Friday, September 25, 2020

Admin Stuff For 2020

A few things

* To be clear, I do hope as much football is played as possible in 2020 and spring 2021 for the FCS conferences choosing to play at that time. I'm not going to banter about my feelings about medical directives & safety plans, and to be clear, I don't care about your opinion on the matter. My site or Twitter account won't be used for that. I have other places to banter those opinions and you likely do to.

* Over the past week, you have likely encountered periods of time, whether its minutes or hours, where my site has either encountered an error when viewing a season or a week, or if the front page is completely down. I'm sorry you've had to experience that.

I'm extremely frustrated and exasperated that you've had to experience that. My experience with my website host's support services have been extremely poor. I have made one of their suggested updates, but I don't believe it has remedied the issue. I do have a couple other tricks up my sleeve that I may try before I look to go website host shopping, but my desire to do that would be outside of sports being in season, so that would be the summer.

* It is a bit stressful to a) deal with the game cancelations that come at random times and b) the questions about "What is network X going to do? What games are they going to move? Why did they move that game?". Coupled with the website instability, plus the regular stresses of daily life, my anxiety has been a bit high. So I won't be trying to forecast schedule changes if and when they do occur. I'm just going to follow them as best I can to keep the site's accuracy as a schedule and repository for upcoming TV.

Situations like the added C-USA games on linear TV channels and ESPN+ carrying UCF at ECU while its on ABC - those I'll do my best to get answers about. Some entities are more willing to answer and discuss TV related items than others. Things like game X being cancelled and how its going to be replaced aren't going to get my attention.

* The available TV windows each week aren't going to be 100% accurate and this season even moreso. RSNs are posting their intended listings for a future date closer to that date instead of the two weeks in advance that I'm accustomed to. Events being added throughout the fall, whether it was the NBA, WNBA, golf, combat sports and others are eating up windows that would normally be planned for college football, and now might be needed for games with the return to play of the Big Ten, Mountain West and Pac-12, along with the MAC voting on their plan in the near future.

* Men's basketball TV schedule announcements could come thick and fast, leaving me with an avalanche of schedules to have ready. Normally the top ten or so conferences would have this information released as smaller conferences finalize their windows through October. Right now, we're waiting to see how non-conference games will be played alongside multi-team events. Getting schools committed to those events, placing them in bubble-like environments and then getting TV time or streaming plans in place are no doubt occurring right now.

Monday, September 21, 2020

CFB TV Confirmations for 2020 Week 5 (10/3/20)

This post will be updated as announcements come out for start times for 10/3 from the twelve day selection process that most TV networks adhere to.  Most conferences have the possibility of having all or part of their games held for a six day hold of the start time.  

The list of available TV windows are based on media websites, TV listings and press releases.  They can change based on the needs of the broadcaster or the conference.

Here's what I guessed based on the available openings (they will prove to be incorrect).  I would provide you a link to my site, but it is down due to a server attack (I'm not the only site affected).  I hope it will be up later today.

(Here's the deal - I don't really have a great handle as to the TV slots, so what I'll do is list the games not yet set for TV, then reorder them by time as they're set.  That way you'll see the list of games set for TV along with the one(s) you're waiting on).

12pm ABC: Baylor at West Virginia
12pm ESPN2: Arkansas State at Coastal Carolina
12pm ESPNU: ECU at Georgia State
12pm ACCN: NC State at Pitt
3:30pm ABC or ESPN: North Carolina at Boston College
3:30pm ABC or ESPN: Oklahoma State at Kansas
3:30pm ESPN2: Memphis at SMU
3:30pm FS1: Texas Tech at Kansas State
3:30pm ESPN+: USF at Cincinnati
4pm ESPNU: Charlotte at Florida Atlantic
4pm ACCN: Virginia Tech at Duke
4pm ACC RSNs: Jacksonville State at Florida State
5pm ESPN3: WKU at Middle Tennessee
7pm ESPN+: Georgia Southern at ULM
7:30pm ESPN2: Tulsa at UCF
8pm ESPNU: Troy at South Alabama
8pm ACCN: Virginia at Clemson

Six Day Hold for 12pm FOX or 7:30pm ABC
Oklahoma at Iowa State
TCU at Texas


Sunday, September 20, 2020

CFB TV Guesses for 2020 Week 5 (10/3/20)

Here are the games already set for television and/or webcast, which includes several SEC games.  Here are the known available telecast windows. Please understand that my site has been intermittently unavailable.  I've tried working with the hosting company but they don't see a problem, so I may need to find a new host this week.

I have done my best to list what TV windows are out there. Every listing service has a little different schedule for these networks. I can tell you that FS1 has NASCAR trucks in the afternoon and Premier Boxing Champions in the evening.  

12pm ABC: Virginia at Clemson
12pm FOX: TCU at Texas
12pm ESPN2: Memphis at SMU
12pm ESPNU: ECU at Georgia State
12pm ACCN: NC State at Pitt
3:30pm ABC: USF at Cincinnati 
3:30pm ESPN: Baylor at West Virginia
3:30pm ESPN2: Tulsa at UCF
3:30pm FS1: Oklahoma State at Kansas
3:30pm ESPNU: Troy at South Alabama
4pm ACCN: North Carolina at Boston College
4pm ACC RSNs: Jacksonville State at Florida State
7pm ESPN2: Georgia Southern at ULM
7pm ESPNU: Arkansas State at Coastal Carolina
7:30pm ABC: Oklahoma at Iowa State
8pm ACCN: Virginia Tech at Duke

ESPN3 or ESPN+
WKU at Middle Tennessee
Charlotte at Florida Atlantic
Texas Tech at Kansas State

Monday, September 14, 2020

CFB TV Confirmations for 2020 Week 4 (9/26/20)

 This post will be updated as announcements come out for start times for 9/26 from the twelve day selection process that most TV networks adhere to.  Most conferences have the possibility of having all or part of their games held for a six day hold of the start time.  

The list of available TV windows are based on media websites, TV listings and press releases.  They can change based on the needs of the broadcaster or the conference.

Here's what I guessed based on the available openings (they will prove to be incorrect) and here is the current schedule for the week as several FBS games do have their time & television/webcast assignments already accounted for.

(Here's the deal - I don't really have a great handle as to the TV slots, so what I'll do is list the games not yet set for TV, then reorder them by time as they're set.  That way you'll see the list of games set for TV along with the one(s) you're waiting on).

12pm ABC: Notre Dame at Wake Forest
12pm ESPN2: Georgia Southern at Louisiana
12pm ESPNU: Georgia State at Charlotte
12pm ACCN: Louisville at Pitt
12pm ACC RSNs: Georgia Tech at Syracuse
12pm ESPN+: UCF at ECU
12pm ESPN+: Campbell at Appalachian State
1:30pm FS1: Iowa State at TCU
3:30pm ABC or ESPN: West Virginia at Oklahoma State
3:30pm ABC or ESPN: Army at Cincinnati
3:30pm ESPN2: Tulsa at Arkansas State
3:30pm ESPNU: UTEP at ULM
4pm ACCN: Duke at Virginia
6pm ACC RSNs: Texas State at Boston College
7pm ESPNU: Kansas at Baylor
7pm ESPN3: Houston Baptist at Louisiana Tech
7pm ESPN+: Stephen F. Austin at SMU
7pm ESPN+: North Texas at Houston
7:30pm ABC: Florida State at Miami (FL)
8pm ACCN: NC State at Virginia Tech

Sunday, September 13, 2020

CFB TV Guesses for 2020 Week 4 (9/26/20)

Here are the games already set for television and/or webcast, which includes several SEC games.  Here are the known available telecast windows.

