Fukowi posed an interesting question the other day. Is Boston College basketball being pushed to the fringes of the ESPN broadcast spectrum due to last year's last place finish?
Basketball television question - it seems like a high percentage of our games are on ESPN3 rather than television (including regionally televised on NESN or WSBK). Are we being televised less than we have in the past? Are we being televised less than most other ACC teams? What impact is our record having on this?
While it does seem like a lot of BC's games are relegated to the internet, this is still an improvement on last year's BC television broadcast schedule. At least when it comes to the early season non-conference schedule.
In non-conference play, there are a lot of commonalities between the 2011-12 broadcast schedule and the 2012-13 one. All three holiday tournament games were televised on ESPNU -- Saint Louis, UC-Riverside and New Mexico in last year's 76 Classic and Baylor, Dayton and Charleston in this year's Charleston Classic. This year's ACC Big Ten Challenge matchup with Penn State (ESPNU) was the same as last year's ACC Big Ten Challenge matchup against ... Penn State (ESPNU). Similarly, the Harvard and Providence games were relegated to the internets.
Still, there were three non-conference games last season -- New Hampshire (last year's season opener!), Holy Cross and Sacred Heart -- that went completely untelevised. This year, the first in the ACC's new TV media rights deal with ESPN, the Eagles are guaranteed to have every game on ESPN3 at a minimum. That's an improvement over the old TV media rights agreement that would see at least a couple non-conference matchups covered only by local radio and on bceagles.com as an audio feed.
In total, the 2011-12 non-conference schedule had five games on ESPN3, four on ESPNU two on NESN and three going untelevised. This year, with two less non-conference games on the sched, BC drew eight games on ESPN3, four games on ESPNU and two on NESN. On net, an increase over the previous year's deal when it comes to coverage of Eagles' non-conference hoops games on TV.
Conference play is another, slightly more confusing story. With two more conference games this season, you'd think BC would end up on TV more, not less, often. That doesn't appear to be the case. This season has just four conference games (of 18) on one of ESPN's TV networks -- the ACC home opener vs. N.C. State on January 5 (ESPN2), at Maryland on January 22 (ESPNU), North Carolina on January 29 (ESPNU) and Duke on February 10 (ESPNU). The remaining 14 games will be televised by either the ACC Network or NESN.
That's actually down from last season, where BC got five games (of 16) on either ESPN2 or ESPNU. The Clemson game ended up on ESPN2, while the Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Duke games all ended up on ESPNU. The rest of the ACC schedule either ended up on TV 38 (~ today's ACC Network) or NESN.
Certainly only one metric and this analysis is highly subjective based on the weight you place on being on TV 38 vs. NESN vs. ACC Network. But I think the number of games on one of the ESPN TV networks (as well as percentage of ACC games on an ESPN) is a pretty important one.
This is where I think BC's performance last season -- relative to the rest of the ACC -- really hurts the program's ability to get on a national network. When games against Duke, N.C. State, Maryland and ACC champ Florida State are winding up relegated to the ACC Network, the program may in fact be suffering from a lack of exposure on national TV.
The overall media broadcast exposure for Boston College basketball has never been better. At the same time, the national TV exposure appears to be lacking in recent seasons.