A year ago, UConn athletic director David Benedict was upset with the AAC’s new TV deal with ESPN, which relegated a fair chunk of games to ESPN+. That eventually led to UConn leaving the conference for the Big East, which is clearly a better fit for the school’s basketball programs.
However, it was a much worse fit for UConn football, which was being bumped to an independent program. As an independent, UConn would have to negotiate its own football TV deal, and given the school’s struggles on the field (they have played in one bowl game over the last decade, have not finished above .500 since 2010, and have won a total of six games in the last three seasons), any kind of deal better than what they were getting with ESPN through the AAC.
On Monday, UConn and CBS announced a new TV deal that would see four UConn football home games air on CBS Sports Network in 2020, and all home games air from 2021-23.
In 2020, CBS Sports Network will televise the contests against Indiana, Liberty, Middle Tennessee and Army. Additional opponents throughout the duration of the deal include teams from the ACC, Big Ten, Conference USA and Mountain West conferences.
Television information for UConn’s three remaining home games in 2020 will be announced in the coming weeks. All game times will be announced at a later date and the schedule is subject to change.
UCONN! MIDDLE TENNESSEE! IT’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL ON CBS SPORTS NETWORK!
The three home games that will not air on CBS Sports Network this fall (assuming there’s football, which is a caveat that should be written into every article these days) are matchups with UMass on September 3rd, Old Dominion on October 3rd, and Maine on October 10th. The UMass game falls on the loaded first Thursday of the college football season (14 games are scheduled, as opposed to the usual amount in the low single digits), while the two October games come at a crowded part of the season for all college football broadcasters.
Future announced UConn home games over the life of the TV deal include matchups with Purdue (2021), Syracuse (2022), Boston College (2022), Duke (2023), and NC State (2023).
UConn football will not be a primary focus for CBS Sports Network, no matter what both parties may say publicly, due in large part to CBS re-upping with the Mountain West in a deal that will pay the conference an estimated $20 million a year. When you also throw in the deals CBS has with Conference USA and both Army and Navy for their home games, UConn is looking at a situation where they’ll be fifth in the pecking order behind two conferences and two service academies (and you’re naive if you think otherwise).
But hey, it’s linear television! It’s not streaming! That’s what UConn wants, right? It makes sense for UConn to prioritize its basketball programs over its football program because of the comparative success of both of those teams, but it really does seem like football was sold down the river by the athletic department with this deal, unless the rights fee is beyond the low seven figures.