I have done my best to list what TV windows are out there. Every listing service has a little different schedule for these networks. I can tell you that FOX & FS1 intend to have evening MLB.  

12pm ABC: Army at Cincinnati
12pm ESPN2: West Virginia at Oklahoma State
12pm ESPNU: UCF at ECU
12pm ACCN: Louisville at Pitt
12:30pm ACC RSNs: Texas State at Boston College
1:30pm FS1: Kansas at Baylor
3:30pm ABC: Florida State at Miami (FL)
3:30pm ESPN: Duke at Virginia
3:30pm ESPN2: Tulsa at Arkansas State
3:30pm ESPNU: Georgia Southern at Louisiana
3:30pm ACCN: Georgia Tech at Syracuse
7pm ESPN2: Iowa State at TCU
7pm ESPNU: North Texas at Houston
7:30pm ABC: Notre Dame at Wake Forest
7:30pm ACCN: NC State at Virginia Tech

ESPN3 or ESPN+
Stephen F. Austin at SMU
UTEP at ULM
Houston Baptist at Louisiana Tech
Georgia State at Charlotte


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Notes on CFB TV Revised Early Season Releases for 2020

Here's the releases from the ACC, American, Big 12, CBSESPN, FOX Sports, SEC (CBS and ESPN) and Sun Belt. An updated release wasn't provided from C-USA, though you can find the additional linear TV games ESPN has elevated in their release.

So many games were selected in advance. Why? In the case of the SEC, where it was more prominent, the following release was provided in the CBS release:

CBS Sports, at the request of the SEC, worked in conjunction with the Conference to assist them and their schools with their advanced planning and logistics. CBS selected games in six of the first eight weeks. For the remaining games on the schedule, the normal 12- or six-day selection process will be used during the season.

I get the feeling that this is something that is already ongoing. Whether its the Pac-12 & its priority pick concept for ESPN and FOX, or the Big Ten releasing several weeks of partial TV picks beyond the first few weeks, these networks typically have a path plotted out for the season. Unless a major story develops in season like a team far exceeding expectations or playing below them, it seems pretty rare to deviate from them. And that's why the dreaded six day hold is used.

Notre Dame on USA. Why? Several things converged on the NBC Sports calendar.

  • The US Open being carried on NBC that weekend
  • NBCSN carrying some Premier League soccer and the Tour de France
  • The need to keep the calendar open for the Stanley Cup playoffs
The soccer conflict is Premier League Goal Zone currently scheduled for NBCSN at 2:30pm, but that could disappear if the NHL needs it. IndyCar needing it was also mentioned, but the articles I've seen mention that the rescheduled Mid-Ohio event (now a doubleheader) is rumored for the weekend prior.

1986 was the last time USA aired any college football.

Why the odd start time for Alabama at LSU? CBS chose Georgia at Alabama as its primetime game on 10/17. When the revised SEC schedule was released, Alabama at LSU was placed on the same weekend as CBS carrying the Masters. The golf is now being played in limited daylight and will air earlier in the day on CBS, but would overlap the usual 3:30pm ET CBS window, so an adjustment was made for this one to air at 6pm ET.

Two Navy home games on ESPN Network? Yes. It appears that the BYU game replaces the canceled Notre Dame game being part of the American's TV package with ESPN, so ESPN then grabbed the Memphis game on 11/14 as their "regular" Navy game in 2020. 

Big 12 member retained games: Are those a thing in 2020? It looks like it. I haven't had time to reach out to anyone to ask about it, but this makes a lot of sense:
Texas Tech also seems to have had their member retained game accounted for, so there should be seven more ESPN+ games coming throughout the season.

Saw the item regarding FOX's pregame show and you tweeted that it would air even on weeks when FOX doesn't have a game. Tell me more. The way the Big 12 has scheduled, there won't be games on 9/19, and it is my understanding they won't have a Big 12 game one weekend each in October & November, but they'll still carry their pregame show coming into the 12pm Eastern games. The October weekend would likely involve FOX carrying the MLB playoffs.

The Sun Belt has a lot more games on ESPN this year. Yes, the conference has really been able to take advantage of the openings created by other conferences not playing or not starting right away, plus several changes within the American and ACC schedules to open up some Thursday night windows that were previously filled. I would assume at least one Saturday Sun Belt game is considered for linear TV each week, even when the SEC is added in as both they and the ACC will likely be making sure they can fill as many of their SEC Network and ACC Network openings first.

Are there still appearance maximums that need to be followed by, say, the SEC on CBS? I would assume so, but they may be scaled back due to CBS carrying less games. With CBS carrying 11 regular season games instead of 15, it would stand to reason that the appearance maximum could be decreased by one, but that is not something I'm aware of. That would give CBS the leeway to choose the Iron Bowl on 11/28 as Alabama & LSU both already have three games planned for CBS.

A Big 12 game at 10pm ET? Yes. FS1 has a MLB game scheduled for 7pm ET on 9/12, so Coastal Carolina at Kansas is pushed to that time slot (9pm CT). No fans will be attending, but its still a later start. Big 12 games used to have exclusivity rules around their ABC, FSN and TBS windows over a decade ago, so a game not selected for those TV partners would either have to air their game on PPV or start at 10pm, which happened last in 2004.

I'm not as bullish as those of you that believe the Big 12 could regularly have 10pm ET starts. I think this was a rare occurrence due to the MLB game plus how the Big 12 stacked all of its non-conference games initially on one day with SMU at TCU being moved to alleviate some of that pressure. FOX will air usually one game at 12pm ET each week and if ESPN+ takes roughly one game a week to work in the member retained games, there should be 2-3 games to split amongst both ESPN and FOX Sports without needing to use late night. 

Late night likely will be reserved for BYU and I don't get the sense that ESPN is planning to use it for anyone else at this time. Notice that some of their primetime games are starting at 7:30pm ET, which would likely end at 11pm and lead right into SportsCenter. 

What else are you waiting to hear about? Two items:

  • Some of the items regarding C-USA rightsholders that I haven't been able to get answered. Especially since more games were selected to air on linear TV.
  • Where is Navy at Air Force going to air on 10/3? It is the only Mountain West controlled game being played in the fall this season. I assume CBS or CBS Sports Network as there are openings available to the game.

Monday, August 31, 2020

CFB TV Confirmations for 2020 Week 2 (9/10/20-9/12/20)

This post will be updated as announcements come out for start times for 9/10 - 9/12 from the twelve day selection process that most TV networks adhere to.  Most conferences have the possibility of having all or part of their games held for a six day hold of the start time.  

The list of available TV windows are based on media websites, TV listings and press releases.  They can change based on the needs of the broadcaster or the conference.

Here's what I guessed based on the available openings (they will prove to be incorrect) and here is the current schedule for the week as several FBS games do have their time & television/webcast assignments already accounted for.

(Here's the deal - I don't really have a great handle as to the TV slots, so what I'll do is list the games not yet set for TV, then reorder them by time as they're set.  That way you'll see the list of games set for TV along with the one(s) you're waiting on).

Thursday 9/10
Set for TV via selection process

Not set for TV
UAB at Miami (FL)

Saturday 9/12
Set for TV via selection process

Not set for TV
Duke at Notre Dame
Austin Peay at Pitt
Georgia Tech at Florida State
WKU at Louisville
Syracuse at North Carolina
Clemson at Wake Forest
The Citadel at USF
Missouri State at Oklahoma
Arkansas State at Kansas State
Tulsa at Oklahoma State
Eastern Kentucky at West Virginia
Houston Baptist at Texas Tech
UTEP at Texas
Coastal Carolina at Kansas
SMU at TCU
Louisiana Tech at Baylor
Louisiana at Iowa State
Charlotte at Appalachian State
Campbell at Georgia Southern
UTSA at Texas State
Tulane at South Alabama

Sunday, August 30, 2020

CFB TV Guesses for 2020 Week 2 (9/10/20-9/12/20)

This is going to be a mess.

