Tuesday, May 17, 2016

C-USA TV Deals Coming Together & Opening Saturday for ESPN and ABC Revealed

* Our long (regional, but this conference takes up a lot of land) nightmare is over it appears.  C-USA, who have taken a longer than usual amount of time finalizing their TV deals for upcoming years, have found their partners.

Three are the usual suspects, per Chuck Landon of the Herald-Dispatch in Huntington, WV.  Per Chuck's information, around 30-40% of the games this season (25-30 games out of 80 C-USA controlled games), will be earmarked for returning partner ESPN (5 games) and existing partners CBS Sports Network (5 games) and the American Sports Network (15-20 games).

What is new is that BeIN Sports will enter the college football marketplace.  I typically know of BeIN through its association with top soccer properties of La Liga (Spain), Serie A (Italy) and Ligue 1 (France), along with picking up MotoGP from FS1 this year and the WTA in starting in 2017.  The network announced at a media presentation on Monday that they would be adding US college sports programming, but did not announce the conference.  Posters from 506Sports.com did some great work and noticed that the ad sales page for BeIN now includes a C-USA logo at the bottom.  Someone also posted BeIN's video pitch and if you go to the 13:30 mark, they discuss college sports highlighting C-USA schools.

No idea on the number of games that BeIN would be airing or any rights fee.  Per Virginian-Pilot writer Harry Minium, C-USA commissioner Judy MacLeod mentioned the conference would have a couple digital partners.  BeIN Sport also provides an authenticated live feed.  I don't have any idea on the production by BeIN Sport games.  As Philly.com sportswriter Jonathan Tannenwald noted, a fair amount of existing BeIN Sport programming is world feed video with announcers either in a studio or provided as part of the video feed.  In other words, they aren't necessarily taking on the cost of producing the events for television themselves.

With UTSA athletics directory Lynn Hickey telling Dallas-Fort Worth alums that the Arizona St. game would be on ESPN2, and Landon's article noting one Marshall game on an ESPN network, possibly the Louisville game on 9/24 or maybe a date change to 9/23, the ESPN schedule might end up being a majority of non-conference games with games such as Baylor at Rice and FIU's two Big Ten opponents (Maryland and Indiana) being available for C-USA TV partners.

* ESPN announced its CFB opening week schedule for both ABC and ESPN, with ESPNU, SEC Network, ESPNEWS and ESPN3 to be announced soon (ESPN2 should have US Open tennis).  Notre Dame at Texas will be on ABC in primetime on Sunday night, and the possibility of College Gameday airing at Lambeau Field is still alive with LSU vs. Wisconsin starting at 3:30pm ET.  Also announced was the opening Thursday night game of South Carolina at Vanderbilt, while the opening Friday game is still to be determined, if there is a game to be aired by their networks.

CBS could end up with the UCLA at Texas A&M game if they are indeed available to sublicense a SEC game from ESPN this particular week.  Games such as Missouri at West Virginia, BYU vs. Arizona and Rutgers at Washington could be earmarked for FOX broadcast network or FS1.


Darrell McKown said...

So much for the idea of FOX having the first selection each week from the Big 12 this year. The highest ratings game of the year just ended up on ABC.

It seems like to me like FOX has done a horrible job of negotiating the weekly selections for both the Big 12 and Pac-12. ESPN will probably pay $150 million/year for the other half of the B1G rights and still get the first selection every week.

Matt Sarzyniak said...

As it was explained to me, FOX in even years, ESPN in odd years, gets first crack at choosing which week they want to choose first, not first every week. I had the Big 12 clarify this for me a while back. They may have prioritize choosing, say, Ohio St.-Oklahoma in week three.

The Showstopper said...

That makes a lot of sense. tOSU-OU will pull in more viewers nationally than UT-ND since Texas is so down right now. IIRC, the Texas Kickoff (OU-UH) has its own selection deal that keeps it on ABC/ESPN. So that's how ABC/ESPN ended up with the 2 marquee Big 12 games in week 1 while Fox will get Mizzou at WVU.