Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Big 12 & Pac-12 TV Selections Notes

The Big 12 and Pac-12 announced their early season & special date television schedules for the 2016 season.  These two conferences are typically packaged together when announced because they share a pair of common rightsholders, ESPN and FOX Sports.

If you want to see how games are slotted by network, take a look at this Google Sheets document and here's the schedule by week.

Big 12
FOX picked up both the Red River Rivalry, which will air on FS1 on 10/8 at a time to be determined, and Ohio St. at Oklahoma on September 17th.  Hey, FS1 has to try to provide some value to their network and I guess this is how they're going to try to deliver.  Its possible, though not guaranteed, that the game could be used as a lead-in to a NL Division Series game if FOX has one available that day and doesn't send it over to MLB Network.

Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman brought this important tidbit as to how FOX got the RRR:
And from Kirk Bohls, also of the AAS:
A case could easily be made that FOX ended up with the first selection in week three, plus week six, where ESPN had the opening weekend's top choice, selecting Notre Dame at Texas, and in week two where Arkansas at TCU will be on ESPN or ESPN2 in the evening.  FOX will also carry all three Big 12 games on December 3rd, the final Saturday of the regular season (excluding Army-Navy).

FOX and ESPN split the Black Friday games with Baylor vs. Texas Tech from Jerry's World on ESPN and TCU at Texas on either FOX or FS1.  If TCU at Texas airs on FOX, it will be their first Big 12 Black Friday game.  They also split the Thursday night games with Kansas at Texas Tech on FS1 and Oklahoma at Iowa St. on ESPN.

There were no real surprises in the games FOX set aside for the schools as the schools' "member retained" game:

Northwestern St. at Baylor (moved to Fri 9/2, FSN)
Southeastern Louisiana at Oklahoma St. (FSN)
Rhode Island at Kansas (Jayhawk TV)
South Dakota St. at TCU (FSN)
Stephen F. Austin at Texas Tech (FSN)
Northern Iowa at Iowa St. (Cyclones.TV)

UTEP at Texas (LHN)
Youngstown St. at West Virginia (???, more on that one)
UL Monroe at Oklahoma (Sooner Sports PPV)

Missouri St. at Kansas St. (K-StateHD.TV)

Starting this season, ESPN has up to 23 selections to use and has used six so far.  Remember, Iowa St. at Texas, which will air on both Longhorn Network and Cyclones.TV, counts here as UTEP at Texas was UT's member retained game.

With the Big 12 offering their TV partners 67 total games, subtracting the ten member retained games leaves us with 57 games.  FOX has a total of 56 games telecast windows (17 broadcast network, 33 on FS1 & six on FSN, again excluding Big 12 member retained games.).  Accounting for 22 Pac-12 windows, 34 would remain for FOX to fill with Big 12 games.  The remaining number of 34 games coupled with ESPN's maximum of 23 games lines up with the total number of games available to national partners of 57 games.

Based on the FOX release for their schedule, besides the Ohio St.-Oklahoma game, the Big 12 should also fill the 12pm window on 10/29 plus 12/3, so they'll need to have at least three more games on the broadcast network to fulfill their minimum required number of broadcast network telecasts.  On the FS1 side, they'll have fifteen guaranteed telecast windows, occupying eleven 12pm telecast windows, the 3:30pm window on 9/10 (SMU at Baylor), the Red River Rivalry on 10/8 (time TBD) and the 3:30pm window on 12/3.

Why WVU doesn't have a telecast option yet for the Youngstown St. game is something I cannot answer.  I believe they still have a deal with West Virginia Media Holdings which had farmed out portions of the rights to ROOT Sports Pittsburgh, who has a Pirates game that night, but would not interfere with a 2pm start for the Mountaineers.  Could be much ado about nothing though.

For me, I was surprised there was no announcement regarding a carrier for the Hawai'i vs. California game from Sydney on 8/26, but looking back at it, I can potentially understand why nothing has been announced:
  • If the rights to the game are owned by the Pac-12 as expected, would selecting this game have counted towards FOX or ESPN's 22 respective selections?  If so, do I really want to send a production crew clear across the world for a game that may not be that appealing?   
  • If the Pac-12 Network was stuck with this game, I can't see how it will go over positively for Larry Scott.  Now, if they have the ability to sell the game telecast independently of their TV deals, or sublicense it, maybe it is worthwhile for someone else.
Looking over the Pac-12 Networks schedule, you can see they are indeed programming telecast windows to overlap each other, so you'll need some way to stream a regional network or pony up for the regional feeds if they are't in the TV package you subscribe to, which they alluded to in their release:
...all games will be carried on Pac-12 Network and the Pac-12 Network regional carrier in the home team’s market.
Two windows are set up as three hour telecast windows, which admittedly are often a joke because most games, anecdotally, run at least three hours and fifteen minutes and most often that not, three hours and thirty minutes.  Also, the early portion of the season is where there is more of a tightly compacted schedule due to the number of games, plus guidelines that the Arizona schools play only night games early in the year, so these weeks also aren't good examples of the new TV scheduling guidelines for the Pac-12 Networks with respect to start times.

Similar to the Big 12, FOX and ESPN split the weeknight games with five each.  ESPN came away with four Friday games and one Thursday game while FOX took three Friday games and two Thursday games.  While FOX will air either the Apple Cup & Texas at TCU at the same time (one on FS1, one on FOX), ESPN chose a doubleheader with Baylor vs. Texas Tech followed by the Territorial Cup.

FOX has fourteen remaining selections to use, three of which will be used on FS1 telecast windows starting after 10pm ET on 10/8, 10/29 and 11/12.  ESPN also has fourteen remaining selections.

On the FOX side of the house, at least nine games will air on FS1 of a maximum of fourteen games, counting four Thursday & Friday night games (Kansas St. at Stanford, USC at Utah, UCLA at Colorado & Utah at Arizona St.) and five Saturday late evening games & windows (BYU vs. Arizona, Texas Tech at Arizona St. & late windows on 10/8, 10/29 & 11/12).  With BYU at Utah on the broadcast network, at least another seven games will need to be selected during the season.  For ESPN, the USC at Stanford game on ABC at 8pm counts as their required Pac-12 primetime / 5pm PT game, meaning they have flexibility for the rest of the season regarding the timeslot they can air their other ABC game.


arc727 said...

Question about the Big 12: I thought starting this year and in even years, FOX got the first pick for games? If so, then I'm confused how ESPN got the first pick for ND-Texas and apparently TCU-Arkansas?

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Thought that was the case too until I got further clarity, along with the Big 12 further clarifying it. FOX had the first choice when it came to choosing which weeks it wanted to pick first, not first pick each week.

From here

Q. Draft process for selection rights?
A. ABC/ESPN and FOX have established a process and order for selecting games. ABC/ESPN maintains some top priority selections through the 2015 season. However, the two partners established a draft whereby they determined which weekends they select first, second and/or third. Starting in 2016, ABC/ESPN and FOX will have alternating picks with FOX selecting first in even years and ABC/EPSN picking first in odd years.

arc727 said...

OK, that makes sense. Definitely thought it meant first pick each week for FOX or ESPN, but this clarifies that's not the case. Thanks!