Monday, June 3, 2024

Review of the 2024 CFB TV Early Season Selections

If you happened to miss any of the early season and special date start time & TV releases, feel free to head to my schedules site to look over how everything shook out.

* Over the course of the season, I'll be curious to see if ESPN's noon Eastern telecast window becomes less of a SEC window and more of a Big 12 or ACC window.  Many of the conference's members don't like the early start times and the SEC Network has went to moving back the start times of their early & mid afternoon windows to accommodate the schools' preferences.

* I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the SEC has six games hosted at their schools' stadiums in the first nine ABC slots.  Over the course of the weeks 1-3, the conference will feature in every game on ABC with the six games under their control, three neutral site games and as the road team vs. a Big 12 opponent.

How often the ACC and Big 12 appear in primetime on ABC over the course of the season will be of interest.  The conference will have three games in primetime on ABC on Saturdays in September alone (the Duke's Mayo Classic appears to count for the ACC if it counts for anyone at all).  

How often will the SEC be the default option at 7:30pm when they already have the 3:30pm window?  I'm going to put the over/under number of 7.5 games on ABC at 7:30pm over the course of 14 weeks, and that might still be too low, even with games like Oklahoma vs. Texas & Georgia vs. Florida remaining as afternoon games as they have been for years.  A new conference for the former, and a new broadcast network for the latter, didn't change those two games.

* Another "loser" with the SEC moving to ABC, for Black Friday at least, is the American.  It was known that the SEC would contribute a Black Friday game as they had in prior years with CBS.  The addition of a 2nd game was a bit of a surprise. The American, who has had a game on Black Friday on ABC since 2013 with the exception of the 2020 season, will be shut out of an ABC slot though they'll have a noon ET game on ESPN.

* I don't think it was a great surprise to see the FOX Friday night football schedule be void of big name schools like Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan.  West coast additions to both the Big 12 and Big Ten will feature in seven of the ten games (excluding Black Friday) and will host four of the the ten games, where they wouldn't otherwise be able to host a Big Noon game on FOX, so this is a way to get them some exposure with far less competition.

FOX skipped November 2nd, which would feature World Series Game 6 if needed.  If it isn't needed, I could see FOX simulcasting the San Diego State at Boise State game from FS1.

* From the announced windows that I've seen from CBS, and been provided regarding NBC's Big Ten windows and FOX's overall schedule, I'm not certain that we'll see as many late night broadcast network windows for the Big Ten as we've hoped / expected.  FOX may have moved a few of those over to Friday nights instead.  FS1 and BTN may be the place for Big Ten After Dark (Big 12 After Dark too along with ESPN).

* Regarding the previous item regarding late evening Big Ten games, I've had a few folks draw the conclusion that the Army - ND game at Yankee Stadium having a start time of 7pm is so that NBC can take on the USC at UCLA game after that.  What NBC has communicated to affiliates doesn't include a late evening telecast window on any week, and I can see NBC starting their Big Ten afternoon window a little bit earlier to provide some space before the Notre Dame game.

As for late evening NBC produced games, Peacock will have at least one, Boise State at Oregon, and could have others.  More should be know about the expected dates and times of the Peacock games as they populate inside of the app.

* ESPN preselected two Big 12 games into October and November: Cincinnati at Colorado on 10/26 and BYU at Arizona State on 11/23.  I can't tell if they did that because they're going to have limited linear TV space those two weeks for the Big 12, if they were the top choice (I'm assuming not), or if they were preselected as a potential late evening or mid-morning game. 

With other conference, if the game doesn't stick out as having significance, it tended to mean that it was in the middle of the selection process, like pre-selecting the 3rd or 4th pick of the week.  Both games are specially designated for each host school (Colorado: Family Weekend, ASU: Homecoming & Junior Sun Devil Club).  Maybe they'll end up being earlier in the day, whether its on ABC or ESPN.

* The NFL Network sublicense of Group of Five games from ESPN appears to be off the screen, at least through Week 3.  Not sure if that's due to NFLN's budget cuts or ESPN preferring to keep the content around.

* The four Mountain West controlled games on CBS matches their high mark from 2022, and with FOX carrying a game on Black Friday, the 2024 season will have the most Mountain West regular season games shown on an over-the-air TV network.