Here are the games already set for television and/or webcast.  Here are the known available telecast windows.

I have very little idea what TV windows are out there. Every listing service has a little different schedule for these networks. I can tell you that ESPN plans for the US Open women's final to be contested in mid-afternoon. FOX & FS1 also intend to have evening MLB.  

Also, it appears that the Big 12 non-conference games being played will NOT be held as member retained games, but used to beef up the national TV packages for ESPN & FOX.

I'm also aware that Week 3 could end up being announced on Monday too, but I'm going to hold off on trying to guess those.

Thursday
7:30pm ACCN: UAB at Miami (FL)

Saturday
12pm FOX: SMU at TCU
12pm ESPN: Louisiana at Iowa State
12pm ESPN2: Coastal Carolina at Kansas
12pm FS1: Louisiana Tech at Baylor
12pm ESPNU: Eastern Kentucky at West Virginia
12pm ACCN: Syracuse at North Carolina
12:30pm ACC RSNs: Austin Peay at Pitt
2:30pm NBC: Duke at Notre Dame
3:30pm ABC: UTEP at Texas
3:30pm ESPN2: Houston Baptist at Texas Tech
3:30pm FS1: Arkansas State at Kansas State
3:30pm ESPNU: Tulane at South Alabama
4pm ACCN: WKU at Louisville
7pm ESPN: Tulsa at Oklahoma State
7pm ESPN2: Missouri State at Oklahoma
7pm ESPNU: Charlotte at Appalachian State
7:30pm ABC: Clemson at Wake Forest
7:30pm ACCN: Georgia Tech at Florida State

ESPN+
The Citadel at USF
UTSA at Texas State
Campbell at Georgia Southern

Friday, August 28, 2020

Brief notes on 2020 C-USA CFB TV Schedule

 A few items on the 2020 C-USA college football TV schedule

1) Where is NFL Network? Just over a year ago, the conference agreed to a four year deal with the network to air ten games per season but today's announcement did not include them and didn't leave room for them to pick up other games.

The conference's website has a media partners page and that used to include the NFL Network courtesy of the last time the page was archived by the Wayback Machine on February 26, 2020.

Somewhere along the way, NFL Network was removed but I do not know when. Either way, NFL Network no longer appears to be a media partner for the conference after only one season. The network was known to be interested in Mountain West football, hoping to create a college doubleheader each Saturday as noted by Sports Business Journal, but lost out to FOX Sports and CBS Sports.

2) So who picked up the ten games? Hard to say, but CBS Sports Network has picked up five to eight more games to air (more on that variable number in the next point. Remember that CBSSN had their sublicense agreement with ESPN for American Athletic Conference football end after the 2019-20 athletic year. The network did pick up UConn football to fill some of that gap, but to completely fill it, they would need more content. Picking up the slack from the NFL Network maybe have been one way to fill that holes.

3) No games on Facebook? That's an interesting one. Stadium's portion of the schedule doesn't note any games on Facebook and CBS doesn't appear to be producing any games for the social media platform either, which is why I gave a variable number of how many more games CBSSN picked up.

Sinclair now controls the FOX Sports branded RSNs (maybe some Stadium games end up airing there) and CBS has really invested in adding live sports to their CBS All Access platform, which would have included the possibility for CBS to place Mountain West football and men's basketball games on the service starting with the 2020 season. I don't believe it made sense to be giving this content to another service, especially as media services have needed to become a bit more territorial under the pandemic.

4) How did ESPN get a linear TV game? I asked Russ Anderson from the conference about how Eastern Kentucky at Marshall was able to air on ESPN and he said that ESPN was allowed to elevate the game out of their digital package.

5) So is ESPN also picking up some of the NFL Network coverage? I don't know. Have asked the conference to follow up as to whether ESPN always had the option to air any of their digital exclusives on linear TV. ESPN did air five C-USA intraconference men's basketball games in 2020. If you remember, beIN Sports a previous rightsholder, carrying ten football and ten men's basketball games. NFL Network was a direct replacement for beIN Sports with respect to football, but were not going to be airing men's basketball, but ESPNU ended carrying the five men's basketball games, possibly on short notice.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Some Rumblings and Ramblings on the FBS Conferences & Schools Not Playing Fall Football in 2020

By now you've seen that four conferences and two independents have elected to not play their intended fall sports as previously scheduled. For me, solely from an enjoyment standpoint, its sad. I understand the decisions they've taken and they are far beyond my need to be able to enjoy college football on TV or the remote possibility of viewing a game in person.

I'm interested in what happens with the TV revenue that these four conferences & a couple schools (so far) are forgoing. Would be interested in knowing the clauses triggered by not playing football by the end of the athletic year (it runs from July to June) & if that triggers rebates back to rightsholders. None of these conferences are paid solely for football, but that content is the reason TV networks are paying as much as they are.

I have my doubts that the TV contracts are tolled & automatically extended to an extra year. Would assume that Big Ten & Pac-12 would still be intending to go to the open market on the timeframes they intended based on contract terms. The Mountain West & MAC might be more willing to compromise on an extra year. They aren't in the same position as P5 & need some money to flow in. Maybe for a partial rights fee this year, they'd give an extra year & spread out the total rights fee of their contracts so there's less of a monetary hit.

Just taking the conferences & the TV partners involved:

  • FOX Sports took a massive hit, losing out on north of 60 games from the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Mountain West. They are only left with the Big 12 to show across their linear TV networks at this time.
  • ESPN seems to be banking on the ACC, SEC and Big 12 keeping their schedules alive, plus their Group of Five content from the American and Sun Belt, plus whatever independent BYU can cobble together. I do wonder if they would fill more time across linear TV at the expense of their ESPN+ inventory from the two Group of Five conferences.
    • I'm curious to know if the Big 12, ESPN and FOX would work together to prorate ESPN's maximum of 23 Big 12 games. You'll have 45 Big 12 games to divy up after each school retains their non-conference game to monetize. FOX Sports usually gets "the rest", but "the rest" typically isn't less than what ESPN takes.
  • CBS Sports Network also took a body blow as the Mountain West is their highest profile conference, plus they have lost a large portion of Army's schedule and the cancelation of the four UConn games they intended to televise. They'll be capped at 9-12 C-USA regular season games, a few Navy games and whatever Army can schedule for home games.
Conference networks from the Pac-12 and Big Ten are pretty bare now. Both conferences receive carriage revenue from those places to varying degrees, but now they are down to replay content for at least another 2-3 months. If you've bought advertising on those channels and there's no idea when your product will be shown as part of a live sporting event, I'd love to know how long you have to wait for that "make good" to be fulfilled, or if you can ask for your money back to be spent elsewhere.

And let's get away from the revenue discussion for a moment. Is it going to be "safe" to play a spring season & a fall season, whether it starts "on time" or later in September in 2021? I'm not just saying safe from a pandemic point of view, but a physicality one first. Can't dismiss the concepts around body recovery from a short season and then trying to play a second season. The Ivy League & Big Ten are joined together in concussion research. If the Ivy decides football shouldn't by played in the spring, I won't be surprised if the Big Ten makes that same decision in short order.  Personally, I'm not banking on a spring football season from these conferences or any fall sports in the spring.

