Fox College Football
Fox College Football logo 2017.jpg
Also known asBig Noon Saturday
(2019–present)
Fox CFB
College Football on Fox
CFB on Fox
BCS on Fox (2007–2010)
GenreCollege football game telecasts
Presented byGus Johnson
Tim Brando
Jason Benetti
Joel Klatt
Spencer Tillman
Brock Huard
Mark Helfrich
Jenny Taft
Bruce Feldman
(see section)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons19
Production
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time210 minutes or until game ends
Production companyFox Sports
DistributorFox Corporation
Release
Original networkFox (1999–present)
Fox Sports Networks (1999–2019)
Fox College Sports (2006–2019)
FS1 (2013–present)
FS2 (2013–present)
FX (2011–2012)
Picture formatNTSC
HDTV 720p
Original releaseJanuary 1, 1999 (1999-01-01) –
present
Chronology
Related showsBig Noon Saturday
Big Noon Kickoff

Fox College Football (or Fox CFB for short) is the branding used for broadcasts of NCAA Division I FBS college football games produced by Fox Sports, and broadcast primarily by Fox, FS1, and FS2.

Initial college football broadcasts on the Fox network were limited to selected bowl games, beginning with the Cotton Bowl Classic from 1999 to 2014. From 2007 to 2010, Fox broadcast the Bowl Championship Series (excluding games played at the Rose Bowl stadium, whose rights were held by ABC under a separate agreement), branded as the BCS on Fox.

In 2012, Fox began to air a regular schedule of Saturday college football games during the regular season. Fox primarily airs coverage of the Big Ten, Big 12, and Pac-12, and holds rights to the Big Ten and Pac-12 championship games (with the latter alternating yearly with ESPN/ABC). Since 2020, Fox has aired games from the Mountain West Conference (including Boise State home games, and the Mountain West championship game). Fox also holds rights to the Holiday Bowl.

Coverage history

FSN coverage (1996-2019)

In order to better compete with national networks like ESPN, since its inception the Fox Sports Networks (FSN) has carried college football games from the then Pac-10 conference and Big 12 conference. These telecasts were distributed to individual Fox Sports Networks and other affiliates. In 2011 FSN added a package of Conference USA football games.[1] Many of these games were aired exclusively, aired as a simulcast, or aired on tape delay on Fox College Sports.

Pac-12 games moved from FSN to Fox, FX and eventually FS1 in 2012.[2] The C-USA left Fox Sports entirely in 2016.[3] FSN affiliates continued to largely hold the third-tier rights to many Big 12 teams until 2020, when ESPN+ acquired the tier 3 media rights to all but two of the conference's members (with the only holdouts being the Oklahoma Sooners, who maintained their contract with Fox Sports Oklahoma, and the Texas Longhorns, who have a long-term deal with ESPN and IMG College to operate its Longhorn Network).[4][5]

After the sale of FSN to Sinclair Broadcast Group as part of Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox (and their subsequent rebranding as Bally Sports in 2021), production duties for FSN's Conference USA broadcasts were assumed by new sister network Stadium in 2020.[6] The Atlantic Coast Conference's syndication package for regional sports networks—which are produced by Raycom Sports, had primarily been carried by FSN channels since 2011, were also retained by Bally Sports.[7]

Cotton Bowl Classic (1998-2014)

The Fox network acquired its first college football telecast in 1998, when it obtained the broadcast rights to the annual Cotton Bowl Classic held each January on (eventually, the day after) New Year's Day; the first game to be shown on the network as part of the deal was held on January 1, 1999. Fox renewed its contract to carry the game in 2010, in a four-year agreement that ran through the 2013 NCAA college football season.

Fox lost the rights to the Cotton Bowl to ESPN for the 2015 edition, as the cable network holds the television contract to all six bowl games that encompass the College Football Playoff system under a twelve-year deal worth over $7.3 billion. The Cotton Bowl was the only game among the six that was not already broadcast by ESPN.[8][9]

Bowl Championship Series, launch of Big Ten Network (2006-2009)

From the 2006 through the 2009 seasons, Fox held the broadcast rights to most of the games comprising the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) – including the Sugar Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl and the Orange Bowl, as well as the BCS Championship Game. Fox paid close to $20 million per game for the rights to televise the BCS games.[10] The network's contract with the BCS excluded any event in the series that was held at the Rose Bowl stadium, such as the Rose Bowl Game and the 2010 BCS National Championship Game, as ABC already had a separate arrangement with the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association to serve as the broadcaster for the games.[11]

ESPN, which is majority owned by ABC's corporate parent The Walt Disney Company and serves as the producer for all of ABC's sports coverage, would displace Fox outright as the broadcaster of the BCS beginning in the 2010–11 season.[12] This left the Fox network with only the Cotton Bowl Classic as the sole college football game, to which it held the television rights until the 2013–14 season.

