Monday, October 15, 2012

I've seen the future of BC start times and it is 11 AM kickoffs

BC and Maryland will play at 1 PM and the game will be available online via ESPN3. While few seem to like the internet broadcasts, everyone raves about the 1 PM kickoff. I guess it is the perfect timeslot for tailgating, getting to the game and still having time left on your Saturday. For all those fans of the 1 PMers, I have a warning: don't get used to it. With the changing TV landscape I don't see many 1 PM starts in our future.

Did anyone watching Louisville-Pitt this week? ESPN2 showed the game nationally and it started at 11 AM Eastern. This makes a lot of sense for ESPN. It provides live football action opposite GameDay and allows for staggered starts across all their networks. Just like the Friday night timeslots, the 11 AM is becoming more popular with teams as it allows for national exposure and more money. The success of the broadcast means ESPN is just going to add more and more games on ESPN 2 at 11. In fact, I predict ESPN will have a full season of 11 AM Saturday kickoffs within the next three years. But the 11 AM poses a unique scheduling challenge. Realisticly the only teams that can really start that early must be in the Eastern Time Zone. That means some MAC, some Big Ten, some SEC, some Big East and all the ACC. Now the Big Ten and SEC will probably avoid the 11 AMers in the near future. Aside from the Central Time Zone challenges facing half their teams, both have more desirable time slots either on their own network or on ESPN's family of networks. The MAC will do it (just look at their embrace of Wednesday games) but they don't provide the cache that ESPN wants. The Big East is ESPN's logical partner for the 11 AM games, but there is a problem. First the expanded Big East is going to have many teams outside the East. Second, there is still a very good chance the the Big East might sign a TV deal with another network. 

Where do you think ESPN will turn if the Big East is gone and none of their other premium partners agree to start their games that early? The ACC will get the first pitch from Bristol. Pitt and Syracuse are willing participants now. Don't you think they will be in the future. BC is contractually obligated to play on Friday nights in the new TV deal. It is not a stretch to think we will also agree to an 11 AM start if it meant national TV. ESPN3 has been a great resource for fans, but public perception and among recruits, it still feels like minor leagues. Having a game on ESPN 2 nationally -- even with an odd start -- is preferred by coaches and TV execs. 

I am o nboard for the early starts but I watch most games on TV and I am rarely in Boston for a tailgate. I hope if ESPN comes calling for ACC Guinea Pigs BC leverages the opportunity to try new things. Maybe have a shortened pregame tailgate for extended post game tailgating. That might fill the stands. But BC should view it as a promotional opportunity because it is not going away. 


Matt said...

Let's hope it's a blessing in disguise...and that BC can argue that we can't have 11am kickoffs because our neighbors don't want that much traffic building up on the streets at 7am.

TeddyE said...

This is off topic, but can someone tell me why Spaz is still there? I got a nice email from vinny today at the Alumni association. I told him no one at BC gets any money out of me until Spaz is gone. Not buying any more merchandise either. Too embarrased. Usually go a BC game, picked Red River Rivalry instead in dallas and that whole experience was awesome, so I get to thank Spaz for that. And AtlEagle, ignore Blauds, he has friendship confused with business. Sometimes you cant have both. I'm also a BC grad- '91

Paul said...

Seems fine to me. I went to grad school in B1G territory and attended plenty of games that started at 11am local. It didn't seem to bother anyone, and to be honest it was kind of nice. However, the tailgating situation was far more lenient there.

Claver2010 said...

It happens elsewhere around the country, as referenced above & Texas-OU was a 11:00 local kickoff.

I just know Alumni would be a complete ghost town for an 11:00 kick unless the product is dramatically improved.

I know people complain about ESPN3 as it provides zero additional eye balls and notoriety (not sure we want any of that this year), but the ability to see all these games (including every single home bball game) is awesome.

EL MIZ said...

this is where Bates needs to use his thinking cap and give BC fans a product worth waking up early for. Claver, it could be a ghost town, but if done right it could also be a nice game day experience. why not relax tailgating rules and allow it to go until 6PM on days of an 11AM kickoff?

the additional exposure is obviously a plus for BC, now its up to the new Administration to make sure the game day on 11AM and all kickoffs to be more fan friendly.

apbc12 said...

Navy just played Air Force in a game that started at 11:30 AM Eastern.

They played in Colorado Springs.

Ry said...

Tailgating hours are explicitly dictated to BC by its license from the City of Boston. I am sure the Athletic Department would love to ease up, but that fight with city hall has not yet been successful (if it has in fact been taken up).

Lenny Sienko said...

The problem with ESPN3 is that it is only available on the major cable packages. Any independent or rural cable outfits have to pay a flat per head fee to get access to ESPN3.

If you have only 1000 subscribers, you're not able to pay the going rates.

The only option for ESPN3 for many is "bootleg" broadcasts of it from Europe.

BTW most of our basketball schedule will be on ESPN3 this season.

Big Jack Krack said...

Lenny - we have to win to get back on ESPN or ESPN2, etc.

Boston College must earn its way back.

I hate it that we are in this position and I hope that Donahue can lead us back - as well as our new football coach.

Look at Syracuse trying to claw its way back in year 4 under Marrone. It won't be easy for us either.

Brad Bates need to pick a real winner to say the least.

Pearl Washington said...

I just went to an 11:15 hame at Ole Miss last weekend. The Grove is a diff animal but everybody tailgated for about 6 hours post game.

In college towns where Friday night droves of people come into town the 11am sucks but at least they have the 6-7 hours after.

Not at BC

Jeff said...

I laughed loudly when I read the headline of this post! Then I kept reading, and it had a rather sobering effect...

eagleboston said...

Hi Teddy,

I wondered the same thing until I read that Bates is currently finishing up his role with Miami and will not officially start at BC until the 22nd. My guess is it will take a few days to settle in and only then will he assess the football situation. Previously, he has stated that he will wait until the end of the season before making a decision. My hope is that he acts sooner but, since he is not even on the job yet, Spaz is safe.