Friday, February 3, 2017

Roundup: Notre Dame Night Games, Schedule Changes, Week Zero & C-USA on ESPN3

* I looked over the NASCAR start times for 2017 and NBC appears to have carved out the USC at Notre Dame game for primetime with the Xfinity Series race from Kansas Speedway on NBC in the afternoon.  Don't think this was for airing the football game on NBCSN.  The NASCAR race on NBC looks like it would be preceded by qualifying for the Formula 1 US Grand Prix as I believe the times listed are local to the track, so the football game wouldn't precede NASCAR either.

The rule around Notre Dame having on-campus night games was that there could be three night games over a two year period.  If that clause is still valid, there won't be a second night game as there were two in 2016.  It appears those two year periods are fixed and not rolling periods as 2015 & 2016 would be one game over the limit.

2014: Michigan
2015: Texas & USC
2016: Michigan St. & Stanford

Please note that the Shamrock Series games played at neutral sites do not count towards this rule.

If the rule changed to two night games per year, and right now I don't think it has, my money for the second night game would be on the Georgia game on 9/9 as the NASCAR race from Richmond that same evening is scheduled to air on NBCSN.

* Iowa St. had a pair of schedule changes last week.   Their game at Akron moved back one week to September 16th and the home game vs. Texas moved back two days to Thursday, September 28th.

ESPN is noted in the release, but I think its possible they were called out specifically for the game at Akron, which would be a MAC controlled telecast.  Whether it moves to a Thursday or Friday evening is still a possibility.  As of this moment, there are no Thursday or Friday night games scheduled for that week, but schedules are still being finalized for the American, Mountain West and Sun Belt, plus games from several conferences could be moved if requested.

Here's a hard truth about Iowa St. at Akron and whether you feel its really national TV worthy: The MAC only hosts a few games vs. Power Five schools each year, even if those P5 schools aren't top flight schools competitively.   The MAC didn't have any home games vs. P5 schools in 2016.  In 2017, the number is three with Boston College at Northern Illinois (scheduled for a Friday night) & Kansas at Ohio the other two games.

As for the Texas game, that feels like a move FOX requested.  Since 2013, FS1 has had a Thursday night game the same Saturday they've aired the Truck Series race from Las Vegas Motor Speedway three of the four seasons plus MLB and/or UFC, which limits the number of football games they can air on Saturday.

2013 - Iowa St. at Tulsa (9/26)
2014 - UCLA at Arizona St. (9/27)
2015 - Aired the NWSL final (no MLB game on Saturday)
2016 - Kansas at Texas Tech (9/29)

* The NCAA legislation around playing games the weekend before Labor Day weekend got some work last week.
  • Texas Southern will travel to Florida A&M on 8/26.  Why am I'm pointing this one out?  The press release didn't mention this, but any FCS game played on the Saturday before Labor Day must be for the purpose of national television per new legislation adopted by the NCAA (search for proposal number 2015-80).  ESPN is already televising their FCS Kickoff Classic between Chattanooga & Jacksonville St., so this could be for another ESPN TV platform or another television network as the proposal explicitly disallows FCS games being moved to this date for Internet only broadcasts.
  • Stanford and Rice have officially moved their season opener to August 26th and to Sydney, Australia.  I am checking with the Pac-12 office to see if the Pac-12 has purchased the TV rights to the game as last year's game in Sydney between California and Hawai'i was available to Pac-12 rightsholders.  EDIT: C-USA retained media rights.  Unlike last year, the game will be played on Saturday, August 26th in the U.S., which will translate to Sunday, August 27th locally in Sydney.  I suspect this is due to finalization of proposal 2015-79-FBS, which explicitly calls out the Saturday before Labor Day where last year's game in Sydney was played on a Friday night in the U.S., Saturday afternoon in Sydney.  Could this change?  Maybe, but the marketing for the game has already been created with the Saturday & Sunday language in place.
* There's not a lot of meat behind what I'm about to say, but both Charlotte and Old Dominion added ESPN3 basketball games to their schedule this week and ODU's release about the additional games discussed how their goal this year was to produce their own ESPN3 content.  Last November, Rice acknowledged the same goal.  I think its possible that you'll see more C-USA content, specifically football games, on ESPN3 next season and maybe less of a reliance on the C-USA.TV platform, though it is a small (probably very small) revenue stream for the schools.

EDIT: Updates below

* FS1 & FS2 will have ten ARCA races scheduled for 2017, with one September race falling on a Friday evening (9/22, Chicagoland).  Last year, FS1 aired the USC at Utah game the same evening they had an ARCA race scheduled, though the ARCA race moved over to FS2 after initially being scheduled for FS1.

* Michigan's ticket department seems to have confirmed that the Florida game, being played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, will not be moved off Saturday 9/2, as there were reports that the game could move to Sunday 9/3 (h/t to GodfatherBoS for the tweet below)
If this is truly finalized, I don't know if that means another game is going to move or not.  There are plenty of other games out there that ESPN could request for a date change to Sunday, with the exception of BYU vs. LSU.

No comments: