The NFL is plowing ahead with plans for its 2020 season. For college football though, it isn’t so easy. There is no commissioner in college sports, no central authority that can lay out a blanket ruling all conferences and schools must follow. Instead, it is up to individual conferences and their commissioners to make decisions on the upcoming football season.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told Emily Caron of Front Office Sports that he intends to have a decision by June or July. He acknowledges that the ability to play football will largely depend on state lawmakers in the conference’s footprint.
“We have tried to coordinate with public health officials, and we’ve tried to coordinate with governor’s offices because ultimately, that’s where these decisions are going to be made,” Bowlsby said on Front Office Sports’ video series Fundamentals. “They’re going to empower university presidents and chancellors and boards of trustees to go and make their own decisions as to how they’re going to operate their university. I think most of the decision dates for our schools are somewhere between early June and late July in terms of just exactly what the fall is going to look like. Those of us that are involved in the athletics enterprise are going to have to be responsive. I don’t think we can drive those decisions. That’s the tail wagging the dog, I think.”
Bowlsby described the window between mid-June and early July as “the sweet spot” for making a decision. He doesn’t foresee there being enough information to determine whether or not it is safe to resume practices before then. His goal is still to begin the season on Labor Day weekend.
Finally, Bowlsby made it clear that he wants fans to be prepared for an untraditional season. He told Caron that he expects changes in a number of areas including facility operations, travel, sanitation, health, and wellness testing, fan experience adjustments, and venue spacing.
Even with an abundance of caution, Bowlsby says that there is no reason to assume everything goes off without a hitch.
“I just think college campuses are Petri dishes for infectious diseases. They always are. There are lots of people, and they’re living in close quarters, and they’re partying and interfacing, and there’s just lots going on. Some of that is going to find itself in the athletics population.”
FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage
“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”
The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.
Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.
“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.
Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.
How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.
NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake
“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”
The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.
“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”
Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.
Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.
Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”
Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handle Games ‘On Any Stage’
“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”
Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.