Posted on: May 10, 2011 11:51 pm

ACC nonconference tilts to air in primetime

By CBS College Football staff

Two of the biggest non-conference opportunities this fall for the Atlantic Coast Conference -- Oklahoma at Florida State and Ohio State at Miami – will be televised on the evening of Sept. 17 in primetime on ABC and ESPN, CBSSports.com correspondent Brett McMurphy has learned.

Although the games will be televised head-to-head, the kickoffs will be staggered by 30 minutes. The specific networks and kickoff times for each game will be determined at a later date.

Oklahoma is ranked No. 1 in CBSSports.com’s post-spring Top 25 rankings, while Florida State is No. 8 and Ohio State is No. 9. Miami, under new coach Al Golden, is not ranked. The ACC is expected to release its television schedule on Wednesday.
Posted on: May 4, 2011 3:00 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 3:09 pm

Texas granted firing rights with Longhorn Network

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Earlier this year, Texas and ESPN announced the formation of the Longhorn Network, a University of Texas-themed, third-tier sports channel designed to give viewers an all-inclusive Texas Longhorns experience. All-inclusive except for first- and second-tier games, which will still be covered by the Big XII's conference TV deals, of course, but other than that they're still good.

Being that this is a Texas-run channel for Texas fans, there's obviously going to be an expectation of some, shall we say, preferential editorial treatment by the on-air talent. Seems only fair. But even though this is ESPN's network, according to the Austin American-Statesman, it's going to be Texas who decides if the announcers are staying on the straight and narrow, and with massive consequences if they're not:

According to the contract, "in the event that UT reasonably determines that any on-air talent does not reflect the quality and reputation desired by UT for the Network based on inappropriate statements made or actions taken by such talent and so notifies ESPN, ESPN will cause such talent to be promptly replaced (and will in any event no longer allow them on air following such notice)."

On Tuesday, ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz explained in an email, "This is not common in ESPN agreements because this UT network is so unique/new for us ...The provision does not allow for random replacement of commentators or reaction to critical comments... it's more about potential situations where a commentator makes completely inappropriate comments or gets involved in inappropriate actions."

In response, blogger Ben Maller wondered aloud if the provision meant that the announcers would have to wear Texas cheerleading outfits. He was clearly joking, and Krulewitz's statement should be enough to reassure viewers that the announcers still have some leeway as far as making critical statements.

And yet, there's still a problem here. Texas' top priority, one would hope, is Texas. The Longhorn Network's top priority, one would hope, is professionalism. So between those two entities, who should be in charge of determining the announcers' professionalism and deciding whether to take them off the air or not?

It remains to be seen, of course, whether and how often UT actually exercises these firing rights, and presumably, the school understands that even one such firing will be a PR nightmare, to say nothing of several (especially if they're indiscriminate or capricious). But what if Texas -- who, let's recall, has zero equity stake in the network -- doesn't have a problem with dropping the axe over one bad statement? What if ESPN grants this type of a deal to a different school with a pathologically vindictive athletic department? What sort of precedent is being set here?

Posted on: May 4, 2011 12:38 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 12:38 pm

Pac-12 officially announces TV deal

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Though word got out about the Pac-12's new television deal with ESPN and Fox on Tuesday, the conference officially announced its new $2.7 billion agreement that will be bringing a whole lot more Pac-12 football into televisions around the country than ever before. 

“We are equally excited by the creation of Pac-12 Media Enterprises," said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott in a release. "Which will enable us to launch our own Pac-12 television and digital networks, providing signi cantly more exposure for women’s sports and Olympic sports in which the Pac-12 excels, in addition to academic and other campus programming of interest to our fan base. These new platforms will also provide us with an unprecedented opportunity to control the distribution of our intellectual property rights in sports, education and other Conference and membership initiatives.”

Yes, yes, but what does this mean for you, the college football fan? Well, it means you're going to have a lot more games to watch on Saturdays.

