Sunday, August 25, 2013

NY Times: ESPN is College Football's Puppetmaster

Posted By on Sun, Aug 25, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Do you know why there isn't a start time printed on tickets for hundreds of college football games, including some Boise State games? ESPN. Under its contracts with most college football conferences, ESPN has the right to set kickoff times and wait until 12 days before game day, or in some cases only six, to inform universities.

In fact, ESPN's grip on all of college football is staggering.

This morning's New York Times details how some games are not just televised by ESPN; they're the creations of ESP. In particular, the first games of the season are usually ESPN concoctions. This year's 2013 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic, featuring Alabama and Virginia Tech, were crafted by ESPN programming czars. Additionally, the Times says ESPN helped create next Saturday's Texas Kickoff Classic and the Cowboy Classic. In many way, the article points out, Boise State's prominence as a "football powerhouse" is due to ESPN's influence.

This season, ESPN channels will televise about 450 college games. ESPN's closest competitor, Fox, will show 50 on various networks.

The Times reports that every Monday morning during the season, "ESPN's football brain trust meets in a room in Building 12 on the network's sprawling campus in Bristol, Conn., to consider options for coming games and make sure the hottest teams get the choicest times on each of its channels."

Boise State fans know this process well and have been subjected to schedule changes a few days before game time.

Boise State's Mountain West Conference has a contract with the CBS Sports Network, yet four of this season's Broncos games are already slated for one of the ESPN platforms.

And the starting times for three more games are subject to change.

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