I'll be interested in your thoughts on the topics of these TV rights, whatever they are.

Monday, May 4, 2020

CFB Early Season & Weeknight TV Announcements - Will They Happen On Time in 2020?

Today is first Monday of May, which you may or may not be aware of, because at this point every day seems to look a lot like the day before.  And since this blog's focus is on the television side of college football and men's college basketball, you might be aware that this month is often when conferences get together for their spring meetings and discuss the upcoming athletic year, rule changes, and interact with TV partners.  With those TV partners, usually a discussion around early season football start times comes up, along with a few scheduling nuggets throughout the season.

COVID-19 knocked out most of those in-person meetings and turned them into virtual meetings, so are those late May & early June announcements still on target?

I sent out requests to a few involved in this process and several were kind enough to respond.  Out of respect to them, I've elected not to share their names or which side of the table they sit on (TV, conference or school).

First off, they did note that spring meetings were still occurring with their TV partners.  Plans haven't ground to a halt when it comes to the 2020-21 athletic calendar.  There's been more time given to contingency planning, which shouldn't shock anyone, but there's business beyond football that gets settled up at these gatherings.  One mentioned that updates to football schedules, such as weeknight games, were still being finalized and prepped for announcement using the intended date they would be played on (ie. moving a Saturday game back a day or two).

The key word that all respondents came back with is "flexibility".  As of now, the target date of June 1 when most conferences want that information released is a goal they would like to hit, but each respondent cautioned that those announcements could certainly slip past that date as all parties have requested some form of flexibility when it comes to determining those start times.  Some respondents were waiting for spring meetings to commence to get a better picture of whether the start times announcements were truly feasible.  Another noted that the amount of events moving from spring & summer into later summer & fall would force adjustments into already established selection orders and the number of games a rightsholder might be expected to take on in a given week.  

Those "drafts" to determine when a rightsholder would select in a given week - that draft might prove to be worthless if there's any type of schedule movement, plus those previously mentioned professional events that have remained on the calendar, but with a late summer or fall date.  Those times where I scratch my head and try to count up the number of games a network has during the season and if they've gone over the expected count of games - they could really be pointless exercises.  They are in a lot of cases already, but even more so in this environment.  

Two conferences, the MAC and Mountain West, have already moved to a virtual media day.  One respondent didn't see where any in-person media day(s) events being held by conferences.  Online media days are the norm at the FCS level, so there's already a playbook that can be followed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

How Might the Thursday & Friday night CFB Schedules Shake Out for 2020?

Patching together Thursday & Friday night schedule.  Please note that I've left Black Friday alone as each network group could do something different.

Should look like this:

ESPN

Thursday night doesn't have much intrigue with the exception of potentially replacing SMU at Temple if there's an Eagles home game scheduled for that evening.  Friday still has a couple openings.

Please note that this is for ESPN & ESPN2 only.  ESPNU will have its own schedule of Thursday night games from the Sun Belt & HBCU conferences and Friday should have a package of Ivy League games.

Thursday
9/3: Clemson at Georgia Tech
9/10: None (opening night NFL)
9/17: UAB at Miami (FL)
9/24: UCF at ECU
10/1: Memphis at SMU
10/8: Tulane at Houston
10/15: Baylor at Texas Tech
10/22: Boston College at Virginia Tech
10/29: Utah at UCLA
11/5: SMU at Temple
11/12: ECU at Cincinnati
11/19: Florida State at Syracuse
11/26: Mississippi State at Ole Miss

Friday
9/4: North Carolina at UCF (ESPN)
9/11: Western Michigan at Cincinnati (ESPN2 with US Open on ESPN)
9/18: UCF at Georgia Tech (ESPN)
9/25: ???
10/2: Clemson at Boston College & Utah State at BYU (ESPN)
10/9: Miami (FL) at Wake Forest & Colorado at Arizona (ESPN)
10/16: UCF at Memphis & Houston at BYU (ESPN, or one on ESPN while the other airs on ESPN2)
10/23: Tulsa at USF & Arizona at Washington (ESPN2)
10/30: ECU at Tulsa (ESPN2)
11/6: Virginia Tech at Pitt (ESPN2)
11/13: Virginia at Duke (ESPN2)
11/20: ???

Both nights that are currently open have UConn home games, so if ESPN were to be working with the Huskies to carry a couple football games, they could slot in here (Indiana on 9/25 moving from 9/26, Middle Tennessee on 11/20 moving from 11/21). 9/25 could end up being a night ESPN airs MLB as a "pennant race" window, pushing any college football to ESPN2 or vice versa.  11/20 could have a later game due to ESPN covering the NBA, plus ESPN2 & ESPNU should be carrying some early season men's college basketball events, so maybe not a UConn game, but a Sun Belt instead if it involves one of the schools on Central time.

FS1

Thursday
9/3: Oregon State at Oklahoma State
10/29: Iowa State at Kansas State

Friday
9/4: Indiana at Wisconsin
9/18: Iowa at Minnesota
9/25: Air Force at Fresno State or San Diego State at Nevada
10/2: USC at Utah
10/30: Oregon State at Stanford
11/6: BYU at Boise State
11/13: Arizona State at Oregon
11/20: Utah State at Colorado State

Why not the other Fridays?
  • 9/11 has regular season MLB on FS1 at 7pm ET.  I don't see a Mountain West game worth moving to air after MLB, though I could see UTEP at Nevada moving there if FS1 chose it.
  • I'm leaving open 10/9 & 10/16 for MLB postseason. I think they'll end up giving up one of their NLDS games on 10/2 to MLB Network which should allow them to carry USC at Utah.
  • On 10/23, FS1 has to be left open for Smackdown to air there due to the World Series airing on FOX. 
It would make some sense for FS1 to add Mountain West games on 9/25 (would have to be after NASCAR, but both MW schools hosting are on Pacific time, so an 8pm PT / 11pm ET host is possible, or the game airs on FS2) & 11/20.  I know they have the ability to carry up to five Mountain West Friday night games, but I don't they will use them all unless a couple Friday night games air on FS2.  At this time, I'm not sure I'd move games to Friday night to air on FS2, though it is in more homes than CBS Sports Network.

CBS Sports Network
I think things could shake out like this:

Thursday
9/3: Washington State at Utah State
10/15: WKU at UAB

Friday
9/4: Bucknell at Army (linear TV) & Wake Forest at Old Dominion (CBSSN on Facebook)
9/25: C-USA
10/3: UNLV at San Diego State
10/10: C-USA
10/17: Hawai'i at Air Force
10/24: Colorado State at UNLV
11/13: C-USA

At the moment, I've left 11/6 & 11/20 as unavailable.  11/6 already has the PBR World Finals late in the evening and I believe the Veterans Classic men's basketball event would be slotted in for the time leading into PBR.  On 11/20, there should be coverage of the Jamaica Classic men's basketball event all day.

As for why I selected specific Mountain West games, but didn't for C-USA except WKU at UAB, its because I don't have a great feel for which games would be candidates to move.  WKU at UAB is a unique situation as it is the only UAB home game that coincides with a Saturday where both Alabama and Auburn are at home vs. SEC opponents.  Figured it was a good idea to get UAB off of a Saturday date in that situation.

Also, my Week Three predictions had Utah at Wyoming as a candidate to move to Friday night, but I've backed away from that in favor of a C-USA game on 9/25.  After seeing that this would put Utah at three weeknight games, I figured they would not want the Wyoming game moved.

