It’s not like you’ve got anything better to do on Friday night.

Big Ten Network programming director Jim Delany is floating his next big idea.

Would you be OK with the University of Wisconsin football team playing an occasional home game on Friday night?

How about a prime time night game in November when sitting outdoors could expose you to uncomfortable conditions?

Both ideas are years away and neither is a certainty, but they are curious talking points for Big Ten Conference administrators meeting this week in Chicago.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is trying to get feedback to be used in negotiating the next series of TV deals for the league. The current contracts run through 2016 (with Fox for the conference football championship game) and ’17 (with ESPN and ABC for regular-season games).

And here’s the paragraph that summarizes everything I know and love about the current state of college football:

If the networks want Big Ten games on Friday nights — a slot traditionally reserved for high schools — Delany wants to know where his constituents stand and an idea of what a commitment like that would be worth.

It feels like there’s a word missing there… I can’t put my finger on it… wait a minute… oh, yeah – fans!

Shit, who am I kidding?  As Jerry Hinnen puts it,

The truth is that as distasteful as Big Ten football on a Friday night must sound to the league traditionalists on first glance, a 14-team league that’s expanded in no small part expressly for the purpose of developing its television network must find ways of maximizing that network — and as of today, Friday nights are a  when it comes to reaching viewers. If, say, Rutgers-Purdue is going to be buried beneath a wave of six other league games on your standard October Saturday, is there really so much harm in moving it to a Friday night and snagging both teams a few more eyeballs?

There might be if you’re a ticket-holding fan, of course. But — sadly — does that even matter with the league already all-in on the Big Ten Network? The Friday experiment may or may not come to fruition, but at this point it doesn’t seem wise to bet against it.

Delany didn’t add Rutgers to the conference because of a concern the Big Ten wasn’t getting enough asses in the seats.  You’ve got to grab those rare untapped resources wherever you can find them.

I give this five years, max, to become a reality.  And it won’t be a once in a blue moon deal when it does.  Stay tuned.

About these ads

17 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football

17 responses to “It’s not like you’ve got anything better to do on Friday night.

  1. TennesseeDawg

    There is nothing going on Sunday mornings around 9AM in the fall. Lets move a game there. And while we are at it, I don’t care for NBA basketball so lets get a couple games in February and March to give us something to watch

  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    So Delaney wants to make his losers play Friday night, against the other motley crew of Friday night games, for a few IKEA commercials in the New York and/or DC market?

    Be my guest.

  3. Russ

    But what about my Friday night MACtion?

  4. BigDawg

    I misread that as You’ve got to grab those rare untapped asses wherever you can find them and then laughed to myself.

  5. I grew up in the midwest and, to be fair, high school football is nearly over by the time the November games would be played. And it isn’t like high school football there is as big as it is here. The hierarchy there in terms of interest is pro football, then college, then high school — and there are pretty big gaps between the interest levels in each.

  6. Macallanlover

    As a CFB fan that always wants to see more games, I like the idea of quality, Friday night matchups. You cannot see all the games you really want to on Saturday so spreading a handful over Thursday and Friday nights is an appreciated bonus to me. Not saying I want UGA games on Friday nights but there are many good Big 12, PAC 12, ACC, and even Big ? games that I would not otherwise see if it weren’t for Thursday and Friday night opportunities. Bring it on. I know there are some here who go to high school games, and understand their concern, but many more of us do not go and having more CFB is never wrong to me.

    • It’s not just high school football I’m thinking about. Can you imagine what Friday rush hour traffic in Gwinnett County would be like if you added thousands of Georgia fans to it?

      • Gravidy

        Hmmm…there’s a pattern of misreading things in this thread. When I first read this comment, I thought you said thousands of Georgia TECH fans. I was all prepared to unleash some lame snarkage before I read it again.

      • Macallanlover

        My comment did not include UGA being involved with Thursday or Friday night home games. The parking and school interruption would never allow it. As I recall, FSU did that once and had to cancel classes to allow fans and tailgates access to normal parking area. Would work on a non-school day but again, my response was about having both Thursday and Friday TV games involving other teams. (I again think UGA should consider playing Clemson on Thursday night to give us another two days preparation time for SC.) Give me a Boise/Oregon game, or Baylor/Ok State type game every week on both Thursday and Friday nights. If Delany wants Wisconsin/PSU, or Iowa/Michigan, bring it on, it is probably the only way I will get to watch it. Otherwise I would prefer more significant games involving the SEC or some other Top 15 teams.

  7. Otto

    This brings up the question:

    If a Big10 team plays on a quiet Friday night will anyone hear it?

  8. Always Someone Else's Fault

    We’ve had Thursday nights forever. I am surprised Friday took this long.

    Question for the board: Sunday 2 p.m. 4-6 Atlanta versus 5-5 Tampa on Channel A. South Carolina versus Ole Miss on Channel B. Which one do you watch?

    • Gravidy

      I’m watching Channel B even if the Falcons are 10-0, and I suspect many others in the SEC footprint would as well. But outside of SEC territory, for similarly chosen regional games, the NFL game would win in a ratings beat down.

    • mdcgtp

      I think Sunday is the provenance of the NFL…so I don’t think that is the answer.

      Senator, this is a “one and done” post for you on the subject as things are pretty black and white here….let’s summarize

      1)Jim Delaney is a douche. Thus, everything he says is somehow spun to hide what he is really trying to accomplish

      2)Taking Rutgers and Purdue off of being the 7th of 7 Big ten games on Saturday and making it a Friday game is an absolute no-brainer from a TV ratings standpoint.

      3)It won’t be a November thing. It will be an all season thing.

      4)He will try to spread it out as best as possible, but fans of Rutgers, Minnesota, Indiana, Maryland, Illinois, Purdue, and perhaps Northwestern and Iowa need to prepare for at least one Friday home game per year and 2-3 overall. Ohio St., MSU, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Penn State will probably be spared home games, but they might be tapped to make the trip to beautiful Piscataway in the foolish belief that anyone in the NYC area might actually care about Rutgers

      5)Is the bottom half of the big ten really any different from the MAC?

      6)Fans adapt. Honestly, we love saturdays because that is what we know, but I love it when there is a compelling thursday night game on TV (which happens about once or twice a month during the season). the real point I am making is if I loved Indiana football (and yes i realize i would probably need my head examined if that were true), I might actually grow to “like” the Friday slot. I could go to the game and watch the games involving better

      7)From the perspective of “importance” and “exposure”, I think UGA playing on Friday night is a non-starter, but again, we are talking about the bottom of the Big Ten. Honestly, if I were Slive, I would be asking myself if I trump Delaney and make Ole Miss, Vandy, Arkansas, and UK play on Fridays. Of course, the flip side is if I am Slive, I might be better off hiding that 7th game because why draw attention to the bottom half of the conference.

    • Otto

      Even if the Falcons were 10-0 against a 10-0 Saints. I would watch the College Game.

  9. Mayor of Dawgtown

    The bigger issue is this: Playing in Piscataway, Madison, East Lansing or Ann Arbor in late November is bad enough, can you imagine also playing the game at NIGHT? First, there wouldn’t be any fans at the game because the temp would be -15 degrees. Second, there wouldn’t be any players in the game because the temp would be -15 degrees.