Inside ASU Football

Oct. 24, 2002

Thanks to all of the fans who have called or e-mailed the office this week to offer congratulations on the Oregon game. What an awesome day to be a Sun Devil! As a coach, I could not be more proud of a group of players and coaches. To come back from 21-0 and win against a team like Oregon, at a place like Autzen Stadium, says a lot about where this program can go. Unfortunately, we can't dwell on that game as we have another huge one this week vs. Washington and their great quarterback, Cody Pickett. I can assure you that we are doing our absolute best to be just as prepared for Washington as we were for Oregon. We really do try to prepare the same way each week, although we might have to alter that a little bit for one of our games down the road.

This week, I have asked Mark Brand, our Director of Media Relations, to explain how the TV policy works within the Pac-10 Conference. Mark and his staff of Rhonda Lundin, Will Phillips, Doug Tammaro, Alex Ryan and Jeff Evans are true examples of what goes on 'Inside ASU Football.' Mark's staff is among the most respected in the country and their work doesn't ever get the accolades it deserves. For example, Mark's staff had quite a bit to do with our new weight room being ranked #1 by 'Sports Illustrated' earlier this year. We appreciate their effort and contribution to our program. With that said, we hope to see you all at Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday night for Homecoming vs. the Huskies.

GO DEVILS!

Hello Everyone,

It is with great pleasure that I write this column for Coach Koetter. I was honored when he asked me to 'fill in' this week.

It has been quite a week in the Media Relations realm of Sun Devil athletics. So many things that have happened this week have reminded me of the fourth week of the 1996 season, after ASU defeated two-time defending national champion Nebraska at Frank Kush Field/Sun Devil Stadium. Our telephones began ringing Sunday morning at 8:30 and have not stopped. Normally, we have to 'solicit' the national media to pay attention to ASU. However, this week they have been contacting us, as well.

We have heard from ESPN College Gameday, which spent all day Wednesday here preparing a story about Terrell Suggs for Saturday's show. They interviewed Terrell, Coach Koetter, coaches Brent Guy and Ted Monachino and Jimmy Verdon, Andrew Walter and Drew Hodgdon. They were very impressed with the quality of people that spent time with them. ESPN's Jeremy Schaap conducted the interviews.

Coach Koetter conducted interviews this week with our local media on Sunday evening, with Fox Sports Net Arizona for the Running With The Devils Show, with our local media at the Monday press conference, with XTRA Radio, with ESPN Gameday, with The Sporting News and Tim Brando, with KJR Radio in Seattle for the Husky pregame show and with ASU's Tim Healey for the Sun Devil Sports Network pregame radio show. Those are just some of the interviews Coach did this week.

We heard from ESPN's Chris Fowler, from Chris DuFresne of The Los Angeles Times and from ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit among many others.

In all, we fulfilled around 300 media requests this week, whether it be in the form of interviews, photographs or information.

At the same time, there must be a balance struck between all of the attention and the weekly preparation for the upcoming football game. My staff works side-by-side with Coach Koetter and his staff to make sure we achieve this balance. We made sure that the week for the players and coaches closely reflected any other week of the season to date. This was very important!

On with the questions. The most-asked question this week was about television and why the Sun Devils have not been on television in each of the past two weeks (vs. Oregon and vs. Washington).

I have enlisted the help of Assistant Pacific-10 Conference Commissioner Duane Lindberg to explain how the league's television contracts work. Below is copy prepared by Duane that explains how it works. The important thing to know is that when Pac-10 games are on ABC and Fox Sports Net, other league schools are not allowed to show their games live in their markets at the same time. This rule protects the networks who pay to own the rights to televise and promote the league's games and to protect their advertisers who support the telecasts.

Here is Duane ...



by Duane Lindberg
Assistant Commissioner/Electronic Communications
Pac-10 Conference

The Pac-10 has two long-term football television agreements. The broadcast network contract is with ABC Sports and runs through the 2006 season. The cable network deal is with Fox Sports Net, which also runs through the 2006 season.

The two agreements were negotiated in 1996-97. The two 10-year deals will provide the Pac-10 with excellent regional and national television exposure and a considerable revenue stream.

People often wonder how the Pac-10's televised games are selected. The process usually starts at least a year in advance. The Pac-10 football schedule is thoroughly reviewed by the television partners and potential adjustments are discussed and implemented to maximize television opportunities.

During the course of a season, ABC will televise 14 Pac-10 games. Fox Sports Net owns the rights to televise 18 Pac-10 games on an annual basis. Starting with the 2002 season, Fox Sports Net will sublicense five or six Pac-10 games per season to Turner Sports, which will air the games on TBS Superstation. When a Pac-10 team plays a non-conference opponent on the road (e.g., Arizona State at San Diego State), the game may be televised as part of the opponent's television package(s). The Arizona State at Nebraska game back on August 24, 2002, was an exempted pre-season contest arranged by an event organizer, who had secured a television agreement with ESPN.

