May 20, 2016

Pitt announced yesterday the start times for the first two games of the season (and the Thursday night game hosting VT, but we all knew that was going to be a 7pm game).

The season opener against Villanova will be at 1:30 and shown on ESPN3.

The September 10 game against Penn State will be at noon and shown on ESPN or ABC. Disappointing, but not too surprising.


November 3, 2013

Gametime for ND-Pitt

Filed under: Football,Media,Mouse Monopoly,Schedule,TV — Chas @ 12:19 pm

ESPN could wait until noon today to announce. And by god they did. Actually they went 15 minutes past it. Holding ND and Pitt writers and fans hostage with the delay.

Faced with the reality that they have no great options they opted for the ratings bet with ND at night. With VT flopping — Pitt faced Logan Thomas 2 weeks too early it seems — and Miami being crushed by FSU, the VT-Miami showdown lost any real luster of meaning in the ACC Coastal Wheel of Destiny. That sends them to a noon 7pm start.

As I said earlier, there was no value putting ND-Pitt on at 3:30 with two Big 10 games already in that slot. That puts ND-Pitt at night. Not just night. It’s the 8 pm ABC national broadcast. ESPN opted for the guarantee of ratings with ND involved. Even if the game itself will be, um, hard to sell as compelling.

Three home night games this year. Really can’t complain about nooners this year.

October 8, 2013

ODU-Pitt Under the Lights

Filed under: Football,Media,Schedule,TV — Chas @ 6:20 am

Pitt will host Old Dominion at night on a Saturday, because… well I’m not really sure.

Initial guess, was that it to do with the possibilities of the Pirates being in the NLCS, but that didn’t makes sense as it would suggest a noon game for the NLCS. Sure enough it doesn’t. It would be a Game 7 at LA. No way that would be anything but a night game.

So that’s kind of weird for a 1-AA opponent that will be a RSN televised game to get a 7pm slot. The downside meaning missing most, if not all, of the FSU-Clemson game at 8pm that night. I’m not complaining, though, since it guarantees to be an overnighter for me in the ‘Burgh.


July 28, 2013

Nary a Bubble in Rights Fees

Filed under: Media,Money,TV — Chas @ 9:30 am

If it wasn’t for live sports, I’d probably be a cord cutter. It isn’t that I dislike stuff on TV. Far from it. I watch plenty. It’s just that it is all time-shifted and when I get around to it. I’m not overly concerned about being at the water-cooler discussing last night’s Archer.There’s stuff over 2 years old on my DVR that I still haven’t gotten around to watching (no spoilers for the season/series finale of Awake, please). So between on-demand subscription services and the ever-dropping prices of series on DVDs, the wife and I could easily save money and drop DirecTV. But for sports.

People like me are the reason those rights fees keep rising. It is mostly immune to time-shifting which means sitting through ads, promos and everything else. In light of the recent spate of new rights deals for college sports programming. Along with the new FoxSports1 and their negotiations for carriage. Well it means cable/satellite TV rates keep going up.


June 10, 2013

In case you weren’t already aware of this, there won’t be an ACC Network for at least 3 or 4 years. There are some issues to overcome. There is a whole infrastructure to set up. Even the SEC Network that has been announced was more than two years in the works.

For the ACC, there are some added layers that complicate thing. Such as their deal with Raycom.

The Sports Business Daily did a fine — if somewhat pessimistic piece — detailing the hurdles to a ACC Network.

The main roadblock is rights. When it signed its ACC deal in 2010, ESPN and Charlotte-based Raycom Sports cut a deal that grants Raycom the ACC’s digital and corporate sponsorship rights, plus a heavy dose of live football and basketball games. Through a sublicensing agreement, Raycom owns the rights to 31 live football games and 60 live men’s basketball games.

Even if the conference is able to buy back those rights from Raycom, a second roadblock remains. Raycom sublicensed 17 of those football games and 25 of those basketball games to Fox, which carries the games on its regional sports networks throughout the ACC footprint. Live local sports programming is important to Fox’s RSNs, and they are not likely to give up those games cheaply.

The games that stay with Raycom make up the ACC’s long-running syndicated package that is distributed to more than 50 million households on over-the-air networks, and reaches 25 of the top 50 U.S. TV markets.

Those deals extend through 2027.

It’s unlikely that ESPN will try to launch a channel without those rights. ESPN brought all of those rights — TV, digital, sponsorship — together as it formed the SEC Network, which launches in August 2014.

That’s because a syndicated model that the ACC follows (and the SEC had been operating) really doesn’t work when you want your own channel.


May 15, 2013

It’s All About Conference Stability

Filed under: ACC,Conference,Media,TV — Chas @ 6:16 am

For all the chaos and angst regarding the football and basketball teams with players coming and going, it somehow makes sense that for the first time in more than ten years there is a calm — nay, giddiness — over how positive things are for Pitt athletics as a whole now that the membership in the ACC is weeks away. There’s no worrying over rumors of new expansiopocolypse. There’s no concerns about being insanely behind every other conference in terms of money and media exposure. There’s actual confidence in the conference structure and the commissioner actually knowing what he is doing and not trying to serve two masters.