Others
It looks like ACC Network will carry three weeknight games

9/3: Either Clemson at Georgia Tech or NC State at Louisville
9/4: Syracuse at Boston College
9/11: Appalachian State at Wake Forest

SEC Network usually takes one or two games for the opening Thursday night of the season as well.  The options might be limited.  Some schools really do not want night classes disrupted if they are in session and the football stadium is on campus, as it can cause parking issues.  When Tennessee hosted a Thursday night game in 2016, they shut down classes for that day.

The games that could be targeted include Coastal Carolina at South Carolina, Abilene Christian at Texas A&M and Mercer at Vanderbilt.  Texas A&M has been the Thursday night host the last two years, so that could leave them out.  I know that my Week One predictions have Coastal Carolina at South Carolina & Nevada at Arkansas, but the latter might not be an option as it is being played in Fayetteville and not in Little Rock.  When Arkansas hosted Florida A&M on Thursday night in 2017, it was played in Little Rock.

Pac-12 Network should also be the carrier of the Northern Arizona at Arizona State game on 9/3.

Monday, March 2, 2020

2020 Early Season Selections (Take No. 2)

I usually take a mulligan on the first time I take a stab at the early season TV selections, so here's that mulligan.  The difference between that first try is that I didn't feel comfortable choosing games in Week Three because several Group of Five Conferences were not ready.  Now they are, so you'll get Week Three too.

To set up the posts:

* There's a lot not yet known about potential programming conflicts, like MLB on FOX & FS1, Big3/Fireball3 Championship on CBS and WNBA on CBSSN.  I've assumed one MLB game on FS1 on Saturday in both Week 1 & 2.

* Conflicts that have been considered include the US Open (all day Week 1 on ESPN2, midday on ESPN in Week 2), Little League World Series (Week 0 on ABC in afternoon) and motorsports on FOX (Week 1 on Sunday for FS1 & Monday on FOX)

* Still have no idea regarding what the plan is with Big 12 games on the FOX Sports branded & affiliated RSNs.  I elected not to place them on RSNs and use FS2 where I could.

* No clue as to whether any AAC games get sublicensed to CBS Sports Network.  At this point, I assumed none.

* For those keeping track, I assumed FOX Sports & ESPN had the top Saturday choice for these conferences in the first three Weeks

Week 1
ESPN: Big Ten (Bowling Green-Ohio St.) & Pac-12 (Alabama-USC)
FOX Sports: Big 12 (Buffalo-Kansas St., by default)

Week 2
ESPN: Big 12 (Tennessee-Oklahoma)
FOX Sports: Big Ten (Iowa St.-Iowa) & Pac-12 (Ohio St.-Oregon)

Week 3
ESPN: Big 12 (Maryland-West Virginia) & Pac-12 (USC-Stanford)
FOX Sports: Big Ten (Buffalo at Ohio State)

* The following choices were made regarding the Big 12 member retained games, because they set up the choices made for Weeks 1 & 2, and will help with week 3.

Week 1
New Hampshire at Kansas
Missouri St. at Oklahoma
USF at Texas

Week 2
North Dakota at Kansas St.
Prairie View A&M at TCU
Alabama St. at Texas Tech
Eastern Kentucky at West Virginia

Week 3
UIW at Baylor
UNLV at Iowa St.
Western Illinois at Oklahoma St.

Without further ado, Weeks 0 & 1Week 2 and Week 3.

2020 Week Three CFB TV Guesses

If a game:

* is in bold, the network, time & date is confirmed
* is in italics, the network & date is confirmed, but not the start time
* is in red, I made the date change to accomodate TV and that date change is not confirmed by anyone.
* isn't listed, its likely to be streamed through various streaming platforms (C-USA or MW for Facebook, MW Network, ESPN3, ESPN+, CBS All-Access etc.).

Thursday
7pm ESPN: UAB at Miami (FL)
7pm ACCN: Charlotte at Duke

Friday
8pm ESPN: UCF at Georgia Tech
8pm FS1: Iowa at Minnesota
9pm CBSSN: Utah at Wyoming

Saturday
12pm ABC: Maryland at West Virginia
12pm FOX: Florida State at Boise State
12pm ESPN: Auburn at Ole Miss
12pm ESPN2: Rutgers at Temple
12pm FS1: Vanderbilt at Kansas State
12pm ESPNU: NC State at Troy
12pm SECN: Missouri at South Carolina
12pm BTN: Central Michigan at Northwestern
12pm BTN: South Dakota State at Nebraska
12pm CBSSN: Northern Illinois at Eastern Michigan
12pm ACCN: UConn at Virginia
12:30pm ACC RSNs: Colgate at Syracuse
2:30pm NBC: Western Michigan at Notre Dame
3pm Pac-12: Portland State at Oregon State
3:30pm ABC: Arkansas State at Michigan
3:30pm CBS: Georgia at Alabama
3:30pm ESPN: Air Force at Purdue
3:30pm ESPN2: Navy at Tulane
3:30pm FS1: San Jose State at Penn State
3:30pm SECN: Furman at Tennessee
3:30pm SECN: Kent State at Kentucky
3:30pm BTN: Appalachian State at Wisconsin
3:30pm BTN: Ball State at Indiana
3:30pm CBSSN: Virginia Tech at Middle Tennessee
3:30pm ACCN: James Madison at North Carolina
4pm FOX: Buffalo at Ohio State
4pm ESPNU: Cincinnati at Miami (OH)
6:30pm Pac-12: Hawai'i at Oregon
7pm ESPN: Colorado at Texas A&M
7pm ESPN2: Houston at Memphis
7pm FS1: Boston College at Kansas
7pm CBSSN: LSU vs. Rice
7:30pm ABC: USC at Stanford
7:30pm ESPNU: South Alabama at Florida
7:30pm SECN: Arkansas at Mississippi State
7:30pm BTN: Toledo at Michigan State
7:30pm BTN: Bowling Green at Illinois
7:30pm ACCN: Akron at Clemson
8pm FOX: Arizona at Texas Tech
8pm Longhorn: UTEP at Texas
10pm Pac-12: Idaho at Washington State
10:30pm ESPN: Utah State at Washington
10:30pm FS1: BYU at Arizona State
10:30pm CBSSN: UCLA at San Diego State

2020 Week Two CFB TV Guesses (Take No. 2)

If a game:

* is in bold, the network, time & date is confirmed
* is in italics, the network & date is confirmed, but not the start time
* is in red, I made the date change to accomodate TV and that date change is not confirmed by anyone.
* isn't listed, its likely to be streamed through various streaming platforms (C-USA or MW for Facebook, MW Network, ESPN3, ESPN+, CBS All-Access etc.).

