Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How BYU Squeezed 10 Games into ESPN’s Full Slate

In light of last winter’s TV time slot fixed pie analysis, the fact that BYU has been able to gobble up 10 ESPN appearances this season, has been not only unexpected, but almost unbelievable—there weren’t 10 slots available! The actual contract with ESPN is for a minimum of 4 games—at least 3 games on either ESPN/ESPN2/ABC, at least one on ESPNU, and one exclusively on BYUtv. Thus, leaving one game (or possibly two in a 7 home game season like 2011) where ESPN has first option.

As mentioned, only two of this year’s games will not be on ESPN—a road game at Oregon St. (which OSU has TV prerogative over, and will likely end up on FSN), and Idaho St. (which fills the one game exclusive BYUtv contractual obligation.)

So where did the 10 game slots come from? A good question that deserves a closer look… Here is where this season’s games will be televised:

3 ESPNU (1 guaranteed, the other 2 probable—on ESPN networks, but could be picked up by ESPN/2)

Here are the time slots (and contracts) being filled:
Ole Miss—Saturday afternoon (SEC)
Texas—Saturday evening (B12)
Utah—Saturday late (BYU ESPN2)
TCU—Friday (BYU ESPN—neutral, but BYU is designated home team)
Idaho—Saturday TBD (BYU ESPNU)
Hawaii—Saturday, week 14 bonus, late game (WAC)

So what is incredible, is that BYU was able to get 10 games on one of the ESPN channels without taking any of the prime slots (Saturday noon, 3:30p, and 7p EST) on ESPN or ESPN2 all of which are already contractually spoken for.

-2 Saturday prime time games fill other conference obligations (SEC, B12)
-1 Saturday late game is during the bonus week 14 and fills another conference obligation (WAC)
-7 games are BYU “hosted”, of those…
     -1 Saturday late slot ESPN2 (many of these available)
     -3 Friday slots ESPN (many available)
     -3 Saturday ESPNU slots, time still TBD (which may have been negotiated to fill part of the 6 required WAC ESPNU broadcasts, or may start in the late time slot)

So there you have it. Despite no time slots really “available”, the Cougars were able to get 10 games on the Sports Leader, and 7 of those on either ESPN or ESPN2. Nice work, Tom, Dave, and Co.


  1. Two comments:

    I wouldn't call Hawaii a late game. Kickoff time was moved to 7:30 Eastern time, 5:30 Mountain.

    The Oregon State game will most likely be on Verses, with a chance at ESPN. FSN passed on the slate of games that day. If Verses and ESPN don't pick it up, it will go the way of most Utah games and be picked up using whatever local deal Oregon State strikes.

  2. Great to see that the Hawaii game time moved up into prime time. Also would be nice if ESPN were able to pick up the OSU game.

  3. I wonder how many cable/satelite packages were changed this past summer to not include the mtn. Too bad...for all the teams that are still left on that channel.