Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Mountain West Rights Agreements On The Move

* First, read this from Sports Business Journal as it gives the initial highlights of the Mountain West rights moving from ESPN to FOX Sports and remaining with CBS Sports.

Here's the items running through my head
* The article mentions Boise St. and Hawai'i with separate agreements.  Don't know if Boise St. just gets paid more to have their football games move over to FOX Sports or if they can have their home games remain with ESPN. 

Maybe the Broncos would be amenable to a 10am start if the opponent is worthwhile and FOX is convinced it would draw, or if their choices from the Big Ten and Big 12 are limited.  Or maybe something special around when Air Force hosts Army or Navy.  Again, I think FOX would need to be convinced it would draw.

Hawai'i's issue isn't a national TV deal, but their expiring agreement with Spectrum Sports for carriage of several sports, not just football.  Spectrum uses football to help recoup costs as it is distributed via pay-per-view within the state and shown via streaming externally.  Hawai'i typically had to have seven football games shown via PPV for them to get their full payout.  They did not receive television money from the Mountain West agreements.  Remember that they are an affiliate member of the Mountain West and a full member of the Big West.

* Does this hurt ESPN all that much?  I'm not certain it does.  It might help in terms of the content that they could be replacing it with.  Many of those Saturday Mountain West games air late evenings on ESPN2 and ESPNU.  ESPN+ happens to carry a lot of UFC and Top Rank Boxing.  Maybe an event or two in spring or summer ends up on ESPN+ instead of linear TV while a late summer or fall event shows up on ESPN or ESPN2. 

As for football, the Sun Belt had a slight increase in their minimum number of games starting in 2020 as their new rights agreement officially kicks in.  Maybe another weeknight game or two for them.

* Placement of the football games should be interesting.  Will FS2 be allowed for any games?  Depending on the number of football games FOX Sports is paying for, it will be a tighter squeeze to get games on FS1 on Saturdays without some creative scheduling, likely involving some weeknight games. 

* Did the conference ask for more certainty in start times from FOX Sports vs. the flexibility of the 12 day assignment that ESPN provided?

* Did CBS maintain their priority pick status in football and, I believe, men's basketball?  CBS was allowed to take a few games, six to eight games is the range that sticks in my mind, and reserve those.  I believe that was a bit of an equalizer since Boise St.'s home games could not be chosen to air on CBSSN, with the exception of ESPN being allowed to trade one Boise St. home game to CBS for one of the school's road games.

* I don't get the feeling that the conference's men's basketball schedule rotation has to change.  Currently the Mountain West is on a Wednesday-Saturday rotation, with the allowance of games being moved to Tuesday or Sunday for TV purposes.

* Did anything swap from the ESPN, now FOX Sports, package over to CBS?  Did anything get tied into these rights agreement that wasn't in place?  The conference's football championship was initially aired on CBS when they had the first crack at negotiating for it.  The game switched to ESPN when CBS declined to continue as the rightsholder after a two year agreement, but it seemed to be its own agreement independent of all other items.  Did the men's basketball championship stay with CBS Sports?

* Last, and not least: Are AT&T Sports continuing as a regional partner for football and men's basketball?  Is Stadium continuing as the "inventory" streaming partner, along with a handful of elevated streaming productions that have aired on Facebook, plus several other sports that air regularly on Stadium for the conference, like women's basketball?


Unknown said...

another question. What happens to all the streaming games that were on ESPN3?

You can't have all those games go "untelevised/unstreamed"

Unknown said...

I only bring that up because ESPN's relationship with CUSA is that of streaming only via ESPN3/+.

This deal appears to further widen the coverage gap between MWC and AAC. I was a proponent of MWC trying to get a non-late night slot on Saturdays on ESPN News (like at 4 or 8 ET as an example)

Matt Sarzyniak said...

There weren't many on ESPN3. Usually 3-5 a year. Those were part of ESPN's agreement and I think those would head to FOX Sports to be televised somewhere.

If they aren't, maybe those games go to Stadium for them to stream. FOX Sports also has a streaming platform called Caffeine that the Big East uses.

Also CBS is trying to beef up the All-Access platform. Supposedly that is where a lot of their UEFA Champions League content ends up.

Unknown said...

Please help me recall whats CBSSN relationship is with:
AAC - are they still getting sublicensed games from ESPN?

MAC- same ? as above

Navy - are they going to get Navy home games under the next "aac contract" - (except for their "home" game versus ND)

Matt Sarzyniak said...

CBSSN will continue to get Navy home games, with the exception of one game at ESPN's choosing each season (exception: they can't take the Air Force game) and the Notre Dame "home" game played every other year.

As for CBSSN with the AAC, that is to be determined. The MAC sublicense was renewed last year for a four year term, so there's another three years.

Unknown said...

ahhh ACC is TBD, not for sure yes, not for sure NO....I would think CBS SN would want AAC games to fill the space. And the conference would prefer games on CBSSN over ESPN3/+

and for Navy, for clarification, ESPN can poach 1 Navy home game per year (but it cannot be the AFA game), and the ND "home game" is now part of the ESPN umbrella

thank you for your time on this

Matt said...

Good read! You wonder if a game or two ends up on FOX. Plenty of room on FS1 for hoops

Jared H said...

I would think the football games that were on ESPN & ESPN2 will be on FS1 with 1 or 2 on FOX in weeks with many P5 teams on bye. FS2 might need to pick up 2 or 3 games that were on ESPNU (ESPNU had 5 in 2019).