Friday
7pm ACCN: Appalachian State at Wake Forest
7pm ESPN2: Western Michigan at Cincinnati

Saturday
12pm ABC: Penn State at Virginia Tech
12pm FOX: Iowa State at Iowa
12pm ESPN: Kentucky at Florida
12pm ESPN2: Memphis at Purdue
12pm FS1: Tulsa at Oklahoma State
12pm ESPNU: Central Michigan at Nebraska
12pm SECN: ECU at South Carolina
12pm BTN: Ball State at Michigan
12pm BTN: Southern Illinois at Wisconsin
12pm ACCN: Mississippi State at NC State
12:30pm ACC RSN: Samford at Florida State
2pm Pac-12: Fresno State at Colorado
2:30pm NBC: Arkansas at Notre Dame
3:30pm ABC: North Carolina vs. Auburn
3:30pm FOX: Ohio State at Oregon
3:30pm CBS: Boise State at Air Force
3:30pm ESPN2: Georgia State at Alabama
3:30pm FS1: Kansas at Baylor
3:30pm NFLN: Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss
3:30pm BTN: UConn at Illinois
3:30pm BTN: Tennessee Tech at Minnesota
3:30pm CBSSN: Lafayette at Navy
4pm ESPNU: FIU at UCF
4pm SECN: Southeast Missouri at Ole Miss
4pm SECN: North Texas at Texas A&M
4pm ACCN: Ohio at Boston College
4pm NESN+: Troy at UMass
5pm Pac-12: Houston at Washington State
5pm Pac-12 Bay Area: Cal Poly at California
7pm ESPN: Texas at LSU
7pm ESPN2: Tulane at Northwestern
7pm CBSSN: Pittsburgh at Marshall
7pm Stadium: Army at Rice
7:30pm ABC: Tennessee at Oklahoma
7:30pm FOX: Syracuse at Rutgers
7:30pm ESPNU: ETSU at Georgia
7:30pm SECN: Vanderbilt at Missouri
7:30pm BTN: Western Kentucky at Indiana
7:30pm BTN: Northern Illinois at Maryland
7:30pm ACCN: Louisville at Clemson
8pm Pac-12: Colorado State at Oregon State
8pm Pac-12 Mountain: Montana State at Utah
8pm AggieVision: Akron at NM State
10:15pm ESPN2: Michigan State at BYU
10:30pm ESPN: New Mexico at USC
10:30pm FS1: Stanford at Arizona
10:30pm CBSSN: Arizona State at UNLV
11pm Pac-12: Sacramento State at Washington
11:59pm Spectrum PPV: Fordham at Hawai'i

2020 Weeks Zero & One CFB TV Guesses (Take No. 2)

If a game:

* is in bold, the network, time & date is confirmed
* is in italics, the network & date is confirmed, but not the start time
* is in red, I made the date change to accomodate TV and that date change is not confirmed by anyone.
* isn't listed, its likely to be streamed through various streaming platforms (C-USA or MW for Facebook, MW Network, ESPN3, ESPN+, CBS All-Access etc.).

Week Zero
2pm ESPN: Notre Dame vs. Navy
6pm ESPN: Marshall at East Carolina
7pm ESPN2: Central Arkansas vs. Austin Peay
10pm FS1: Hawai'i at Arizona
10pm CBSSN: California at UNLV
10:30pm Pac-12: NM State at UCLA

Week One

Thursday
6pm SECN: Coastal Carolina at South Carolina
7pm ESPN: Clemson at Georgia Tech
7:30pm SNY: UMass at UConn
8pm FS1: Oregon State at Oklahoma State
8pm ESPNU: Rice at Houston
8pm ACCN: NC State at Louisville
8pm BTN: FAU at Minnesota
9pm SECN: Nevada at Arkansas
9pm CBSSN: Washington State at Utah State
10pm ESPN: BYU at Utah
10pm Pac-12: Northern Arizona at Arizona State

Friday
6:30pm CBSSN: Bucknell at Army
7:30pm ACCN: Syracuse at Boston College
8pm ESPN: North Carolina at UCF
8pm FS1: Indiana at Wisconsin
8pm BTN: Illinois State at Illinois

Saturday
12pm ABC: West Virginia vs. Florida State
12pm FOX: Purdue at Nebraska
12pm ESPN: Northwestern at Michigan State
12pm FS1: Buffalo at Kansas State
12pm ESPNU: Eastern Washington at Florida
12pm SECN: Eastern Michigan at Kentucky
12pm SECN: Central Arkansas at Missouri
12pm BTN: Kent State at Penn State
12pm ACCN: Miami (OH) at Pittsburgh
12:30pm ACC RSNs: Middle Tennessee at Duke
3pm Pac-12: North Dakota State at Oregon
3:30pm ABC: Bowling Green at Ohio State
3:30pm CBS: Colorado at Colorado State
3:30pm FOX: Michigan at Washington
3:30pm ESPN: Baylor vs. Ole Miss
3:30pm ESPNU: Arkansas State at Memphis
3:30pm BTN: Monmouth at Rutgers
3:30pm BTN: Towson at Maryland
4pm SECN: New Mexico at Mississippi State
4pm SECN: Mercer at Vanderbilt
4pm CBSSN: San Jose State at Central Michigan
4pm ACCN: Liberty at Virginia Tech
6pm FS2: South Dakota at Iowa State
7pm ESPN: UTSA at LSU
7pm Pac-12: William & Mary at Stanford
7pm Sooner Sports PPV: Missouri State at Oklahoma
7:30pm ABC: Alabama vs. USC
7:30pm ESPNU: Charlotte at Tennessee
7:30pm SECN: Abilene Christian at Texas A&M
7:30pm SECN: Alcorn State at Auburn
7:30pm BTN: Northern Iowa at Iowa
7:30pm ACCN: Temple at Miami (FL)
8pm CBSSN: Texas Tech at UTEP
8pm Longhorn: USF at Texas
9pm FS1: Georgia Southern at Boise State
10pm FS2: Louisiana Tech at UNLV
10:30pm ESPN: TCU at California
11pm Pac-12: Portland State at Arizona
11:30pm CBSSN: UCLA at Hawai'i

Sunday
3:30pm ESPN2: South Carolina State vs. Grambling
5pm NFLN: Central State vs. Howard

Monday
8pm ESPN: Virginia vs. Georgia

Friday, January 24, 2020

2020 Early Season CFB TV Guesses

Here's the first two weeks of CFB TV guesses for 2020.

To set up the posts:

* This is a first stab.  I tend to take one mulligan on these things.  I looked through the opponents for the American, MAC, MW and Sun Belt schools and don't see an intraconference game from those schedules being announced for Weeks 0, 1 or 2.

Edit: Boise St. at Air Force is available to be played in Week 2.

* There's a lot not yet known about potential programming conflicts, like MLB on FOX & FS1, Big3/Fireball3 on CBS and WNBA on CBSSN.  I've assumed one MLB game on FS1 on Saturday in both Week 1 & 2.

* I have no idea regarding what the plan is with Big 12 games on the FOX Sports branded & affiliated RSNs.  I elected not to place them on RSNs and use FS2 where I could.

* No clue as to whether any AAC games get sublicensed to CBS Sports Network.  At this point, I assumed none.

* For those keeping track, I assumed FOX Sports & ESPN had the top Saturday choice for these conferences in the Weeks 1 & Two

Week 1
ESPN: Big Ten (Bowling Green-Ohio St.) & Pac-12 (Alabama-USC)
FOX Sports: Big 12 (Buffalo-Kansas St., by default)

Week 2
ESPN: Big 12 (Tennessee-Oklahoma)
FOX Sports: Big Ten (Iowa St.-Iowa) & Pac-12 (Ohio St.-Oregon)

* The following choices were made regarding the Big 12 member retained games, because they set up the choices made for Weeks 1 & 2, and will help with week 3.

Week 1
New Hampshire at Kansas
Missouri St. at Oklahoma
USF at Texas

Week 2
North Dakota at Kansas St.
Prairie View A&M at TCU
Alabama St. at Texas Tech
Eastern Kentucky at West Virginia

Week 3
UIW at Baylor
UNLV at Iowa St.
Western Illinois at Oklahoma St.

Without further ado, Weeks 0 & 1 and Week 2.  Week 3 will be linked here when ready.

2020 Week Two CFB TV Guesses

If a game:

* is in bold, the network, time & date is confirmed
* is in italics, the network & date is confirmed, but not the start time
* is in red, I made the date change to accomodate TV and that date change is not confirmed by anyone.
* isn't listed, its likely to be streamed through various streaming platforms (C-USA or MW for Facebook, MW Network, ESPN3, ESPN+, CBS All-Access etc.).