The ACC meetings are taking place, and the buzzword is stability.


February 13, 2013

There is still so much for the splintering Big East to resolve. There’s no shortage of rumors and reports of how the Big Priest portion would love to be split in time for the 2013 season. That, however, seems to be an impossibility. From setting up a new conference — hiring people, finding a commissioner, getting NCAA recognition for an auto bid to the NCAA Tournament, and so forth — to the very thorny issue of the money reserves in the Big East — all the exit fees, NCAA Tournament units particularly.

Then there is the issue of poaching programs from other conferences to get to a 10-12 team conference.

[Outgoing Xavier AD Mike] Bobinski said if Xavier receives the expected offer from the departing Big East schools to become one of its new members then it would have to listen. It would be situation where there were like-minded schools with a common purpose. He also said that 2014 would be more realistic for any movement while 2013 could be a bit rushed, although everything is negotiable. He didn’t say Xavier would definitely leave, but it sure sounded like the Musketeers have given this a lot of thought and are likely gone if asked, whenever that occurs. Xavier and Butler are expected to be first up on the docket to join Georgetown, Marquette, DePaul, St. John’s, Villanova, Seton Hall and Providence — with the choice for a 10th or possibly 11th or 12th coming from a pool of Creighton (MVC), Dayton, Richmond, VCU and Saint Louis (all A-10).

Sorry, Duquesne.


September 26, 2012

Lists and TV Schedules

Filed under: Basketball,Media,Schedule,TV — Chas @ 8:44 am

Well, college basketball season is getting closer. As you have probably heard, Pitt is bringing back Midnight Madness in a unique way. The Panthers will have their first official practice outside, on a court set up on Bigelow in the shadow of the Cathedral. The event takes place on Friday, October 12. Which just happens to also be homecoming weekend.

The entire event will be livestreamed on ESPN3, and the ESPNU Midnight Madness show will be doing live look-ins.

Pitt has also finalized their TV schedule. There will be some games that are simply unavailable to those who don’t live in the Pittsburgh/Western Pennsylvania area. Those will be some of the games that air on Pittsburgh Panthers TV, which is a Comcast only channel. The scrimmage, two exhibition games and four patsy games — Oakland (Nov. 17), Howard (Nov. 27), Delaware State (Dec. 19) and Kennesaw State (Dec. 23).

Some games will be ESPN3 streaming only. With one surprise: Mount St. Mary’s (Nov. 9), Detroit (Dec. 1), the City Game vs. Duquesne at Consol Energy Center (Dec. 5), North Florida (Dec. 8) and Bethune Cookman (Dec. 15). The City Game being streamed only is a hell of an indictment on how far Duquesne has fallen at this point, and the expectations. Not even regional/ROOT Sports interest in broadcasting it.


August 16, 2012

Okay, football stuff coming later. First a bunch of links to touch on some other topics.

The daily bomb threats on Pitt’s campus last spring should not re-occur. The FBI has their man (sort of). It’s as weird as possible.

A 64-year-old, wheelchair-using Scottish man from Dublin, who already has served a prison sentence for emailing hoax bomb threats, was indicted Wednesday as the person responsible for emailing a series of 40 false bomb threats targeting the University of Pittsburgh during the spring semester.

A federal grand jury in Pittsburgh also charged the suspect, Adam Stuart Busby, with sending emailed bomb threats to federal courthouses in Pittsburgh, Erie and Johnstown and with threatening U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton.

Speaking at a news conference announcing the indictments, Mr. Hickton said Interpol had been alerted to the federal warrant charging Mr. Busby, who currently is in custody in Dublin on a Scottish warrant for similar crimes there. He would not speculate on any timetable for extraditing Mr. Busby from Ireland to face prosecution.

According to The Irish Times, Mr. Busby has multiple sclerosis and is a leader of the Scottish National Liberation Army, which seeks independence for his homeland. He recently was released from prison on a 2010 conviction in Ireland for emailing two false bomb threats in 2006 to Heathrow Airport in London. Those threats, which cited specific international flights, claimed to be from the Scottish National Liberation Army, according to the Times.

Since last month Mr. Busby has been held in custody in Dublin on a European Union warrant seeking his extradition to Scotland for additional charges of sending false threats, according to Irish media outlets. He is charged with making hoax threats in 2010, mostly by email to media organizations, that threatened then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown with a noxious substance, and claimed buildings would be bombed and that the English water supply would be contaminated, Irish news media reported.

The FBI wouldn’t give a reason for why he targeted Pitt for the bomb threats (Editor note: I know this is somehow related to you, McClearn).



October 31, 2011

Did you realize that if you lived outside of the Pittsburgh area and your internet provider does not give you, there was a very real chance of not seeing a Pitt basketball game until the the beginning of December? Terrifying.

Well, the cancelled games from the NBA lockout offer Pitt fans the first tangible benefit. The November 16 game against Long Beach State has been bumped from to ESPNU. It has also been bumped from a 7pm start time to 9pm.

