup on Other Items

* One of the interesting items around the institutionally held game for each Big 12 school is that FOX is the one who makes the decision on which game each school gets to hold.  FOX also holds the institutional rights to six Big 12 schools (Baylor, Kansas St., Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., TCU and Texas Tech), so as they decide their regional schedule, they might decide to leave a game vs. a FCS school as part of the national rightsholder package and give a game back to the school vs. a FBS school.  The institutionally held games are listed here under the Regional Telecasts & Internet Exclusives.

There were three* places where this occurred as part of the initial Big 12 schedule release and two of them involved schools where FOX is also the institutional rights holder (SMU at TCU and Rice at Baylor).   The third, Memphis at Kansas, has institutional rights granted to Time Warner Cable from IMG College and distributed out of market by ESPN3.   The games that ended up as part of the national package were South Dakota St. at Kansas, Lamar at Baylor and Stephen F. Austin at TCU.  Two of the games have been picked up by FSN while the Stephen F. Austin-TCU game waits for its television option (ESPN or FOX platform).

*Both Texas & Oklahoma will play FBS schools as part of their institutional package, but neither plays a FCS school in '15.

While FOX makes the decision, I do wonder if ESPN gets any input and if they do, when (ie. after they've made their top choice for a week?).  TCU and Baylor should be a top ten or top five teams coming into the year and if ESPN was interested in spending a Big 12 pick on one of these games (and they may not be), do they have the ability to provide notice to their intention of selecting one?  Otherwise, it could be interpreted as FOX gaming the system to their benefit as many of the institutional games on FSN are not limited to FOX Sports Southwest, for example, but are provided to any FOX affiliated RSN who has the space to air the game.  ESPN wouldn't be very likely to show a FBS vs. FCS game on one of their national platforms, though they have when they've involved SEC schools, but when you have nineteen Big 12 selections to use, you also don't want to waste one on a game that isn't going to be very competitive.

* As MAC media guy Ken Mather mentioned on the day of the CBSSN announcement, they are hopeful to announce more television and start time information this coming week, presumably with ESPN.  Whether that applies to other conferences who have not fully released early season & special date telecast information (American, Big Ten, Big 12(?), SEC & Sun Belt), I don't know.

* One notable item regarding the new MAC sublicensing agreement with CBS Sports Network and the rights that the network currently has for Navy home football games is that both will expire at the same time.  At that point after the 2018 season, CBSSN would in theory have eighteen open football telecast windows to discuss with ESPN potentially for any alterations to their sublicense agreements for the MAC or American Athletic Conference, or potentially market to any other conference that has an upcoming rights agreement expiring.

* A couple items on the MW and C-USA, because people have asked:

  • CBS did pick up their four year option on the Mountain West rights they hold that primarily air on CBS Sports Network.  I don't know when they did this.  For all I know the option was picked up in 2013 after it was announced that Boise St. and San Diego St. were going to remain in the conference, or it could have been picked up when CBS declined to pick up the football conference championship game under a separate contract.
  • The Charleston Gazette had a note about the ongoing C-USA rights negotiations.  I did ask the C-USA office who was allowed to negotiate for the conference's football championship game.  The game, as you may know, was part of FOX's rights agreement, but provided to ESPN to settle a lawsuit between the conference and the network.  My question to them involved whether ESPN's agreement with FOX was a sublicense or if they were the primary rightsholder and had the right of first offer / first refusal on the game.   The conference did respond, but declined to provide a comment due to ongoing negotiations.

1 comment:

G5 Writer said...

Great stuff Matt. We just did a podcast on the Conference USA tv contract issues. Will be interesting to see if Fox places bench mark tools in the next Conference USA contract which would allow them to low ball the conference with incentives built in to raise monetary payout. I think CBS is all but finished with Conference USA. I think the Sinclair tv deal has opened the door for CBS to demand very low payments. CBS seems to be placing their bets on the MAC and the AAC.
Sean (G5 writer)