Friday, June 2, 2017

Additional Look at FOX College Football Schedule Release

Since FOX sends out a release that details out the when and where of their entire college football schedule, which usually has a few alterations when needed, it does allow for the entire schedule to get a look at.  Unfortunately, ESPN has not published a giant release with all their openings throughout the year in a few years, and frankly with the amount of games and channel space they have to fill and are solely devoted to college football most Saturdays, trying to do any "analysis" is a bit moot compared to FOX Sports where the number of games are more fixed and there are other events to work around, such as NASCAR, UFC and MLB postseason.

Here we go...

* Using the release, I do have a bit of a math discrepancy that I'm trying to resolve as I count one more telecast window than they have games available to televise.

With 64 regular season Big 12 games and not counting the conference championship game, after removing 33 games (ESPN's maximum 23 & 10 member retained games, including Tulsa at Oklahoma St.), FOX Sports should have 31 Big 12 games.  When that gets added to 25 Big Ten and 22 Pac-12 games, the total number of telecast windows for these three conferences should be 78 games.

After counting up telecast windows on FOX Sports outlets, removing the Big 12 member retained games on FSN and FS1 and conference championship games, I come up with 79 telecast windows:
  • 31 on FOX
  • 39 on FS1
    • 9 weeknight & Black Friday games, once again excluding Tulsa-Oklahoma St.
    • 30 on Saturday
  • 7 on FSN
    • Excluding these Big 12 member retained games: Eastern Washington at Texas Tech, UTSA at Baylor & Jackson St. at TCU
  • 1 on FS2
  • 1 on either FS1 or FS2
Maybe one of the FSN telecasts or the "swing" FS1/FS2 window disappears, or the ESPN Big 12 game count won't hit the maximum of 23 games, pushing another game into FOX Sports's Big 12 package.

* After the Big Ten released the start times for their homecoming games, I tried to match up which games FOX Sports couldn't carry based on the released start times for their college football schedule.  Each should be available for ESPN's platforms and BTN.
  • Both 9/23 games would only be available for FOX broadcast network with FS1's windows currently at 3pm, unless these games could be moved up 30 miuntes.  Currently, their start times are 3:30pm or 4pm ET.
  • Michigan at Indiana on 10/14 is only available to FS1 due to FOX clearing out their schedule that day for what appears to be the ALCS.  At that hour, the conflicting programming on FOX is a NASCAR Truck Series race.
  • On 10/28, since FOX has only three windows across the broadcast network & FS1 and Penn St. at Ohio St. is already scheduled for FOX at 3:30pm ET, it is highly possible that neither Rutgers at Maryland, Wisconsin at Illinois or Indiana at Maryland air on FOX or FS1
    • The first two are 12pm ET starts.  FOX is not scheduled to carry a game at that time and FS1's first window does not start until 3pm due to a NASCAR Truck Series race.
    • Similar to the 9/23 games, unless Rutgers at Maryland can move up to 3pm, it will not be available to FS1.  
* With three scheduled Big 12 controlled FS1 games to start the year, including Tulsa at Oklahoma St. which does count toward meeting FS1's Big 12 minimums, three more Big 12 games have to appear on FS1 during the course of the season.  Similarly, with two FOX broadcast network games scheduled, four more will need to air on FOX.  

Bedlam (Oklahoma at Oklahoma St.) will fall into one of the two categories once it is slotted.

* With four Pac-12 games on FOX, they've already scheduled half of their required games for the season.  Three of those four are primetime games too, so they only need one more primetime game out of the minimum four remaining to be scheduled.

* Overall, 16 of FOX Sports's 22 Pac-12 telecast windows are accounted for and there's something to be deduced from that.
  • Four already scheduled for the broadcast network
  • Six FS1 selections used on weeknights, special dates and early season Saturdays
  • Per FOX's schedule release, six Saturday FS1 in-season selections to start between 10pm & 11pm ET
With FOX required to air at least four more games on the broadcast network, there are two remaining windows that are "wildcards" and can air on either network at any time.

* One item I picked up on was that some portion of the Las Vegas Invitational, scheduled to air on FS1 on November 23th & 24th appears to be headed to either FS2 or FSN.  With FS1 scheduled to carry football games on Friday the 24th with telecast windows at 12pm, 4pm and 10:30pm ET, it appears that the event will have a window at 8pm, but the 10:30pm game would be on another outlet.  What could occur is FOX prioritize the championship game on Friday for FS1 & move the 3rd place game on either FS2 or FSN.


daniel anderson said...

