Sunday, August 27, 2023

What's new for D1 College Football on TV in 2023

You probably made it through the "practice tailgate" Saturday and now its time for the regular season to begin in earnest this coming Thursday.  Labor Day weekend allows everyone to ease into the season (which includes the game quality unfortunately) and give everyone a chance to find games over the course of several days.

So what is new?
  • The Big Ten starts its new rights agreements with FOX Sports maintaining its primary partner status, but new partners NBC and CBS.  CBS is slowly getting involved due to its existing SEC contract ending after the 2023 season, where NBC will have a full schedule. 

    Most of NBC's games will be at 7:30pm ET, but they'll have a few 3:30pm games too as Notre Dame will have a couple primetime home games.  FOX will spread their games out across FOX and FS1, but expect their Big Noon game to feature the Big Ten most weeks of the season.  CBS will feature at select times for seven games this season until 2024 when they get a weekly game.  Last but certainly not least, Comcast's Peacock streaming platform will carry nine exclusive games (ie. not on NBC, only on Peacock) over the course of the season.  

    The missing rightsholder from prior years is ESPN.  They no longer have the ability to air home games from the conference.

  • The ACC's games that previously aired on regional sports networks, mostly on Diamond Sports Group's Bally Sports RSNs, will now air on the CW on a national basis.  These games were sublicensed from ESPN to Raycom Sports, who then granted RSN groups, first FOX Sports, then Bally Sports, to manage the package on Raycom's behalf while they provided game production support.  

    As part of the various bankruptcy filings by on Diamond Sports, one included releasing DSG from the remainder of its agreement to continue airing the ACC games.  Raycom supported the filing as they had not been paid, and was granted the ability to shop these games to a new partner.  

    The CW package will be for less football games (13 compared to the RSNs carrying 17) and there are basketball components to it that we'll note in a couple months.

  • CUSA will have regular games on ESPN and you've likely seen one of those games already as part of the Week Zero schedule.  Most of ESPN's games will be on weeknights in October as the conference moves to a full weeknight schedule for the month.

    CBS Sports Network remains the conference's primary TV partner.  Stadium, a TV partner in the previous set of TV rights agreements, has exited as a TV partner.

  • Speaking of Stadium, they are also no longer involved in the Mountain West's digital rights.  The conference is working with their digital partner WMT, who created a set of apps for the conference at the end of 2021 to stream live events and now manages the conference's website.