Unlike the major college conferences, Conference USA has a group of TV deals. C-USA has a deal with four networks, American Sports Network, beIN Sports, CBS Sports Network and ESPN. In addition, the conference launched its own in-house online network, C-USA TV which runs on a subscription model.
It makes for a patchwork TV schedule for fans hoping to see their favorite teams. This deal announced last year runs for two years and also garnered $10 million less in rights fees from the conference’s previous deals with CBS, ESPN and Fox Sports.
Now after assessing how the deals worked for the 2016 football season and the current basketball campaign, conference officials have an idea of how things are working.
beIN Sports has been praised for how its treating Conference USA games. Its first foray into college sports after solely focusing on international sports has been seen as a success. But being in only 22.7 million homes as compared to ESPN’s 87.859 million is a major hurdle.
Conference USA Commissioner Judy MacLeod tells the Daily News Journal she’s impressed by their production and their preparation, but she’s concerned about their distribution:
“They have always been well prepared and the production quality is great,” MacLeod said. “If we can figure out the distribution to increase that, it’s just really been a great partnership.
“We’ve been their first college partner and have done a great job for us.”
American Sports Network has added some exposure, but its production is seen as inferior to beIN and CBS Sports Network.
So the conference is expected to review its deals and either renew its current contracts or perhaps drop a partner. As Conference USA forges ahead, it hopes to find a way to make up for the lost revenue from the last contract and bring more viewers into its fold.