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
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.

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

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

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.