October 4, 2011

Oh Lord, Why Do You Taunt Me?

Filed under: Football,Media,TV — Chas @ 8:00 pm

I’ve railed for a little while about the horror of the Pitt-Rutgers game landing on Yom Kippur. Especially with the USF-Pitt game on Rosh Hashana. Not nearly as upset as On the Banks may be, but I have been relatively peeved about having to be fasting and booze free for the game.

Apparently my resolve and faith were not being tested enough. Calling the 3:30 game on ESPNU will be the unbearable duo of Pam Ward and Dan Hawkins.

Sunset is at 6:57. I will try to make it.

September 22, 2010

Briefly on Panther TV

Filed under: Athletic Department,Media,TV — Chas @ 11:50 am

Yesterday Pitt and Comcast announced a Pitt Panther TV channel.

Pitt and The Comcast Network are proud to announce the launch of Pitt Panthers Television, a breakthrough programming service that will annually present more than 500 additional hours of Pitt athletics coverage to area fans exclusively on The Comcast Network, including live broadcasts of men’s basketball games this season and football coach Dave Wannstedt’s weekly press conferences as well as re-airs of all home football games.

Pitt Panthers Television, which debuts Sept. 21, will also broadcast live football and men’s basketball pre- and postgame shows, women’s basketball games and women’s volleyball games as well as other Olympic sports and original programming. It will also bring rebroadcasts of football and basketball games to Comcast’s Xfinity On Demand platform, allowing Comcast digital customers to enjoy all the Panthers’ great moments whenever they want.

As you would expect it is limited to Western Pennsylvania and some parts of Central PA. It is on channels 188 or 210. As long as you live in the region and are a Comcast subscriber this is a great thing.


September 7, 2010

Ratings, Numbers, Whatever

Filed under: Football,Media,Numbers,TV — Chas @ 6:48 am

A short story that has little context.

The national telecast of the Pitt game on Versus drew an overnight rating of 8.6 in the Pittsburgh market. According to a network spokesperson, it was the highest cable rating of the evening and second overall in the market.

The top rating belonged to the Steelers, who played their final preseason game against Carolina at Heinz Field. The game drew a 30.0 rating on KDKA-2, the local CBS affiliate.

An average of more than 99,000 households tuned into the Pitt game. More than 346,000 viewed the Steelers game.

Now, am I or anyone else really shocked that even an exhibition Steelers game would be the runaway ratings winner in Pittsburgh? Especially when one is on a regular network and the other is on a less than pervasive (semi) sports channel?

No information as to how many households in the Pittsburgh market have Versus, especially compared to KDKA.

To put this in context, since it is hard to compare anything that airs on Versus except the NHL. When the Pens were playing the Red Wings for the 2009 Stanley Cup, game 2 was on Versus. That game got a 26.1 rating in Pittsburgh. Meaning that the Steelers’ exhibition also outdrew the Stanley Cup.

Also to put it in perspective, the highest watched regular season NHL game in Versus’ history (and apparently since 2004) — Pens-Red Wings — drew a 6.7 in Pittsburgh. Which the Pitt game beat.

August 6, 2010

So, How’s That Big East?

Filed under: Big East,Conference,Media,Money,TV — Chas @ 9:31 am

If you want to claim a theme from the Big East Media Day, I think it would be considered, “Hey, we’re still here and doing okay.”

At media day at the historic Hotel Viking, Marinatto hoped all the talk of pillaging and plundering would be put on pause as he rattled off the league’s accomplishments. (The past four years, the Big East has won 72.2% of its non-league games, trailing only the Southeastern Conference. League teams have also won 73% of their bowl games.)

This could be one of the more competitive seasons in league play. “The conference is truly up for grabs,” says Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt, whose Panthers were picked to win the league in the preseason media poll. He says five of the Big East’s eight teams could contend for the league title, given all the inexperience at quarterback. Only three starting QBs are back.

Expectations are modest. Parity is being stressed. As is the fact that there are 3 new head coaches and only 3 teams returning a starting QB.


April 22, 2010

NCAA Tournament Shocker

Filed under: Basketball,Media,Money,NCAA Tourney,TV — Chas @ 1:45 pm

It’s 68 teams not a 96-team expansion.

The NCAA today announced a new 14-year television, internet and wireless rights agreement with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., to present the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship beginning in 2011 through 2024 for more than $10.8 billion. As part of the agreement, all games will be shown live across four national networks beginning in 2011 – a first for the 73-year old championship.

Additionally, CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting have been licensed and will collaborate on the NCAA’s corporate marketing program.

Late Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee unanimously passed a recommendation to the Division I Board of Directors to increase tournament field size to 68 teams beginning with the 2011 Championship. The recommendation will be reviewed by the Division I Board of Directors at its April 29 meeting.

I can’t begin to say how happy I am over this. 4 play-in games is fine. That keeps things relatively stable as there will now by 37 at-large teams.

If as it says, all games will be on TV, that means saving a $65-70 every year on the Mega March Madness package I’ve been getting. That’s a plus.

The day suddenly seems a little brighter.

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