NOTE: Boise St. at Air Force is not yet a scheduled game.  I've added it here as a possibility since the two schools are not scheduled to play another opponent.

Friday
7pm ACCN: Appalachian St. at Wake Forest
7pm ESPN2: San Diego St. at Toledo

Saturday
12pm ABC: Penn St. at Virginia Tech
12pm FOX: Iowa St. at Iowa
12pm ESPN: Kentucky at Florida
12pm ESPN2: Memphis at Purdue
12pm FS1: Tulsa at Oklahoma St.
12pm ESPNU: Central Michigan at Nebraska
12pm SECN: East Carolina at South Carolina
12pm BTN: Ball St. at Michigan
12pm BTN: Southern Illinois at Wisconsin
12pm CBSSN: Pittsburgh at Marshall
12pm ACCN: Mississippi St. at NC State
12:30pm ACC RSN: Samford at Florida St.
2pm Pac-12: Fresno St. at Colorado
3:30pm ABC: North Carolina vs. Auburn
3:30pm FOX: Ohio St. at Oregon
3:30pm NBC: Arkansas at Notre Dame
3:30pm ESPN2: Georgia St. at Alabama
3:30pm FS1: Kansas at Baylor
3:30pm NFLN: Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss
3:30pm BTN: Connecticut at Illinois
3:30pm BTN: Tennessee Tech at Minnesota
3:30pm CBSSN: Lafayette at Navy
4pm ESPNU: FIU at UCF
4pm SECN: Southeast Missouri at Ole Miss
4pm SECN: North Texas at Texas A&M
4pm ACCN: Ohio at Boston College
4pm NESN+: Troy at Massachusetts
5pm Pac-12: Houston at Washington St.
5pm Pac-12 Bay Area: Cal Poly at California
7pm ESPN: Texas at LSU
7pm ESPN2: Tulane at Northwestern
7pm CBSSN: Boise St. at Air Force
7:30pm ABC: Tennessee at Oklahoma
7:30pm FOX: Syracuse at Rutgers
7:30pm ESPNU: East Tennessee St. at Georgia
7:30pm SECN: Vanderbilt at Missouri
7:30pm BTN: Western Kentucky at Indiana
7:30pm BTN: Northern Illinois at Maryland
7:30pm ACCN: Louisville at Clemson
8pm Pac-12: Colorado St. at Oregon St.
8pm Pac-12 Mountain: Montana St. at Utah
8pm AggieVision: Akron at New Mexico St.
10:15pm ESPN2: Michigan St. at BYU
10:30pm ESPN: New Mexico at USC
10:30pm FS1: Stanford at Arizona
10:30pm CBSSN: Arizona St. at UNLV
11pm Pac-12: Sacramento St. at Washington
11:59pm Spectrum PPV: Fordham at Hawai'i

2020 Weeks Zero & One CFB TV Guesses

If a game:

* is in bold, the network, time & date is confirmed
* is in italics, the network & date is confirmed, but not the start time
* is in red, I made the date change to accomodate TV and that date change is not confirmed by anyone.
* isn't listed, its likely to be streamed through various streaming platforms (C-USA or MW for Facebook, MW Network, ESPN3, ESPN+, etc.).

Week Zero
2pm ESPN: Notre Dame vs. Navy
3pm CBS: California at UNLV
10pm FS1: Hawai'i at Arizona
10:30pm Pac-12: New Mexico St. at UCLA

Week One

Thursday
6pm SECN: Coastal Carolina at South Carolina
7pm ESPN: Clemson at Georgia Tech
7:30pm SNY: Massachusetts at Connecticut
8pm FS1: Oregon St. at Oklahoma St.
8pm ACCN: NC State at Louisville
8pm BTN: FAU at Minnesota
9pm SECN: Nevada at Arkansas
10pm ESPN: BYU at Utah
10pm Pac-12: Northern Arizona at Arizona St.

Friday
6:30pm CBSSN: Bucknell at Army
7:30pm ACCN: Syracuse at Boston College
8pm ESPN: North Carolina at UCF
8pm FS1: Indiana at Wisconsin
8pm BTN: Illinois St. at Illinois

Saturday
12pm ABC: West Virginia vs. Florida St.
12pm FOX: Purdue at Nebraska
12pm ESPN: Northwestern at Michigan St.
12pm FS1: Buffalo at Kansas St.
12pm ESPNU: Eastern Washington at Florida
12pm SECN: Eastern Michigan at Kentucky
12pm SECN: Central Arkansas at Missouri
12pm BTN: Kent St. at Penn St.
12pm ACCN: Miami (OH) at Pittsburgh
12:30pm ACC RSNs: Middle Tennessee at Duke
3pm Pac-12: North Dakota St. at Oregon
3:30pm ABC: Bowling Green at Ohio St.
3:30pm CBS: Colorado at Colorado St.
3:30pm FOX: Michigan at Washington
3:30pm ESPN: Baylor vs. Ole Miss
3:30pm ESPNU: Rice at Houston
3:30pm BTN: Monmouth at Rutgers
3:30pm BTN: Towson at Maryland
4pm CBSSN: Washington St. at Utah St.
4pm SECN: New Mexico at Mississippi St.
4pm SECN: Mercer at Vanderbilt
4pm ACCN: Liberty at Virginia Tech
6pm FS2: South Dakota at Iowa St.
7pm ESPN: UTSA at LSU
7pm Pac-12: William & Mary at Stanford
7pm Sooner Sports PPV: Missouri St. at Oklahoma
7:30pm ABC: Alabama vs. USC
7:30pm ESPNU: Charlotte at Tennessee
7:30pm SECN: Abilene Christian at Texas A&M
7:30pm SECN: Alcorn St. at Auburn
7:30pm BTN: Northern Iowa at Iowa
7:30pm ACCN: Temple at Miami (FL)
8pm CBSSN: Texas Tech at UTEP
8pm Longhorn: USF at Texas
9pm FS1: Georgia Southern at Boise St.
10pm FS2: Louisiana Tech at UNLV
10:30pm ESPN: TCU at California
11pm Pac-12: Portland St. at Arizona
11:30pm CBSSN: UCLA at Hawai'i

Monday
8pm ESPN: Virginia vs. Georgia

Friday, January 10, 2020

Several Notes From the Mountain West Rights Agreements

Wanted to compile items I found interesting from the media call transcript for the announcement of the Mountain West's rights agreements with CBS Sports and FOX Sports.

* First, it is pretty rare for a conference commissioner to reveal a dollar amount publicly, though MW Commissioner Craig Thompson did couch it by noting that he wasn't going to reveal what either party was going to pay.

* CBS Sports paid for the possibility to carry ten extra games across either linear TV or CBS All-Access.  The All-Access service is branching out into exclusive sports with its upcoming coverage of UEFA Champions League.  These extra 10 games will be after both CBS Sports and FOX Sports "draft" their top 46 selections in football and men's basketball, so they can't place a top game on CBS All-Access, but an intraconference matchup is very likely.

There's also some flexibility here if CBS Sports and ESPN elect not to continue a sublicense agreement for American Athletic Conference content, excluding the agreement made for dividing up Navy's home football games, as some of these games could fill open spaces on linear TV.

Distributing live college sports exclusively via digital means isn't new to CBS Sports either, showing three football games and six men's basketball games per athletic yea via Facebook from Conference USA starting with the 2018-19 athletic year.