There will be 44 Pac-12 regular season games televised across ESPN and Fox platforms. Ten games a year will appear as national broadcasts on either ABC or Fox, with plenty of those games coming in primetime. Then there will be 34 other Pac-12 games broadcast on a combination of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and FX. As for the Pac-12 Network, that will carry any game not on the ESPN or Fox stations, and will average about three games per week.

As for the Pac-12 Championship game, it will be broadcast on Fox in 2011 and 2012, and then alternate between Fox and ESPN for the remaining years of the deal.


Posted on: May 3, 2011 9:30 am
Edited on: May 3, 2011 9:34 am

Report: Pac-12 agrees to $2.7B deal with Fox/ESPN

Posted by Chip Patterson

As the Pac-12 prepare to welcome Colorado and Utah, expanding their membership to a football-friendly 12 schools, the conference has been working furiously to sign a new and more lucrative television deal for the conference.  According to the Sports Business Journal, the conference has agreed to a new deal with Fox and ESPN that is worth $2.7B over 12 years.  The deal, which reportedly could be made official as soon as Wednesday, will cover football, basketball, and Olympic sports.

In the reported deal, ESPN gets rights to football, basketball, and an Olympic sports package.  They have committed to air an unknown amount of football games in primetime on ABC.  Fox gets basketball and football rights, airing games on Fox Sports channels and FX.  The two networks will rotate coverage of the basketball tournament and football championship game.

The conference's current media deal was also with ESPN and Fox, but the addition of the football championship game and two new schools changed the landscape for the Pac-12.  Comcast/NBC made a play for the deal with their sports network Versus, but pulled out of the competition.  If the reported amount is confirmed, the new deal will more than triple the Pac-12's current deals with ESPN and Fox.
Posted on: April 25, 2011 11:50 pm

Big Ten to push back start times?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

For as long as this college football fan can remember, the Big Ten has started its Saturdays in the fall at noon eastern. As a kid growing up in Chicago, this was a pretty sweet deal. I could sleep in a bit on Saturday mornings and when I woke up --BAM! -- college football. Honestly, that habit hasn't really changed much as I've grown older, but it sounds like I may have to watch the ACC and Big East for an hour before the Big Ten games begin. That's because, according to a report in the Quad City Times, Jim Delany is trying to make it so that the noon eastern start times are a thing of the past. Instead, he wants to push the start of Big Ten games back an hour.

Note: The times in the text quoted from the report are in central standard time.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany reportedly is lobbying hard in negotiations with the television networks to do away with them. If Delany has his way, all Big Ten games next season will start at either noon, 3:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.

Many fans objected to the 11 a.m. starts because they cut down on pregame tailgating time and made it difficult for fans who lived several hours away to get to games on time.

Won't somebody please think of the early morning drinkers!?

Seriously, though, it is pretty cool to think that Delany is actually listening to the fans who have been complaining about the lack of proper tailgating time. An extra hour of fun before kickoff doesn't hurt anybody except for those in charge of cleaning up afterward. The question is, just because Delany and the Big Ten want it, will the television networks?

While I'm sure Delany wouldn't have much trouble convincing the Big Ten Network to push back start times, it may not be as easy to do so with ESPN/ABC. ESPN has had games beginning a noon, 3:30pm and 8:00pm for some time now, and I'm not so sure they'll be willing to move everything around just to please the Big Ten. And let's be honest, it's the networks that televise the games who will be the ones deciding when those games start, not the fans attending them.

Posted on: April 25, 2011 1:37 pm

VIDEO: 32 years of college football intros

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Already feeling like you'd hit your own mama, Chris Paul- style, if it meant college football season started tomorrow? Want to feel even more desperate for a kickoff that's still an agonizing four-plus months away?

