Past Four Seasons Football Game Times and TV

Submitted by COLBlue on November 11th, 2018 at 8:49 PM

File this entry under the 'curiousity' category...

We hear a lot of comments about game times each season, with a wide range of preferences heard from different folks about those times.  Now that Michigan's regular season game times are set for the 2018 regular season, I was curious to see what has happened over the four years since Coach Harbaugh has been at the helm.

Here's what I found (these are grouped in to early start - meaning noon ET, mid-afternoon - usually around 3:30pm ET, or late - meaning night games.  ALSO - this is just 'regular season'):

Early Games: 13 home, 8 away.  21 total. (43.75%; 5.25 games per season)

Mid-Afternoon Games: 12 home, 6 away/neutral.  18 total.  (37.5%, 4.5 games per season)

Late Games: 3 home, 6 away.  9 total. (18.75%, 2.25 games per season)


Additionally, I was curious about TV coverage (over the same period)

ABC - 17 games

BTN - 11 games

ESPN (or ESPN2) - 8 games

FOX - 7 games

FS1 - 4 games

NBC - 1 game

That's 25 games on over-the-air TV, and 23 games on 'pay-tv' channels.


Overall thoughts?  An average of 5-6 early games each season, 4-5 mid-afternoon games, and 2-3 late games seems reasonably distributed. (I'd be content with 6 early, 4 mid, and a max of 2 late (1H/1A) per season, but that's just my preference).  That over half of Michgan's games were on over-the-air TV unsurpisingly - and happlily - speaks well of Michgan's TV draw.  I also agree with those who have commented that it would be nice to know further in advance what the game times and TV selections are (College Basketball has almost the whole season known in advance), but, for football at least, that seems to be more universal of the NCAA as a whole, and not just the Big Ten.



November 11th, 2018 at 11:12 PM ^

Have the number of later games (mid afternoon/evening) increased over the last 4 years?

I was (wrongfully) assuming that this was about a change in game time over the Harbaugh tenure.

Harball sized HAIL

November 12th, 2018 at 1:51 AM ^

I was under the same impression as Johnny ^^^^^^ in that I thought your intent was to show some kind of progression or change.  

I would say I notice a slight uptick in games being later but not by a longshot.  Seems like home games were almost all played religiously in the early slot save - maybe - one a year before the stadium upgrade.   But I guess you are talking last four years only.  Uptick in late games for sure.  Gotta keep in mind roughly half the B1G plays in the Central Time Zone.    

FS1 has been airing games for how many years???  Seems like FOX has been airing more games than usual this year as in an all day slate.  Could be wrong.  FOX, FS1, & B1G are all owned by FOX and of course ABC & ESPN are owned by Disney.  Curious to know what the fighting rights are for the games but obviously FOX has the preference.  Also how much of a say these two companies have in when the kickoff times are.  My guess is they have a bit of influence.  I bet this site has probably covered this topic somewhere in the not too distant past.  


November 12th, 2018 at 7:32 AM ^

My take away on timing is the number of late games as away games. it shows that more other teams think that Michigan is their rival or is a big game for them as opposed to Michigan. Who thinks that other teams are just teams.


November 12th, 2018 at 10:35 AM ^

Interesting. I too would like to see the trend line. Feels like there have been more "mid-afternoon" games lately, which by October quickly become night games.

Which in my old-fart opinion sucks at Michigan Stadium for reasons esthetic (fall sunlight beats metal halide), nostalgic ("Toe meets leather at 1:05" —Bo) and practical (warmth; driving home in the dark).

But the conference sold its soul ages ago. And don't get me started on media timeouts!

(Though I'll admit Notre Dame 2011 is in my top 3 games in half a century of attending.)


November 12th, 2018 at 1:04 PM ^

Aren't the ABC/ESPN2 stations determined by the coverage map? For instance, if you live in Ann Arbor the game is on ABC but if you live in Florida the game is on they still do that?


November 13th, 2018 at 10:56 AM ^

Only problem with this study is it spans two different television contracts.  One primarily with ABC/ESPN/BigTen and one that is now mostly a FOXsports contract but includes ESPN/ABC windows but fewer.

Wolverine 73

November 13th, 2018 at 2:26 PM ^

Late games in September are fine, but it seems that other than ND, the September games tend to be early.  By the time November rolls around, anything after an early start sort of sucks, IMO, as it gets cold and dark after 5:00 or so.