Expansion of national regular season coverage, Big Ten contract (2011-2019)

Beginning with the 2011 season, sister cable channel FX began airing a "game of the week" on Saturdays featuring matchups from the Big 12, Conference USA, and Pac-12.[13] The Fox network also obtained the rights to air the Big Ten Conference's new football championship game beginning that season and running through 2016, as part of Fox Sports' partnership with the conference on the Big Ten Network.[14] Fox also acquired bi-yearly rights to the inaugural Pac-12 Football Championship Game, alternating with ESPN/ABC.[15]

Beginning with the 2012 season, Fox added regular season games on Saturdays to its lineup; it broadcast eight afternoon games and twelve nighttime games throughout the season, with the latter telecasts airing as part of a new strategy by the network to carry more sports programming on Saturday nights during prime time. FS1 replaced FX's coverage upon its launch in August 2013, though some overflow coverage has aired on FX occasionally when warranted; since 2017, overflow coverage has been carried on Fox Business Network, which usually carries paid programming on Saturday afternoons of little consequence to pre-emption.[16]

Fox's coverage of the 2015 season opened with a game on FS1 featuring the Michigan Wolverines at the Utah Utes. As the first game featuring new head coach Jim Harbaugh, the season premiere was promoted with a touring "HarBus"—decorated with a sweater and khakis in imitation of Harbaugh's on-field wardrobe—travelling to Salt Lake City for the game, accompanied by a group of "HarBros" dressed like Harbaugh. The tour concluded at Salt Lake City's Grand America Hotel for game day; the bus itself was barred from entering the University of Utah's campus.[17][18]

On July 12, 2016, the San Francisco 49ers announced that they had taken over the Foster Farms Bowl (now known as the Redbox Bowl), and had reached a four-year deal to move the game to Fox and Fox Deportes beginning in 2016.[19] It was also reported by Sports Business Journal that Fox was pursuing a share of the Big Ten's primary football rights.[20] Fox began streaming select college football games in 360-degree video for the 2016 season.[21][22] The following year, FS1 also acquired rights to the Holiday Bowl, ending a long-standing relationship between the game and ESPN.[23]

On July 24, 2017, the Big Ten Conference announced that Fox and ESPN had acquired rights to its games under a six-year deal beginning in the 2017 season. The contract also includes an extension of Fox's contract to operate Big Ten Network through 2032.[24] The deal gives Fox the first choice of games on most weeks, including marquee games such as the Michigan/Ohio State game—which had been a fixture of ABC's college football schedule for over a half-decade. The game will remain in its traditional noon slot on the last day of the Big Ten's regular season.[25][26]

Fox promoted its addition of Big Ten football with promotional campaigns focusing on each team; a Children of the Corn-themed commercial focusing on the Nebraska Cornhuskers was pulled after complaints by the school.[27]

Big Noon Saturday, Mountain West contract, Big Ten renewal (2019–present)

Prior to the 2019 season, Fox lost its rights to future Big 12 championship games to ESPN as part of an expansion of its rights to the conference. Fox declined to bid on the 2019, 2021, and 2023 games.[28]

In the 2019 season, Fox introduced a new flagship Noon ET window known as Big Noon Saturday. The games are accompanied by a pre-game show, Big Noon Kickoff.[29][30][31] A Fox executive stated that the network's highest-rated games were often those with a Noon kickoff, and that the network also wanted to avoid competition from other highly-viewed windows such as the SEC on CBS and ABC's Saturday Night Football.[32] The new emphasis on early games proved successful: in the first weeks of the 2019 season, Fox had the highest-rated game in the timeslot on multiple occasions. This pattern continued into subsequent seasons, with Big Noon Saturday overtaking the SEC on CBS as having the highest average viewership in the 2021 season, and the Michigan/Ohio State game (which saw Michigan end an eight-game losing streak in the rivalry) being the highest-rated regular-season game of the 2021 season, and most-watched regular-season game since the Alabama–LSU game in 2019.[33][32]

