Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany (USA Today Sports)
How does Friday night Big Ten football sound?
We've seen an influx of weeknight prime-time college football games, particularly on Thursdays, in recent years. Now, according to Andy Baggot of the Wisconsin State Journal, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany “is trying to get feedback” from schools about the potential for Friday night games as the next series of television deals are negotiated.
While the current TV deals run through 2016 (Fox’s broadcast of the conference title game) and 2017 (ESPN/ABC for regular season games), Big Ten administrators will meet this week in Chicago and the possibility of Friday night games will be a topic of conversation.
“If the networks want Big Ten games on Friday nights – a night traditionally reserved for high schools – Delany wants to know where his constituents stand and an idea of what a commitment like that would be worth.”
Baggot says that “Friday games might be once every three or four years,” so in that context, it could be an interesting idea. On the other hand, if the Big Ten were to agree to have several Friday night games per season, it could potentially impact recruiting. High school games across the country take place on Friday nights, so prospects wouldn't be able to make visits or even watch those games.
Both the WAC and Mountain West have had many Friday night games in recent years. The appeal of being the only college game on a particular night for smaller conferences is understandable. If the networks want it, the Big Ten may be willing to give it a shot. Money talks, after all.
Another talking point is the possibility of night games in late November, when temperatures may dip well below freezing. Wisconsin, for example, has never had a night game in late November at Camp Randall Stadium, but night games and prime-time audiences are obviously big money makers.
With the current TV contracts not ending for a few more years, we’re still a few years away from this possibly coming to fruition, but it is still something to keep an eye on moving forward.
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