Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Roundup: C-USA, Pac-12, MBK Conference Challenge Events

* beIN Sports, it appears inadvertently, announced themselves as a C-USA rightsholder on Monday.  They'll have ten football games, ten men's basketball games and a host of other C-USA events.

A couple other reports have come out regarding C-USA rights over the past ten days.  Here's a recap:
  • Old Dominion AD Wood Selig gushed about a move to ESPN and talked about ESPN3 quite a bit
  • Chuck Landon's report that ESPN and CBS Sports Network would take five games each, then American Sports Network would have 15-20 games.
With beIN Sports taking ten football games, that would cover about half of the games under C-USA control for the 2016 season (35-40 out of 80 games total).  ESPN3, presumably, would cover some portion of the rest.

In terms of linear television, it would be a sharp decrease in the number of televised games compared to 2015 where games aired on FS1, FSN, FOX College Sports, CBSSN and ASN, but that would depend on where you're viewing these games from with some of those networks having limited or no visibility in some parts of the country or requiring an additional package of programming to receive programming from one of those networks, though the same will be required for many to watch beIN Sports, which is on many sports packages and could also require some to purchase an app like Fubo.TV or SlingTV to watch the channel's games.

With the MAC, ESPN3 worked with the schools to upgrade infrastructure, often at the schools' expense.  I'm not sure how many schools have their production equipment up to the standard that ESPN prefers for self produced events.  Couldn't tell you what those standards are because I don't know them.  I do know that Ohio U., Kent St. and Akron were the three schools that did not self-produce home men's basketball for ESPN3, instead sending it through their respective athletics' websites for free.  That could be a bridge for some C-USA schools.

* The Pac-12 announced that they would alter their TV deals with FOX and ESPN to allow for more flexibility with respect to Pac-12 Networks night games, which the conference defined as starting at 7pm local time (9pm or 10pm ET).  Games could start at 2:30pm or 6pm local, allowing for more of a Pac-12 Networks game to overlap a broadcast network game. 

The conference believes it will eliminate about four nighttime windows on Pac-12 Networks, which would cut the number of night game windows by slightly over half when comparing against 2014 & 2015, which had seven Saturday telecast windows in both seasons.

Not affected: Night games for ESPN and FOX Sports, which will still have the ability to air games at 7pm or 7:30pm local time out west.

* Both the ACC-Big Ten and Big 12-SEC Challenge men's basketball events were announced today.  The Big 12-SEC event will again be played on the Saturday in between the NFL's conference championship games and the Super Bowl, while the ACC-Big Ten will be played the week following Thanksgiving.

One minor change from last year: Rutgers will be on the road in both the Gavitt Games and the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, where last year no Big Ten school participating in the Gavitt Games played in either series both games at home or on the road.

* Utah St.'s home game vs. Arkansas St. was moved to a Friday night for a CBS Sports Network telecast.  It is the 23rd selection by CBSSN, which would typically occur after ROOT Sports and Campus Insiders make their selections of Mountain West games, plus whatever Hawai'i games are set aside for airing on Oceanic Cable's pay-per-view package.  I would assume this means that those selections have been made and are ready to be announced, or that both entities told CBSSN and ESPN which games would be released back to them to choose.  Since this also required a date change, that could be the reason why this selection came out earlier than normal.

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