* The guarantee of three football games airing on CBS broadcast network is new.  Granted they will have open space once their SEC package moves on to ESPN in a few years(?), but with those top game selections, they can use open space during the first couple weeks of the season and Week Zero to potentially show those games since the SEC games wouldn't be likely to start before Week Three.  Possibly airing either Army or Navy's visit to Air Force would be a way to use the third if it is part of CBS Sports' selections.

* The conference's fact sheet noted the earliest start time of 11am local (1pm ET if Mountain Time school, /2pm ET if Pacific Time school/4-5pm ET if Hawai'i), but FOX Sports President Mark Silverman strongly hinted that they would like to position the Florida St.-Boise St. football game in their Big Noon window, which would be a 10am local start.  I suspect that 11am local could be the earliest start time for any games that could set during the season, but if a school agrees to it, there's some wiggle room, especially for broadcast television.  Everything's negotiable.

* Hawai'i will now get a cut of TV revenue from the conference, though that will supplement whatever they receive locally.  It was noted that Hawai'i had to contribute four of the games covered by the conference's TV parameters to be involved and it would be on top of any revenues they receive from any contract with Spectrum Sports in Hawai'i to show games on the islands.

A formula will be used calculate the difference once the distribution to members is figured out and Hawai'i finalizes its agreement.  Once the difference is computed, Hawai'i will get 80% of that difference.

As to the number of games the school has to contribute to the conference's media rights deal, contrinbuting four games is not out of range compared to previous seasons with the exception of 2019.  Here's the number of MW controlled Hawai'i games carried by CBS & ESPN packages since 2013 when the expiring TV deals began:
  • 2013: 3
  • 2014: 4
  • 2015: 3
  • 2016: 2
  • 2017: 4
  • 2018: 4
  • 2019: 5 (excludes MW Championship game)
I think its possible that this allows Hawai'i to be less concerned about missing revenue targets if they don't contribute a number of games to maximize their payout from any local TV deal.  The 2017 schedule only allowed for six PPV football games, which is one short of what Spectrum required to achieve their maximum payout.  This could allow UH to be flexible knowing that they could receive revenue from the MW to help with any gaps.

* Men's basketball scheduling could become more flexible.  Wednesday & Saturday dates form the base of the conference's schedule, with TV sliding games to Tuesdays & Sundays.  The media call suggested up to six days a week.  My uneducated guess is that Thursday & Friday could be in play, potentially for FOX Sports, especially for FS1 appearances.  Maybe some Big Ten + Mountain West Friday doubleheaders?

* FS2 is in play for FOX Sports.  It was prominently mentioned throughout the FOX Sports portion of the call and noted on graphics the conference posted on Twitter.

* Boise St.'s football media rights will no longer be negotiated separate from the rest of the conference.  This deal where FOX Sports gets the home games and CBS Sports Network gets the MW controlled road games appears to be the last time the conference will do this and it sounds like this is something Boise St. has agreed to.

* FOX Sports can and appears likely to use Labor Day, Friday after Thanksgiving, Week Zero to get the conference unique football exposure windows.  These special dates are outside of the maximum of ten Friday football games combined across CBS Sports and FOX Sports.

* There's more to come, likely from a digital streaming package.  Commissioner Thompson broke down the distribution based on 75 games:
  • 46 to the two national partners
  • 10 more to the pool that CBS Sports can be flexible with
That leaves around 19 games.  Some of those are going to go back to Hawai'i to form their own rights agreement.  But the conference said there would be a third tier, some of it via digital means.

* The remaining item that I didn't see explicitly spelled out was whether any games would have their start times set during the season.  There will be a draft of games, so we know that a large portion of the conference's football games will be claimed in advance.  We know there are parameters are start times, but does that apply to setting start times during the season, or will everything be set in advance?

Monday, January 6, 2020

What I'm Looking Forward to for College Football on TV in 2020

There's a few things I'm curious about coming into the 2020 college football season.

* First, we're back to 13 weeks to accomplish the regular season, plus a few stragglers in Week Zero.  But Week Zero is increasing.  Besides Notre Dame vs. Navy being played in Dublin, three of Hawai'i's four home Mountain West opponents are scheduled to play that weekend (Nevada, New Mexico and UNLV), plus New Mexico St. as one of the Warriors non-conference opponents.

The Mountain West schedule likely won't be out until sometime in the next 4-8 weeks, but its also possible that Boise St. could be asked to move a game to this date if they or the conference's TV partners wanted to.  Each of those schools playing at Hawai'i can also pick up a 13th regular season game if they so desire.  Same with Notre Dame & Navy, though I think the Fighting Irish won't do that.

* Speaking of Mountain West TV partners, the news that FOX Sports was coming in to replace ESPN appeared before the holidays.  It was met with some conjecture as others were reporting that the deal had not been completed.

My opinion is that the deal could be completed and a number of things could have occurred:
  • Legal departments are still vetting terms though a verbal agreement or a basic term sheet/memorandum of understanding is in place.
  • One of the reports' sources had not received word of an agreement in principle.
  • Grey areas, such as how to handle Boise St.'s home games which were separate from Mountain West TV deals and Hawai'i's Spectrum Sports.
  • The end of year holidays placing a hold on the news cycle
I do get the feeling that at least a deal for around 16 football games and 30+ basketball games has been completed.  

* With the addition of the Mountain West, plus an expected change in operations with the FOX Sports' branded regional sports networks coming in the spring, I'll be interested to see if FS2 ends up with more live content, such as a few Big 12 football games and a decent share of Mountain West sports.  I've been guilty of believing that FS2 should have been utilized earlier, but I think we might be closer to a point of that being a reality.

* BYU's TV deal with ESPN is ready to be announced supposedly, so is it in the same holding pattern, waiting for people to be in place to have media announcements, etc.?

* CBS Sports Network retaining the Mountain West and most Navy home games keeps their schedule relatively intact when added to their existing Army football and C-USA commitments, but I'm curious to see whether ESPN continues to sublicense any content to them from the American Athletic Conference.  The AAC is arguably the 2nd highest profile conference to place content on ESPN+ after the Big 12, so will ESPN be more apt to maximize that service's offerings vs. selling content?  Consider that CBSSN and ESPN continued their MAC sublicensing arrangement for four more athletic calendar years starting with 2019-20.

* I'd like to know if the Mountain West's partnership with Stadium will increase into the area of linear TV?  The WCC added a package of linear TV games to the partnership after having a handful of enhanced online productions for a few years.

* My own personal gripe is Stadium having the inventory content rights to the Patriot League, Mountain West and West Coast Conference, but dismantling their phone app & Roku channel.  Fun fact: not everyone wants to consume streaming content on a laptop or phone.  I had been told they were changing over their content distribution network, and maybe the addition of the FOX Sports branded RSNs will be part of a new online strategy for this content.

* Assuming the SEC and ESPN are finalizing an agreement for the package of football and men's basketball games that currently air on CBS, I really don't forsee CBS giving up control of the package multiple years in advance.  CBS will be a lame duck for around four years, but its four years of a significantly viewed product at a relatively cheap rate.  If CBS can sell ads against it and either make money or break even while pumping up their other TV properties they'll keep it.

* UConn's football rights for 2020 are another interesting property.  Would they be stuck going the route of UMass and New Mexico St., where regional linear TV was packaged with an over-the-top rightsholder for folks living outside of the regional TV areas?  I can't forsee a great demand for the product nationally, but if the school can regularly schedule Power 5 schools for a few home games, they should find some interest for a few national TV opportunities.

Would also be curious to see if UConn would continue to try to get a weeknight home game or two for national TV.  National TV tends to set those things to get games televised that wouldn't otherwise get significant viewership on Saturdays.