Saturday, May 7, 2016

Roundup: Foster Farms Bowl, C-USA Rights and other items

* ESPN released their bowl game schedule for the 2016-17 bowl season and one notable absence was the Foster Farms Bowl, played at Levi's Stadium the past couple years between the Big Ten and the Pac-12.  When the Football Bowl Association released their schedule of games, it was listed as TBA. Here's what I've been able to confirm.

1) The bowl game's communications director confirmed that the game will be played & is certified, but that the date, time and TV network were "to be announced" but would be announced soon.  I checked the Levi's Stadium, AT&T Park and Coliseum websites for their events lists, but none of them list the game at this time (let's assume it's staying at Levi's Stadium).  The same person who manages communications for the Foster Farms Bowl is also the head of communications for the entire Football Bowl Association, Mr. Doug Kelly.

2) ESPN politely declined comment on the status of the bowl game on their networks, pointing to the schedule they released.

Furthermore, the AP's Ralph Russo hinted that the bowl game had some news coming.
What I draw from all of that is ESPN is not going to televise the game, but that someone else will.  Most bowls had TV contracts running for six years to cover half of the current CFP cycle, but I don't know the status of the Foster Farms Bowl as to whether its contract was up or not.  It is also feasible that the bowl has changed over with respect to the operators / organizers.  If it has changed over to new owners, those new owners may have elected to cancel or buy out the existing TV deal if it had any remaining years or start fresh and seek new TV partners.

With the news of FOX Sports allegedly agreeing to the parameters of a rights deal for a portion of what is available from the Big Ten, being a partial rightsholder to the Pac-12, getting into the events management game with two Las Vegas college basketball events, and working to increase their presence in the area of marketing rights with several schools, FOX buying into the event would not stun me and placing it on their broadcast network or FS1.

It isn't out of the realm of possibility that someone else like NBC, Turner, CBS(SN) or Sinclair's American Sports Network has bought the TV rights either.  For example, NBCSN televised the Medal of Honor Bowl all-star game, which was being converted into a traditional bowl game until a moratorium was placed on the creation of new bowl games.  Charleston had been working on establishing a bowl game in since 2013 which NBCSN had intended to televise.  So stay tuned.

* Conference USA is expected to announce its football telecast schedule, or at least a portion of it, sometime this month.  One of the items that did come out through a roadshow that UTSA athletics was doing for alumni groups was that, at the tour stop in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, UTSA's AD Lynn Hickey telling the crowd that the Arizona St. game on Friday, September 16th would be on ESPN2, which seems to confirm reports out there that ESPN was working to bring the rights of the conference back into the fold and that FOX either declined to bid or passed on matching the bid that ESPN offered.
* The D1Ticker news service had me on for their 1 Question feature last Sunday & Monday discussing trends in college sports broadcasting if you'd like to listen to it.  On Sunday I touched on the Big Ten, Big 12 and C-USA from a television standpoint.  Monday's question involved trends to look at for the upcoming season and why I started doing all of this.

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