* ESPNU will carry a pair of Missouri Valley Football Conference this year, and I'm pretty sure these will be the first ESPN linear TV games for the conference since 2008.

Saturday, June 1, 2024

2024 Conference TV Requirements, Six Day Holds and Likely First Picks

Instead of cluttering up the weekly picks for 2024, I'm going to keep track of selection specific information in this post like six day holds that have been used, the number of times I think a network has chosen first and the required appearances that a school needs to fill on conference networks like Big Ten Network.

Six Day Holds Used
ACC (4 available): 
American (4 available): 
Big Ten (4 available): 
Big 12 (4 available): 

I'm unsure if six day holds will continue to remain a going concern in the SEC with their declarations of telecast windows for a game earlier in the offseason.  I think they could remain a thing if a game could air on ABC or ESPN at a particular time, or if a game is to be scheduled between 3:30pm & 7:30pm and doesn't have a finalized start time until six days before.  I'm also unsure whether there will be any maximum number of times a school can appear on ABC.  I think that is gone as well.  We'll find out as the season goes on.

Please note that this is my guess about who chose first in a given Saturday. This is not a confirmation from either the networks or conferences of who chose first.

Big Ten

Assumed top Saturday choice each week.  Weeks 2-4, 10 and 13 were mostly known in advance of the early season selection release.

08/31/2024NBC: Fresno St. at UM
09/07/2023FOX: Texas at UM
09/14/2023FOX: 'Bama at WISC
09/21/2024CBS: USC at UM
09/28/2024
10/05/2024
10/12/2024
10/19/2024
10/26/2024
11/02/2024FOX: TBD
11/09/2024
11/16/2024
11/23/2024
11/30/2024FOX: UM at OSU

Each school is supposed to appear on BTN twice each season with at least one appearance against another Big Ten school

SchoolRemaining
Illinois1 conference game
Indiana1 conference game
Iowa1 conference game
Maryland1 conference game
Michigan1 conference game
Michigan State1 conference game
Minnesota1 conference game
Nebraska1 conference game
Northwestern1 conference game
Ohio State1 conference game
Oregon1 conference game
Penn State1 conference game
Purdue1 conference game
Rutgers1 conference game
UCLA2, with 1 being a conference game
USC1 conference game
Washington1 conference game
Wisconsin2, with 1 being a conference game

There were ranges previously announced for the Big Ten and its TV partners, but they were announced prior to Oregon and Washington being accepted as future members.   

126(!) regular season games are available to the Big Ten's rightsholders.  It appears that NBC, CBS and Peacock will take at least 39 of those games.  FOX, FS1 and BTN would take on 87 of them, 41 of which have been accounted for. 

Here's the known remaining selections from each rightsholder:

FOX/FS1NBCCBSPeacockBTN
?? (20 used)11 of 1510 of 155 of 9?? (21 used)

Big 12

Assumed top Saturday choice each week.  

08/31/2024FOX: PSU at WVU
09/07/2023ABC: AR at OK St
09/14/2023FOX: UCF at TCU
09/21/2024
09/28/2024
10/05/2024
10/12/2024
10/19/2024
10/26/2024
11/02/2024
11/09/2024
11/16/2024
11/23/2024
11/30/2024

Last year, ESPN had a limit of 32 linear TV games.  I have no clue this year how those limits have changed with the increase in membership.  101 regular season games are in the Big 12's governance,
10 of which have been selected for ABC & ESPN's linear TV channels so far across the season.

FOX Sports has the overall number 1 choice to use for the Big 12 in 2024.  I believe it was used on Penn State at West Virginia in Week 1.

As for member retained games, 14 of the 16 Big 12 games had their ESPN+ games selected through Week 4.  Colorado and Arizona State did not have their member retained game used on a non-conference game.  The Big 12, several years ago, said there were circumstances where those games could be a) returned to the national rightsholders and/or b) used on a game vs. another Big 12 school.

American

The American has a minimum of 40 games per season on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.  At least 20 of the 40 are expected to be on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.  So far, at least 14 games have been guaranteed to air on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2

It appears that one Army road game vs. an AAC opponemt (Army at Florida Atlantic) was traded to CBSSN in exchange for an Army home game (East Carolina at Army).  I've listed the FAU game in the Other column.

ABC0
ESPN6
ESPN25
ESPNU3
ESPNEWS/Other1
TBD5
Total20