On Tuesday afternoon, we found out that the Big East has hammered out all of the national television assignments for the remainder of the women’s basketball season. As such, we now know that six of Marquette’s remaining 17 conference games will be televised on national television. In a weird schedule quirk, three of them are in MU’s next seven games.
Here’s the list, in chronological order:
Sunday, January 3: vs DePaul, 1pm Central, FS1
Sunday, January 17: at St. John’s, 1pm Central, FS1
Sunday, January 24: at Butler, TBD, FS1
Saturday, February 14: at Providence, TBD, FS2
Saturday, February 27: at Villanova, TBD, FS2
Monday, March 1: at Connecticut, 7pm Central, CBS Sports Network
As you would probably expect given their third place prediction in the league to start the season, Marquette is a big beneficiary of the television assignments this season. DePaul is the only other team in the Big East to be assigned to six national television broadcasts, and St. John’s is running in second place behind the Golden Eagles and the Blue Demons with four spots.
I am curious about Fox’s sudden interest in putting more college basketball on television. Last year, Megan Duffy’s team made three national television appearances before the Big East tournament, all on FS2. This year, they’ll be a part of six broadcasts, all in the final 17 games of the league schedule, which is of course one fewer game than all of the 2019-20 Big East season, and three of them are on FS1. To step outside Marquette’s schedule for a second, Fox Sports is putting the January 31st game between UConn and DePaul on big broadcast Fox, marking the first time a women’s game will be broadcast on that station. Over on the men’s side of the aisle, every single Big East game — not just Marquette’s — is on either Fox, FS1, FS2, or CBS Sports Network this season. Does Fox Sports have some advertising dollars to make up from cancellations and postponements over the spring and summer? Are they more protective of their inventory now that the parent company no longer owns the regional sports networks that the games would get farmed out to in the past? It’s a net positive for fans, so this isn’t a complaint on any level. It is interesting to see, though.
Of course, you’re probably wondering why Connecticut isn’t getting a bigger stage on FS1. The Huskies have their own deal with SNY to televise all of their games. Those games are available to anyone outside the SNY primary region to be streamed for free via Fox Sports, and so there’s not as much of an importance for Fox to put the games on. In addition to that, I suspect SNY’s deal with Connecticut requires the Huskies to provide them were a certain minimum number of games, which is why UConn only has three Big East games on either FS1, FS2, or CBS Sports Network. Marquette’s February 5th home game against UConn is one of the games on SNY, so we will talk more about that when the time comes.
Marquette’s remaining 10 games in Big East action are all scheduled for streaming broadcast on FloHoops. It appears that all of the FloHoops games, both home and road, will be DAYTIME BASKETBALL~! games, no matter what the day of the week is. From the road team’s perspective, I appreciate what the Big East is doing here. With no fans in attendance, or very few fans at the very least, due to the still inexplicably ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you don’t need to worry about playing games at a time that’s best to draw a crowd. So, you schedule the game so the road team can arrive in time for dinner the night before, get a good night’s sleep, wake up, have breakfast, go through pregame preparations, play the game, and go home. No reason to be hanging around in hotels for any longer than you have to when the teams can’t really justify wandering around whatever city they’re in for extended periods of time. Does it make road trips extremely less interesting than in the past? Yes, but that’s the cost of doing business this season. It’s not particularly convenient for those of us with jobs that keep us away from a screen to watch the stream, sure, but the league needs to do the best thing for their athletes. At least FloHoops’ archiving process is nearly instantaneous so you can catch up on a game almost immediately after it ends.