The first required Pac-10 football television selection date prior to the season is May 1, when ABC must pick the games it will televise during the first three weeks of September and other 'selected' contests. The Stanford at Arizona State game on September 28, 2002, fell into this early ABC selection category due to its 12:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time start. Arizona and Arizona State home games in September are played at night unless all parties agree to move the game earlier, which is what occurred with the Stanford at Arizona State game.

Fox Sports Net must select the games it will televise during the first three weeks of September and other 'selected' contests by June 1. Fox Sports Net selected the Arizona State at Arizona game on Friday, November 29, 2002, as its season-ending Pac-10 presentation.

Entering the 2002 season, 13 of the 32 Pac-10 games that will be televised were selected early by ABC Sports, Fox Sports Net and Turner Sports. The other 19 games were scheduled to be picked 12 or six-days prior to the contests, with ABC having first selection. ABC Sports, Fox Sports Net and Turner Sports all want to broadcast the best possible games and will factor in the game results and other elements prior to making their in-season selections. While the institutions and Conference can provide input on the television game selections, the final decision lies with ABC, Fox Sports Net and Turner Sports.

Pac-10 football television selections remain open on November 9, November 16 and November 23. Arizona State has games scheduled on two of these dates.

Following the Sun Devils' victory over Oregon, ABC subsequently selected the Arizona State at Washington State game for a regional telecast on Saturday, November 2, 2002.

Additional Arizona State television opportunities certainly exists in 2002, and would supplement the games already selected to be televised. Updates on Pac-10 football television can be found at www.pac-10.org.



I hope this letter from Duane helps answer questions that you may have regarding Pac-10 television contracts.

It is also important to note that ASU has a local television contract, aside from the league contacts with ABC and Fox Sport Net, with Fox Sports Net Arizona. This allows FSA to televise ASU football games and men's basketball games as well as the weekly Running With The Sun Devils magazine show. By owning the rights to this contract, it prevents ASU from being on any other television station in the market. This is standard contract procedure in any market at any level of sports, college or professional.

However, FSA does allow KAZ-TV to televise other ASU athletic events, such as some football games, men's basketball games, women's basketball games and baseball games.

Some of you had questions as to why ASU does not have a traditional Coaches Show each week. Well, our local TV contract is with Fox Sports Net Arizona and they have a corporate philosophy (Fox Net and Fox regionals) that weekly magazine shows work better than coaches show. So, our weekly Running With The Sun Devils Show, that is taped each week on Monday with Coach Koetter, serves as our coaches show. This is the same at every Pac-10 school that contracts locally with a Fox regional. This concept allows the coach to discuss last week's game, the upcoming game and various players and stats. It also allows FSA to produce features on Sun Devil players and also promote ASU's other 21 varsity sports. Overall, it is very good for the University.

Coach Koetter said some questions dealt with future scheduling of football games. I think this would be a lengthy subject for another column somewhere down the road, but I will give you somewhat of a primer today.

ASU, like most schools, has a scheduling philosophy that reflects contracting an 'A' game, a 'B' game and a 'C' game in the three non-conference contests each year. The 'A' game is a top 30-35 team that is always a home/home series. The 'B' game is generally a strong opponent that, from time to time, becomes an 'A' or drops down to a 'B' team in stature. 'C' games are always guarantee games against teams that go on the road for a paycheck to assist with their overall budgets. It is nearly impossible to achieve this balance perfectly, but we try to come as close as possible.

Implementing this system, ASU is fully scheduled out until 2009, with an exception being the 2003 season. Two schools -- San Diego State and Central Michigan -- recently cancelled home games with ASU for 2003, which has us scrambling to replace them for next year. At this late date, that is not an easy task because Division I-A schools are finished with their 2003 schedules.

During the last five years we have added home-home series with Notre Dame, Colorado, Iowa, Boston College, Northwestern and Illinois.

You should know that we have contacted every Top 25 school in the nation to inquire about scheduling for the future. There are several schools in that group that do not go on the road for their non-conference games. They can make so much money playing home games in front of sold out stadiums that they do not have to travel. Thus, ASU cannot schedule them. There's one top school that has a philosophy that it does not schedule anyone West of the Mississippi River. So, ASU cannot schedule that particular school.

The biggest obstacle in scheduling is matching up dates. There have been times when we have agreed to play a particular top school, but could not match up competition dates.

So, I hope this helps to answer some of your great questions this week. Coach will be back next week to answer your queries.

Thanks and Go Sun Devils!

Mark

Have you ever wished you had the opportunity to ask head coach Dirk Koetter your most pressing question regarding ASU football? Here's your opportunity! Each week throughout the season, Coach Koetter will provide an insider's look at Arizona State football. As a part of this feature, he will take questions from Sun Devil fans and answer them on TheSunDevils.com! While he won't be able to answer every question submitted, he will do his best to get to as many as he can. Submit your question today with the form below!

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