Gee, a ninth conference game sure would be nice…

I don’t follow tennis all that much, so I just learned that CBS will not retain the broadcast rights to the U.S. Open after 2014.  However, as a fan of SEC football, I’m very much aware of the consequences of that.

ESPN’s new ownership of the U.S. Open tennis tournament could mean CBS televises early-season SEC football games starting in 2015.

CBS has carried the U.S. Open every year since 1968, meaning CBS doesn’t begin airing SEC games until the third or fourth week of September. With the U.S. Open leaving for ESPN after 2014, CBS would have to decide whether it wants to use some of its allotted games in earlier weeks, SEC Executive Associate Commissioner Mark Womack said today.

From a viewership standpoint, I don’t think CBS haz a sad over this.  Due to last year’s mediocre slate of games, ratings for SEC on CBS dropped to their lowest level in four years.  But that was still better than twice as much as what the Open pulled.

Here’s the thing – that “some of the allotted games” is kind of a big deal.

In years when college football’s regular season has a typical 13-week calendar, CBS owns 14 regular-season games plus the SEC Championship Game. The regular-season games include one primetime game, an early 11 a.m. doubleheader game prior to its usual 2:30 p.m. time slot, and a game on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

That’s a tight squeeze in ordinary years.  But in years when there’s an extra week to the season, CBS, with the Open gone, wouldn’t have enough product to broadcast every week if it so desired.  Seems like there’s a pretty obvious way to solve that problem, no?

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Gee, a ninth conference game sure would be nice…

  1. 81Dog

    are you hinting that Mike Slive might say to CBS, “Hey. You have all the money you’re saving by not renewing your US Open tennis rights. Throw some at the SEC and we’ll give you a couple more game to fill your Saturday holes.”

    I don’t know how that would fit with the SEC’s new deal with ESPN, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn Slive is parachuting negotiators down on Black Rock in Manhattan as we speak. All that money is going to go someplace; might as well come south, right?

  2. Ubiquitous Ga Alum

    They should ditch that nooner, with it’s B-team crew, and show the UGA-USCish game every year … That would generate more interest due to the early season excitement & implications.

  3. wnc dawg

    I haven’t seen it discussed or if it’s even known publicly, but is anyone aware of the details of CBS’ loss of exclusivity? Does it impact the picking order of the double header or have any other implications? Perhaps a double header makes little sense without all SEC eyes on the games and they start up in week 2 each year.

  4. PTC DAWG

    CBS gets first pick….

    I don’t want to just play GT OOC so I guess I am for 8 SEC games.

    I still say you can rotate the other 6 (not AU in our case) from the West and play them every 3 years….it works…

  5. WarD Eagle

    The sad thing about ESPN picking up all these events is they somehow manage to leave behind the on-air talent that helps make the events great only to have us listen to ESPN hacks 7 &13b.