Thursday, June 1, 2017

Notes From An Avalanche of Kickoff Time Announcements

3pm ET hit Wednesday and it was kinda like a perpetual Ice Bucket Challenge that you didn't have control of the buckets, nor passing off the challenge to someone else.  Here's a few of the items that I and others took notice of, along with the CBS release from the day before.

Here's the opening three weeks if you'd like to immerse yourself there to start

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3

Tulsa at Oklahoma St. was a member retained game & can air on FS1? In my opinion, this may come down to the combination of the Cowboys' schedule, as the Tulsa game is their only home non-conference game, and a desire by FOX, who makes the choices on the member retained games in the Big 12, to not choose an intraconference game.  I suppose the game could have aired on FSN but there are a handful of MLB games that evening, including a Rangers game and FOX Sports Southwest / Oklahoma would be the primary outlet for this game.

It is my understanding that since it is airing on FS1, it can be counted towards the minimum of six Big 12 games on a national cable network even though it is a member retained game.  A unique situation.

Did I read correctly that the Pac-12 Championship will be on a Friday on ABC or ESPN?  That's how I read the schedule and press release too.  The game was missing from ESPN's release for some reason, but the conference made it known as part of theirs.  Meanwhile, the MAC title game has now moved to Saturday.

Any idea why the Big 12 title game doesn't have a date set yet? It could be coming as part of spring meetings or at the Big 12 media days in July, but the conference may have its championship game on a Friday, which I guess would line up with the Pac-12 as those two games rotate TV partners each season between FOX and ESPN.

They really chose Portland St. at BYU to air on ESPN? Yep.  Their call, but when you add that game to the Wisconsin game on either ABC or ESPN and the Boise St. game on ESPN, they've met their three game minimum of BYU home games on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.  This frees up either of the Utah & San Jose St. games to air on ESPNU, which is another requirement of their agreement.

Also, BYUtv took the UMass game, so that requirement has been fulfilled.

And FOX really chose Montana St. at Washington St. for FS1? I guess, but they probably got in on Texas A&M at UCLA as the top choice and with ESPN not taking a Pac-12 game the opening week, FOX was probably committed to taking a Pac-12 game & it ended up being that one on the back end.

Fun fact: FOX cable networks FS1 and F/X have ended up with three FCS vs. Pac-12 games so far during the current TV contract (2012: Portland St. at Washington, 2013: Nicholls St. at Oregon) .  ESPN has not had any yet.

Did Pac-12 Networks really short window a game in Week One to 2 hr, 45 minutes?  Yep.  Consider the Pac-12 Networks' National feed the "whiparound" feed for the purposes of joining games a little late & use the regional and online feeds to see the games in full.

Penn St. at Ohio St. isn't a night game? When the question was posed to me by multiple people, I had not read any of the releases in any great detail with respect to context.  But as several of you pointed out, FOX should be in the middle of their World Series coverage on October 28th and that is the priority.

You should also note that FOX broadcast network has no college football scheduled for October 14th and that October 21st has a night game scheduled for either FS1 or FS2.  My expectation is ALCS Game 1 or 2 can air in the evening on the 14th on the broadcast network and the football game on the 21st can be moved to FS2 with short notice if the ALCS goes to six or seven games.

I've typically believed that this particular window, not the matchup itself, should be at 12pm to guard against the possibility of weather impacting the start of the game, which it has in the past, pushing FOX to move games, say, to FOX News.

Hey! FS2 has East Carolina at West Virginia on September 9th.  Why? Surprise! Seriously though, due to FS1's coverage of the Walker Cup plus UFC prelims, the space they had to carry games that day is extremely limited.  My expectation for the possible FS2 game on 10/21 is that it will be a Big 12 game, probably the last of five selections that day, and if FS1 had more room on 9/9, it would be carrying this one.

So CBS didn't take a Week One game, but took TCU at Arkansas and now has a third doubleheader?  Yes.  It looks like CBS has a bit of freedom as to the weeks when they sublicense games from ESPN.  I'm in process of trying to figure out which games or telecast windows are the sublicenses.  TCU at Arkansas might be one and I am under the assumption that the second one is one of the two 12pm ET windows on November 11th or 18th.  For their usual 12pm & 3:30pm doubleheader, CBS picks 1st (3:30pm) & 4th (12pm) so it would make sense to do the same on the new doubleheader.

Besides the BTN and SEC Network games that haven't been announced, there were no start times or TV set for FIU at UCF, Liberty at Baylor and Cincinnati at Miami (OH).  Any idea why?  For the first two, I believe there might be some work being done to not play those games in the extreme heat of 12pm ET.  That's the current openings available on CBS Sports Network, who doesn't have an AAC game on 9/2, and FSN, respectively.  UCF says things will be finalized in the next two weeks, so maybe there's a date change in process to get out of the heat.

Baylor also says they Liberty game will be finalized in the near future.  The UTSA game appears to be the Bears' member retained game, so Liberty looks to be part of one TV partner's national package, probably FOX Sports.

As for Cincinnati at Miami (OH), I'm assuming there is no sublicense to STADIUM going forward, so maybe this one will end up on BCSN & Spectrum Sports.

Side note: If UCF truly is trying to stay out of the heat - USF, what are you doing with a 4pm kickoff on Labor Day weekend for an ESPN3 game?

STADIUM! You've brought that up before.  No C-USA announcement as to their games? Not yet, but I'm told they have a presentation for advertisers & media next week, so hold tight.

Any other fun facts?
  • Remaining Pac-12 in-season selections
    • ESPN: 14
    • FOX Sports: 12
  • Remaining Big 12 in-season selections
    • ESPN: 19
      • Maximum of 23 games for the season
      • Kansas-Texas on Longhorn Network counts as a ESPN selection
    • FOX Sports: 22
      • After subtracting one game per school as member retained games & the conference championship, FOX Sports will have 31 Big 12 games as part of their national package
      • For now, since it was listed as member retained, Tulsa-Oklahoma St. is not part of the 31.
  • Remaining Big Ten in-season selections, assuming 25 selections each for ESPN & FOX Sports
    • ESPN: 15
    • FOX Sports: 15
    • BTN will have 45 games to air, assuming there isn't another partner to be announced.


Serge said...

Matt, I count 98 B1G-controlled games, which means 48 games on BTN... Could you please verify this? Thanks!

Matt Sarzyniak said...

I found one mislabeled game on my end, so I have 96 total, 95 without the conference championship game. I have been told the only neutral site non-conference game that goes to under Big Ten control is the Louisville-Purdue game. All the others, like Florida vs. Michigan, seem to have some unique contractual language to them even with Florida as the "home" team to allow the game on ABC.

Serge said...

95 B1G-controlled games is correct, my FPU is faulty tonight...

arc727 said...

I'm guessing the Oklahoma at Ohio State game is B1G controlled, right? Now that the B1G has an agreement with FOX, do they use a draft process like the Big 12? Basically I'm wondering how ABC got this game...I would assume they had the first overall pick for this week. I know FOX had this match-up last year, but I would think if FOX had first pick this year they could have picked it up again.

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Yes, they (ESPN, Fox, maybe BTN but unsure on that) draft the weeks they want to pick first, second, etc.

Take a listen to the last Audible podcast where Fox's scheduler runs through a general guideline of selection process

Unknown said...


I found it strange that some Big Ten games in Weeks 1-3 were not announced, like Eastern Michigan at Rutgers, FAU at Wisconsin, Air Force at Michigan, and Bowling Green at Northwestern. Do you think FOX networks could still grab these and are still sorting out some things with their windows, or are you thinking these could be 12/3:30 BTN doubleheaders to be announced sometime soon?


Unknown said...


I found it strange that some Big Ten games in Weeks 1-3 remain without start times, while some start times were set. Some times that remain include Eastern Michigan at Rugers & FAU at Wisconsin (Week 2) and Air Force at Michigan & Bowling Green at Northwestern (Week 3). Do you think FOX networks could still grab one, some, or all of these and are still working out the windows/contractual jargon, or do you envision each of these as 12/3:30 doubleheaders on BTN, with an announcement on BTN games coming probably sometime soon?


Matt Sarzyniak said...

Hi Josh. I expect these games to be on BTN. At one point, the conference left open the possibility of a digital partner, but I've heard nothing with respect to a new partner getting any games.