Of course you do. So watch the following video from YouTube user (and Michigan fan, if it wasn't obvious) "WolverineHistorian," which spends an amazing five-plus minutes documenting 32 years of college football broadcast intros from ABC, ESPN, and of course CBS:

If we could register one minor complaint, it's that the video doesn't include any of the "SEC on CBS" intros of recent vintage, which both we (and we know a number of college football fans) are rather partial to. (Though it makes sense, of course, since none of those broadcasts have featured Michigan.) So to make up for that omission, here's the SEC on CBS intro from the 2006 season:

And now, if you'll excuse us, we're off to find some way of going into suspended animation until mid-August.
Category: NCAAF
Tags: ABC, CBS, ESPN, Michigan, SEC, video
Posted on: April 21, 2011 12:34 pm
Edited on: April 21, 2011 4:29 pm

Belk Bowl moving to primetime

Posted by Tom Fornelli

First of all, if you're like me, you have no idea what the Belk Bowl is. So let's clear that up right away. If you weren't aware, what was formerly known as the Meineke Car Care Bowl has now become the Belk Bowl. Though that's not the only change going on with the Belk Bowl, as it was announced on Thursday that the inaugural version of the Belk Bowl will be held in primetime for the first time in the game's decade long history.

“We are excited to announce that we will be playing the Belk Bowl in primetime for the first time,” said the bowl's executive director Will Webb in a release. “The bowl has been a tremendous success, both on the field and off. With this being the first year of Belk’s title sponsorship, we are looking forward to our best year ever. Playing the game at night for the first time will be a great opportunity to expand the reach of the game, both in the Charlotte community and nationally on ESPN. We are very proud that we have been chosen to kick off a week of primetime bowl action.”

Which is great news, I suppose, but if you're like me the only thing you're trying to figure out right now is what the heck Belk is. Do not fear, for I did the research for you. Belk is a Charlotte-based department store company, and their sponsorship of the game runs through 2013. 

The Belk Bowl annually matches up a team from the ACC and Big East, with USF defeating Clemson 31-26 in the game's final year of being known as the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Click here for the most recently updated 2011-2012 Bowl Schedule


Posted on: April 18, 2011 12:28 pm

Big East and ESPN discussing extension

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Big East and ESPN have had a business relationship for 32 years and the two entities are currently at work to make sure that relationship lasts even longer. The current television deal between ESPN and the Big East runs through 2013, but both sides are currently negotiating a new deal, and early indications are that the new deal will be extremely helpful for the Big East. At the moment, the Big East receives $36 million annually from its deal with ESPN. The new contract that is in the preliminary rounds of discussion could see the conference more than tripling that income.

Sources indicate the early numbers range from $110 million to $130 million annually, but conference sources describe those figures as a starting point for any negotiation. The initial offer would fall short of the $155 million annual payout the ACC will receive from ESPN in a deal that kicks in this summer. But the bold push by ESPN shows the network wants to lock down college rights in the face of increasing competition.

Now, while you might think that the Big East would be in a rush to sign any deal that more than triples its income, that's not the case. Not everybody within the conference is as willing to sign with ESPN right now, but would rather test the open market. Which seems somewhat ridiculous. If your boss came up to you today and said he wanted to triple your salary, odds are that you wouldn't tell the boss that you'd like to see what you'd rather test unemployment first.

Of course, the job economy is quite different than the television rights for major college conferences at the moment.

Just look at the Big 12. A year ago at this time people were basically writing the eulogy for the Big 12 as the conference was losing Nebraska and Colorado, and seemed to be on the precipice of losing Texas and Oklahoma as well. As we know now, the Big 12 did not die, and just signed a new deal with Fox Sports last week that is going to bring in $90 million a year for the conference, while Texas and Oklahoma are busy starting their own networks. Also, if the Big 12 could get $90 million, then you know Larry Scott and the Pac-12 are sitting around licking their chops.

So odds are that if the Big East did decide to test the open market, it may be able to get more than what ESPN is already offering, even if it may still wind up being ESPN signing the check. Now, obviously, the reason the Big East is able to command so much money is not because of football. The conference's basketball league is what really drives the price up, but this new deal could go a long way in improving the conference in football.

If nothing else, it may help keep schools like Pitt and Syracuse around and not looking to relocate. After all, just because the Big Ten says it's done expanding, that doesn't mean it is, and both Pitt and Syracuse came up as expansion candidates with the Big Ten before the conference decided to stop at Nebraska.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com