Wednesday, May 25, 2016

C-USA TV Rights Agreements Announced

Conference USA confirmed its television rights agreements today with the four partners that had been rumored for the past month: ESPN, CBS Sports Network, American Sports Network and beIN Sports.

Here's the particulars for regular season games:

Television Platform Football Men's Basketball
ESPN Networks 5 0
CBS Sports Network 6 6
ASN 15-30 13-59
beIN Sports 10 10

ESPN will carry the conference championship in football while CBS Sports Network gets it in men's basketball.  ASN will have the option to select additional championships to air.

The agreements appear to be for two athletic years (2016-17 & 2017-18) as the press release:
  1. Doesn't mention a term length
  2. Only discusses championships in 2016 & 2017
    1. I'm assuming CBSSN has the 2018 basketball championships
I've been able to confirm from C-USA that each TV partner retained digital rights to the events it will televised, meaning the ASN does have the digital rights to its games.  This lines up with the other three TV partners who have authenticated digital streaming access (WatchESPN, beIN Sports Connect and limited access to watch CBSSN online).  Could Sinclair make an agreement with another party to stream those games?  Sure, but ASN has shown the ability to stream events online before, so it is feasible for them to do so.  Whether they do is another story.
As for why ASN has ranges of the number of events, I assume this is to allow for flexibility with their network and the potential to be more selective in the quality of the events they will air.

What it looks like is that ESPN will have the top choices for football and CBSSN will have them for men's basketball.  CBSSN appears to be second in line for football, though the conference did not confirm any selection orders.  If CBSSN were to be second in line for football, here's are some possibilities for their TV package:

Rice at Western Kentucky (Thursday, 9/1)
Maryland at FIU (Friday, 9/9)
Army at UTEP (Saturday, 9/17)
Louisville at Marshall and/or Vanderbilt at Western Kentucky (Saturday, 9/24)
Western Kentucky at Louisiana Tech (Thursday, 10/6)
Old Dominion at Western Kentucky (Saturday, 10/22)

So where are the digital packages, such as the items that Old Dominion AD Wood Selig alluded to?  The C-USA office says announcements for digital packages will happen at a later time.  When "a later time" exactly is, I don't know.  

Per the TV release, the remainder of the TV schedule will be announced next week.

No comments: