Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Notes on Big 12 FB Champ Game Start Time & Several MBK TV Releases

* It appears that FOX affiliates have been told that the Big 12 football championship game will be an early afternoon affair on Saturday 12/2.  The conference announced a sponsored tailgate tour with the date of the championship game prominently mentioning the Saturday date.

The only thing left was the time of the game, but that could be relatively easy to deduce when looking at the schedule of college basketball games on FOX & FS1 that day, the Big Ten championship on FOX in primetime, and UFC PPV prelims that I've tentatively targeted to FS1 that evening.

When you take those items into account, the open time on 12/2 was in the early afternoon on FOX.  Even if you move the UFC prelims to FX or FXX, my hunch with respect to programming is that FOX has less hefty competition in the early afternoon with the American & either the MAC and/or C-USA championship games compared to the Big 12, ACC and Mountain West in the evening.

As for the possibility of a Friday 12/1 night game, my opinion is that possibility took a severe hit when the Cowboys were scheduled for a Thursday night home game on 11/30.  If the Big 12 needed control of the field for any sponsor related events prior to the game, Friday is now the only time to do those.  The Big 12 was non-commital about the date during spring meetings and football media days, which could have been the conference trying to find out about the feasibility of a Friday night game as the Cowboys' Thursday night home game was already known.

* A few items around the Pac-12 TV release:
  • Gonzaga at Washington on Pac-12 Networks on 12/10 - I have to assume there was a selection order or priority hold placed on this one by Pac-12 Networks.  Last year, FS1 picked up the Zags' game at Washington St. and I would think a game from the national runner-up would merit selection by either FOX Sports or ESPN, regardless of the stature of the Huskies.
  • Cincinnati at UCLA on CBS on 12/16 - I don't quibble with the choice (this game comes out of ESPN's pool of games).  This is more surprise that CBS took a Pac-12 non-conference game.  Will be doubleheadered wth Syracuse-Georgetown, which comes from FOX as part of an agreement with CBS Sports for Big East games.
  • Utah at Arizona on FOX on 1/27 - If you're asking "Why the 5:30pm ET start time with no game before it? Did you mean to put it on Sunday after Purdue at Indiana?", the answer could be tied to the 24 Hours of Daytona, which starts on the 27th and had its first three hours of competition air on FOX last year.  I'm under the impression that the endurance race will once again start on FOX and have a lot of coverage on FS1 for the remainder of the race.
* Weeknight men's basketball tripleheaders are not new to ESPN as they'll often have three games on either ESPN2 or ESPNU on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  But they are different with FS1 where they have typically stuck with doubleheaders, but they'll have weeknight tripleheaders on the following dates:
  • 2/1/18 - Creighton at Villanova, Northwestern at Wisconsin & Oregon St. at Stanford
  • 2/21/18 - Xavier at Georgetown or Seton Hall at Providence, then Depaul at Villanova followed by USC at Colorado
  • 2/22/18 - Purdue at Illinois, Arizona at Oregon St. & Arizona St. at Oregon
Those last two dates are important because it shows FS1 stacking their schedule to the weeknights due to NASCAR responsibilities on Friday and Saturday, along with NHRA on Sunday.

* I counted six doubleheaders on FS1 involving the Big Ten & Pac-12.

* ESPN and FS1 are splitting a pair of neutral site doubleheaders.  The Never Forget Tribute on 12/9 from Newark will have one game on FOX (Seton Hall-VCU) and one on ESPN2 (Florida-Cincinnati).  The Under Armour Reunion from MSG will have the same structure, with the Seton Hall-Texas Tech game on FS1 followed by Temple-South Carolina on ESPNU.

* Per a couple the American Athletic schools, the conference tournament schedule will now air on ESPNU in full on day one (now four games, previously three games with two on ESPNEWS).  For now, the Friday games will continue to be split on ESPN2 and ESPNU.  Note that the 2018 championship only will have the semifinals and final on CBS via sublicense due to the Big Ten championship being held a week earlier.

* As ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain has expanded its territory further west with the addition of the regional rights to the Vegas Golden Knights, it also stepped up coverage beyond the Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico based Mountain West schools with 11 total games involving UNLV and Nevada.   Last year, just two games on ROOT Sports involved the Nevada based schools.

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