Broadcasting & Cable is reporting that FX is on the verge of announcing a deal that will bring college football games to the network on Saturdays this fall. Conferences that will be involved include the Big 12, newly formed Pac-12, and Conference USA, so fans of perennial powers Texas and USC may be getting familiar with the cable channel (if they haven’t already) starting in September. Broadcasting & Cable’s Jon Lafayette writes that the channel will announce its first three games in June and will slot the rest of its respective games a week or two in advance to “ensure exciting matchups”.
On the surface, I like this move for FX. Sports, particularly football, seriously help the ratings of three major broadcast networks, whether it be through lead-in support (Fox, CBS) or just being able to draw monster primetime ratings (NBC). College football may not draw the same numbers as the NFL (mostly because it airs on Saturdays), but it’s arguably the most debated sport in America and will bring a whole lot of fresh eyes to FX. It can also be used to promote their scripted shows, as college football goes right along with the type of programming that they make (gritty dramas and gleefully raunchy comedies for the 18-34 male demographic), so FX may be getting some bang for their buck with this deal. Rerunning their shows after the games would be another way to take advantage of having college football, as liking one episode can make someone go to iTunes and buy a season or spread the word to their respective friends.
My only concern is cost vs. ratings, as NBC loses money every year with its NFL coverage and Disney moved Monday Night Football to ESPN due to losing money airing it on ABC. FX has grown 19% this year, according to the article, so now may be as good a time as ever to shoot for the moon, but I only hope that the deal doesn’t come back to bite them in the end. If the network can find a way to balance the budget and bring yet another relevant cog to their strengthening machine, then this could be yet another step forward for FX. Who knows? If things go well enough, FX may draw in other conferences and may even feature a bowl game in the near future, which are generally the higher rated football games of the season.
FX will be one of the channels having their upfront presentations this week, so this is just one small bit of good news in what is soon to be a sea of it. Not only are sports returning to FX, but Archer and Justified are said to be nearing 3rd season renewals. Make sure to keep checking TVOvermind for news from the upfronts, including confirmation of said renewals, pilot pick ups, and summer scheduling, just to name a few.
Will you be tuning in this season to FX’s games? Do you think they’ll give the network a boost in the ratings? Why or why not?