Friday, April 19, 2019

Mid-April CFB TV 2019 Notes

* The Big 12 signed a deal with ESPN for three football conference championship games and eight schools pledged their member-retained content for ESPN+.  A couple things not covered in my original post on the topic:
  • The Big 12 didn't get the value in the market that they were expecting for the three football conference championship games.  The number quoted by Sports Business Journal was $40 million for the three games, or slightly north of $13 million per game.  FOX Sports ended their deal for paying around $20 million per game and the conference seemed to believe they would be able to get that number on the open market.  The conference previously said they had multiple suitors for the games, which would, in theory, create a bidding war for the content.
  • I'm curious who now makes the call as to which game is designated as a school's member retained football game.  FOX Sports had that option previously & if a school elected not to utilize their own platforms, the game had to be offered back to FOX Sports.  I suppose I could see FOX Sports continuing to dictate these choices as to not adversely affect the games available to their own Big 12 content package, but I would think that ESPN now has a greater say, or all of the say, in the matter.  Maybe it will end up being a joint decision by both networks with the conference or individual school having the final say.  Could it end up being a intraconference game?  The conference said this was a possibility several years ago, but I believe there had to be extenuating circumstances for this option.
  • For that member retained content, I have no idea how ESPN is paying that to the schools.  Each of these deals were previously negotiated with FOX or another media partner, so I don't know if those eight have agreed to pledge this content in return for a guaranteed minimum payout or some other formula is going to be applied to compensate the schools.
* NBC has set start times for their Notre Dame home games.

* Conference USA came out with a handful of start times for games, along with a few date changes.  This could end up being nearly the entire schedule of linear TV games on CBS Sports Network (all times Eastern).  Nine games are listed here and a tenth would need to be finalized
  • Friday 9/6 - Wake Forest at Rice, 8pm
  • Saturday 9/7 - UCF at FAU, 7pm
  • Saturday 9/14 - Texas vs. Rice, 8pm
    • The Mountain West only has games vs. FCS opponents that day.  East Carolina at Navy should be at 3:30pm ET.  Maybe another American Athletic Conference game at 12pm ET.
  • Friday 9/20 - FIU at Louisiana Tech, 8pm
  • Friday 10/18 - Marshall at FAU, 6:30pm
    • Look for a potential doubleheader with the Mountain West.  Nevada at Utah St. could be scheduled for 10pm ET based on Marshall at FAU's start time
  • Friday 11/15 - Louisiana Tech at Marshall, 7pm
    • The Jamaica Classic is moving to a week later in the college basketball schedule, so it would not clash with this game's date
  • Saturday 11/23 - Miami vs. FIU, 7pm
  • Saturday 11/30 - FIU at Marshall, 12pm
  • Saturday 12/7 - Conference USA Championship, 1:30pm
Two of the three CBS produced Facebook games could be Cincinnati at Marshall (9/28, 5pm) & Marshall at Middle Tennessee (10/5, 3:30pm) based on the start times & other potential CBS Sports Network conflicts.

* One last item on Conference USA.  They came out with their season preview, basically a spring prospectus (not a media guide), and beIN Sports was absent from the list of TV partners.  At the moment, I take their absence as being a strong signal that they will not be returning as a C-USA television partner.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Quick Note on Big 12 content deal for ESPN+

Breaking my own rule regarding taking April off, but I saw some comments on the Big 12 ESPN+ deal that I think will need clarification by the schools.

Per Sports Business Journal, the Big 12 and ESPN have completed an agreement for three Big 12 football championship games that would have been attached to FOX Sports (2019, 2021 and 2023).   FOX Sports still is maintaining its presence televising regular season football, women's basketball and other events not covered by the existing deal that ESPN has with the conference.

The other part of the deal involves content that the schools have retained outside of agreements with ESPN and FOX Sports.  Each school gets to keep a group of events to monetize for themselves, which includes a football game, some men's & women's basketball, baseball, softball and other sports.  Sometimes they're called third tier agreements, sometimes they are notated as member retained content.  Much of this content aired regionally, and sometimes nationally if the school was contracted to FOX Sports RSNs:
  • Baylor: FOX Sports
  • Iowa St: Cyclones.TV from Mediacom
  • Kansas: Jayhawk TV Network (distributed to linear TV stations & ESPN+)
  • Kansas St.: K-State HD TV (distributed to FOX Sports MW & ESPN3)
  • Oklahoma: FOX Sports
  • Oklahoma St.: FOX Sports
  • TCU: FOX Sports
  • Texas: Longhorn Network
  • Texas Tech: FOX Sports
  • West Virginia: Nexstar (distributed through AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh)
My initial thought is that the sale of the FOX Sports RSNs allowed for this mostly encompassing deal for this member retained content, while Texas will remain on Longhorn Network and Oklahoma (may?) stay with FOX Sports.

What I didn't see in this post from SBJ is whether the content will remain regionally distributed for the eight schools via linear TV and also through ESPN+ or if ESPN+ will become the exclusive distribution outlet for this content.  Hopefully that will be clarified.  I would think that since Texas maintains its linear TV presence, the other schools could be allowed to maintain theirs or continue to strike local TV deals for the content while maintaining the ESPN+ "outermarket" presence.  This would also allow for those who don't get content from a RSN affiliated with FOX Sports to be able to get this content on a regular basis.

EDIT: ESPN release says this content will be exclusive to ESPN+.  One way to look at this as a positive is that some schools didn't have a good way to get access to this content outside of their region or state.  Here's the ESPN release.

EDIT: Oklahoma's content deal with FOX Sports is a longer term deal than the other schools' deals.  It runs through 2022, so if it were to join up with other Big 12 schools in this venture, it would be at that time and not over the two year "phase-in" that is occuring for the eight schools pledging their content.

Also, Iowa St. spelled out exactly what will occur with their Cyclones.TV channel.  Live games will go to ESPN+, but the channel can continue to show press conferences and replays of live events.