Why does FOX need to clear the schedule for the ALCS? Also October 7, 7 games for FOX? that's a lot.

Matt Sarzyniak said...

I believe they need to clear the whole day, or at least after the NASCAR race scheduled for FOX at 1pm, because the ALCS game could either be mid-afternoon or primetime, depending on how MLB shapes the postseason schedule.

Hokie Mark said...

Are Big Ten, Big XII and Pac-12 teams now going to have to try to avoid scheduling non-conference home games during the MLB World Series now? It's crazy how the first 3 weeks has worked out, with FCS games on OTA while some better games are relegated to FS-2...

Matt Sarzyniak said...

For the most part, those three conferences rarely schedule non-conference home games after September, with Notre Dame or BYU as the exceptions.

I'm missing where there's a FCS game on an over-the-air network, unless you're referring to Furman-NC State being picked up for Raycom syndication, which happens occasionally by them.

ECU-WVU being on FS2 is due to the Walker Cup schedule & its the only one. It is what it is.

arc727 said...

I'm surprised FOX is getting Bedlam again this year. I guess that means ABC/ESPN passed on it since this year they get the choice of which weeks they want to pick first. Seems surprising. But since the Red River Showdown has not been listed on FOX, I'm guessing that match-up probably goes back to ABC.

Serge said...

Matt, RE: Big XII game windows on FOX, was Liberty @ Baylor the missing link?

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Nope. Add one window to FOX's total. Now two off.

31 on FOX (no conference champ games included)
39 on FS1 (this excludes Tulsa-OKSt as its member retained)
7 on FSN
2 on FS2
1 FS1 or FS2 = 80

80 - 25 Big Ten (expected(?)) - 22 Pac-12 = 33 Big 12 in theory

64 regular season Big 12 - 10 member retained - 23 Big 12 for ESPN = 31 for FOX Sports

Two too many*

*See tweet re: BTN 40 number.

Serge said...

Then the devil might be in the member-retained games. You keep discounting them from the total, but IIRC at least five schools are FOX-affiliated (off the top of my head: Baylor, OK, OK State, TCU and TX Tech)... maybe a couple of those games will filter through FOX's schedule...

Or not.

BTW, in my simulations, I have 27 Big XII games on FOX/FS1/FS2 (including OK State-Tulsa), plus 25 B1G and 22 Pac-12 contests to fill all 74 announced windows... Although I shamefully accept I only have 22 games available for ESPN (including the LHN-bound Kansas @ UT)...

Matt Sarzyniak said...

I'm confused on your point on the member retained games. If they "filter through", you have to count the TV window the game is played in too, so both counts incrememnt by one. When I'm excluding Tulsa-Oklahoma St., I'm also excluding the window its being played in.

If I include Tulsa-Oklahoma St. lowering the member retained count to nine, the TV window count then goes to 81 total, leaving 34 Big 12 games (81 - 25 - 22). From there, 64 Big 12 regular season games - 9 member retained - 23 ESPN = 32 available to FOX Sports. Still two over on the window count or two too many on the ESPN side, maybe.

I don't disagree with your count on the FOX, FS1 and FS2 totals on the surface, whether Tulsa-Oklahoma St. is included or not. The seven "national package" FSN windows I'm counting are Charlotte-Kansas St., CMU-KU, ASU-Texas Tech and four TBA windows. EWU-Texas Tech, UTSA-Baylor, Jackson St.-TCU and Tulane-Oklahoma are member retained based on the Big 12 noting that they left off member retained games from their original release with the exception of Tulsa-Oklahoma St.

Let's let the season play out.

Serge said...

I see your point RE: Big XII.

I'll try to run a simulation this weekend, assigning available games to published windows to see if I can come up with a solution.

The most expendable windows on the FOX schedule are the FSN ones (plus maybe the swing FS1/2 in October); FOX + FS1 look pretty set (especially the latter, with legacy events surrounding FS1's sched). Like you said, maybe they'll chop off a late FSN window if/when they run out of games... ESPN's slate of 23 looks solid to me, too...

It's a fun exercise...