Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Notable Men's Basketball Television & Webcast Changes

2015-16 Schedule
Week 1

* With the focus on more webcasts, I'm listing as many free webcasts as possible.  This was the impetus for changing the navigation at the top of the schedule pages, which I've made as many modifications for to keep the page loading time normal, to allow you to change time zone or remove web exclusive games in the middle of the page, and to account for increasing mobile traffic.

Some items to help you when viewing the pages:
  • If you're just looking for your favorite school's game(s), use the browser's Find command
  • Consider clicking on the "Hide Web Exclusive Games".  It will cut down your scroll.
  • Any game listed with the ESPN College Extra logo in the Coverage Notes area is also available on ESPN3.
  • To cut down on the load times of the pages, I'm not listing WatchESPN, FOX Sports Go or NBC Sports Live Extra on games that they would apply to.  For example, I'm going to trust you are aware that a game on FS1 or FS2 is on FSGo.  Same with an ESPN game on WatchESPN.
  • I fear that compiling the additional free streams will take up a lot of time.  I have tried to get as much of a head start on them as possible.  I will do my best to have these ready a few days before a week would start.
Thank you for your patience.

* To view these free online webcasts, Chromecast, Roku and Apple TV are a must.  Apps like LiveStream (WCC, Patriot League, MW), Youtube and ESPN3.  Conferences like the OVC have launched Roku channels while ESPN maintains Roku portals for several other conferences.

* Multiple conferences and individual schools have joined in with ESPN's University Production Initiative.  UNC Greensboro invested in a production trailer.  Canisius, my alma mater, put together a studio & new major for ESPN3 productions.  The SoCon & MVC will have many self produced games outside of those being nationally & regionally televised and the Sun Belt is going to ramp up.  Nine MAC schools will self produce the majority of their home basketball games.

* CBS Sports Network is deepening its sublicensing ties with ESPN, picking up games from the MAC and Missouri Valley Conference.  For 2015-16, the MAC package is a bit limited (seven games) but will expand next year (up to twelve games).  For the MVC it includes the semifinals of the conference tournament and lines up with CBS taking on the championship game from ESPN.  The two conferences join the American as a sublicense partner from ESPN.

* In addition to the CBSSN sublicenses, Sinclair's American Sports Network is also picking up MAC & American content from ESPN.  Similar to other ASN sublicenses from ESPN, the games will be webcast on ESPN3.  ASN has also picked up the rights to the Barclays Center Classic, previously carried by NBCSN, along with the Music City Challenge event.  They'll also have a pair of games at the beginning of the Atlantic 10 tournament in addition to their C-USA tournament coverage.  

* As previously announced, FOX has elevated the Big East championship game to the broadcast network with an early evening start time.  FS1 has also picked up a few Ivy League telecasts.

* For conference tournaments, the Horizon League's move to a neutral site tournament in Detroit has allowed the semifinal round to move to a Monday night, with both games airing live on ESPNU. And while it isn't a tournament, FS1 has landed the rights to a potential Ivy League playoff if it is needed.

* Pac-12 Networks will again do whiparound coverage of the opening night of games on their networks through their national feed starting at 7pm ET.  If you want to see individual games in full, use your online access or go to the RSN channels.  It also appears that men's basketball games will be shown on the national feed (if there are not multiple games going on at the same time) & the corresponding RSN feed where a school resides only, so a game involving Arizona will not be shown on the Rocky Mountain RSN for example, unless they are facing Utah or Colorado.

* Similar to last season, ESPN is going with wildcards for the basketball version of College Gameday.  The setup looks like this for potential games, but it is always subject to change based on in-season results:

1/24: Arizona at California, Vanderbilt at Kentucky or Maryland at Michigan St.
1/31: Iowa St. at Texas A&M, Oklahoma at LSU or Kentucky at Kansas
2/6: NC State at Duke or North Carolina at Notre Dame
2/13: Virginia at Duke or Texas at Iowa St.
2/20: Kentucky at Tennessee, Purdue at Indiana or Connecticut at Cincinnati

On the final two Saturdays of the regular season (2/27 & 3/5), all games scheduled for ESPN or ESPN2 will remain without tip times until about two weeks until before game date, which is the same as last year.

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