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August 16, 2009

Night Games and the SEC TV Contract

Mmmmm.....Night Games (Image: BusinessWeek)

David Paschall of the Chattanooga Times Free Press wrote a lengthy, informative article about the new SEC TV contract and the rise in night games going forward. The article states:
Last season, 54.2 percent of games involving SEC teams (52 of 96) had morning or afternoon kickoffs. This season, only 39.6 percent (38 of 96) are projected as daytime starts.
On a typical week, you're going to have about 6 SEC games televised. They will be picked in this order*:
    1. CBS 3:30
    2. ESPN Night Game (7 pm or later)
    3. ESPN2 Night Game (7 pm or later)
    4. ESPNU Night Game (7 pm or later)
    5. ESPN-Regional 12:21 PN
    6. Fox Sports South or CSS (7 pm or later)
    7. Any other games would be at night.
In other words, on a typical week 2 of 6 games in the day time. That's because the CBS 3:30 pm start is an exclusive time slot with only a limited exceptions number of exceptions per year for twilight starts on the ESPN Networks at 6:30 or 6:00 pm.

The bigger exceptions are the two CBS double header weekends. This year those exceptions are Oct. 10th (3:30 and 8:00 kickoffs for CBS) and Nov. 14th (3:30 and 12 pm). The 8:00 pm kickoff has always been an exclusive time slot for CBS. That means ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPU would in theory have to run day games if they want to show other games.

What does that mean for the Dawgs Kickoff Times:
The short answer...there are 33% more night games per season across the league. With the top half of the league logically getting an unbalanced larger share of those games at night. So instead of getting 1-2 night games per season in Athens you can expect about 3 going forward.

Our Oct. 10th game vs. Tennessee in Knoxville will likely be at noon on one of the ESPN Cable Networks as the double header will more likely be UF at LSU (8:00 pm) and Bama at Ole Miss (3:30 pm). Playing the Vols at noon as the road team would be a good thing for UGA. That's what time the Hobnail Boot game kicked off, and the big Vol crowd would be more docile.

It also means that the Auburn home game could kickoff at noon on CBS. UF at SC sounds like a 3:30 pm game. The other big games of the day which would be a candidate for the CBS noon slot are AU at UGA and UT at Ole Miss. Starting vs. AU at noon would suck, but...

The UK at UGA game looks like a night game now. The big CBS game of the day on Nov. 21st is LSU at Ole Miss.

My revised Bulldog Schedule Projections:

Date Opponent TV Network Time Confirmed? Tickets
9/5 at Oklahoma St. ABC 3:30 Yes Tickets
vs. S. Carolina ESPN2 7:00 Yes Tickets
at Arkansas ESPN/ESPN2 7:45 Yes Tickets
vs. Arizona St. No Idea TBD No Idea** Tickets
vs. LSU CBS 3:30 Estimated Tickets
10/10 at Tennessee ESPN2/ESPNU 12:00 Estimated Tickets
10/17 at Vanderbilt ESPNU 7:00 Estimated Tickets
10/24 BYE WEEK

10/31 vs. Florida (Jax)
CBS 3:30 Yes Tickets
vs. Tenn. Tech PPV 1:00 Estimated Tickets
11/14 vs. Auburn CBS 12:00 Estimated Tickets
11/21 vs. Kentucky ESPN2/ESPNU 7:00 Estimated Tickets
11/28 at Georgia Tech ABC 3:30 Estimated Tickets

*Not every station will pick every week, but that's a good rough estimation.

**ASU vs. UGA will depend on how Georgia does the first three games. Arkansas at Alabama is another strong game that day. We could be a night game or a 3:30 start. I lean towards this being at night.

See Also:
-- JimFromDuluth's TV Projections - Anti-Orange Page
-- 2009 SEC Composite Schedule
-- Play more games at night - Bulldog Illustrated
-- Georgia Bulldogs 2009 Football Tickets



Anonymous said...

FWIW, it will not matter what time the Ufk kickoff is, the crowd will be docile.

You can still pick up season tix packages on the Ufk athletics website if you are so inclined. Will cost you about $800.00, but still pretty cheap.

Ryan Scates said...

Good stuff Paul. Thanks for the link.

Hobnail_Boot said...

What time was the '07 UFK debacle? I'm thinking it was early.

Sop Sign said...

What is the deal with the blog/message board types using UFK?


Anonymous said...

07 UTK was at 3:30. I sat through every misearble second baking in the hot sun.

Paul Westerdawg said...

I'm pretty sure that "UFK" means:

University of Football-Knoxville

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