Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Notes on CBSSN sublicense of MAC content from ESPN

MAC release


* First, the Hustle Belt got the MAC commissioner to open up & admit that the potential for national sublicenses was open for '15.

* Next, sublicense deals ususally do not provide more cash to the conference.  Those types of deals are between media partners.  The entity receiving the rights fee continues to receive the same expected fee, but either the sublicensee pays the sublicenser who then pays the entire fee or the sublicensee pays less and the sublicenser makes up the difference.

* The two Thursday night games should come from 10/29 & 11/5.  Each of those nights has two games scheduled for those nights.  CBSSN could pick up one and the other could end up on an ESPN platform.

* For 2015, this would leave ESPN with twelve Tuesday & Wednesday night games.  I assume they will also be televising or webcasting Oklahoma St. at Central Michigan (Thursday 9/3, CBSSN doesn't have the room) and Michigan St. at Western Michigan (Friday 9/4, CBSSN committed to Army game that night).

* CBSSN appears to have an opening to carry a MAC game at 12pm ET on Friday 11/27 as the press release mentioned it would be one of CBSSN's openings.  I do not know if this will supplement a game on ESPNU, who has televised at least one MAC game on Black Friday for several years, or if this will replace that telecast.  There also happens to be three available games from the American Athletic Conference that day.  I don't know if CBSSN intended to have a tripleheader since they have carried some men's basketball events in previous years.

* As for the three Saturday games, again, I don't know if those will be pre-selected or if they will be in-season selections.  Per the MAC's football media contact Ken Mather, television information could be out as early as next week.


* I would not expect Tuesday & Wednesday games to appear on CBSSN in future years.  The MAC has built the MAC-tion brand on ESPN and it would be foolish to give up those unopposed midweek slots to a network in less homes.

* The number of MAC games on CBSSN conveniently goes up as both the Mountain West and C-USA enter the final guaranteed year of their rights agreements with the network.  Because the Mountain West deal has a four year option attached to it, assuming it is available at a decent rate, I think it is most likely to be picked up.  Don't confuse that with CBS declining the option on the MW football championship game.  The contact options are two distinct items.  I wrote about that here, about halfway down in the post.

C-USA is another story and since it isn't a large increase in content, I could envision the MAC replacing C-USA on CBSSN.  Based on the numbers (twelve football & twelve basketball games), it would be roughly a replacement.  In my opinion, CBSSN values the American sublicense more because it resembles the makeup of how C-USA looked in 2010.  I also wrote about future C-USA rightsholders back in January.

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