For all the worry about conference realignment hurting non-powerhouse football schools (or just non-football schools), like those in the Big 5 and Drexel, things shook out surprisingly well. The A-10 has an ESPN-NBC-CBS Sports deal and the Big East has a FOX-CBS deal, meaning dozens of local games will be broadcast on national TV.
All of sudden, ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN U aren’t the only options for nationally televised games. Oddly, the TV revenue that helped break apart conferences and hurt smaller programs also helped those same smaller programs get exposure. Villanova will play every one of its 31 regular season games on national TV (most on FOX Sports 1). Temple will play over 20 games on national TV (most on ESPN channels). La Salle will have at least 15 (a smattering of ESPN, FOX, CBS and NBC networks). And even little St. Joe’s (sorry, can’t help myself) will have around a dozen (ESPN, CBS and NBC networks). And then there’s Penn!
As a Nova guy, I couldn’t be happier with how things turned out for the Big East. It could have been very bad for schools like Villanova, Georgetown and St. Johns, but the conference avoided doom by A) keeping the Big East name, B) keeping Madison Square Garden for the tournament, C) adding relatively notable teams like Xavier and Butler, and (D) signing a deal with FOX Sports, which has a ton of money invested in its new networks. I mean, look at this:
Yeah, the ACC and ESPN are still king. But FOX Sports 1 is partially building their network around Villanova, Georgetown and St. John’s. Fantastic!