Due to the early kickoff times, the package has faced criticism for having undue impacts on teams not based in the Eastern Time Zone (ET), including from University of Oklahoma Athletics Director Joe Castiglione (who felt that a Noon ET kickoff for a 2021 game against Nebraska, marking the 50th anniversary of their 1971 "Game of the Century", would diminish its profile), and Stanford head coach David Shaw (who, in particular, criticized Fox Sports for scheduling noon kickoffs involving visiting Pac-12 teams).[34][35] In August 2021, University of Oklahoma president Joe Harroz cited criticism of Big Noon Saturday when discussing the Sooners' proposed move to the SEC, arguing that the Big 12 conference would be "last in line" in negotiating new media deals, and that "our fans talk about that. It also matters to student-athletes. When those who go before you, in terms of negotiations for 2025 and beyond, if those premiere slots are already taken up, it impacts things in a material way. It translates into disadvantages in recruiting the top talent, disadvantages for our student-athletes and a detriment to the fan experience."[36]

On January 9, 2020, the Mountain West Conference announced that its next top-tier basketball and football contracts would be split between CBS Sports and Fox Sports under a six-year deal, with Fox replacing ESPN. Fox will hold rights to 23 games per-season, including the conference championship and all Boise State home games (since 2012, as part of concessions to remain in the conference, the Mountain West has allowed Boise State's home games to be sold as a separate package from the remainder of its media rights). CBS Sports Network will remain the main broadcaster for the conference outside of these games.[37][38][39]

On August 18, 2022, Fox renewed its rights to the Big Ten under a seven-year deal beginning in the 2023 season. Under the new contract, Fox, CBS, and NBC will hold rights to Noon, 3:30 p.m. ET, and prime time games respectively. There will be a larger number of games on the Fox broadcast network, and an option to air "premier" Big Ten games in other timeslots after USC and UCLA move to the conference in 2024. Fox will air four Big Ten championship games in odd-numbered years over the length of the contract.[40][41]

On-air staffing of Big Noon Saturday
Team Play-by-play Color commentator Sidelines
Lead Gus Johnson Joel Klatt Jenny Taft
Secondary Tim Brando Spencer Tillman
Tertiary Joe Davis
Aaron Goldsmith (fill-in)
Mark Helfrich (2020)
Brock Huard (2021)
N/A

All rankings are from that week's AP Poll, and that week's CFP rankings.

2019

2020

2021

2022

Nielsen ratings

Regular season

Rank Date Matchup Network Viewers (millions) TV Rating Significance
1 November 27, 2021, 12:00 ET #2 Ohio State 27 #5 Michigan 42 Fox 15.89 8.1 The Game
2 November 24, 2018, 12:00 ET #4 Michigan 39 #10 Ohio State 62 13.20 7.5
3 November 30, 2019, 12:00 ET #1 Ohio State 56 #13 Michigan 27 12.42 7.5
4 November 25, 2017, 12:00 ET #9 Ohio State 31 Michigan 20 10.51 6.1
5 October 28, 2017, 3:30 ET #2 Penn State 38 #6 Ohio State 39 9.87 5.8 Rivalry
6 November 23, 2019, 12:00 ET #8 Penn State 17 #2 Ohio State 28 9.43 5.8
7 October 30, 2021, 12:00 ET #6 Michigan 33 #8 Michigan State 37 9.29 5.1 Rivalry
8 September 11, 2021, 12:00 ET #12 Oregon 35 #3 Ohio State 28 7.73 4.2
9 November 28, 2015, 7:30 ET #6 Notre Dame 36 #9 Stanford 38 7.32 4.3 Legends Trophy
10 October 12, 2019, 12:00 ET #6 Oklahoma 34 #11 Texas 27 7.25 4.5 Red River Showdown

Conference championships

Year Conference Matchup Viewers (millions) TV Ratings
2011 Big Ten #15 Wisconsin 42 #11 Michigan State 39 7.8 4.6
Pac-12 UCLA 31 #8 Oregon 49
2012 Big Ten Wisconsin 70 #14 Nebraska 31 4.9 3.0
Pac-12 #17 UCLA 24 #8 Stanford 27
2013 Big Ten #10 Michigan State 34 #2 Ohio State 24 13.90 7.9
2014 Big Ten #13 Wisconsin 0 #5 Ohio State 59 6.13 3.5
Pac-12 #7 Arizona 13 #2 Oregon 51 6.00 3.7
2015 Big Ten #5 Michigan State 16 #4 Iowa 13 9.8 5.7
2016 Big Ten #7 Penn State 38 #6 Wisconsin 31 9.19 5.2
Pac-12 #8 Colorado 10 #4 Washington 41 5.67 3.4
2017 Big Ten #8 Ohio State 27 #4 Wisconsin 21 12.92 7.3
Big 12 #11 TCU 17 #3 Oklahoma 41 5.90 3.8
2018 Big Ten #21 Northwestern 24 #6 Ohio State 45 8.66 5.0
Pac-12 #17 Utah 3 #11 Washington 10 5.06 2.6
2019 Big Ten #1 Ohio State 34 #8 Wisconsin 21 13.55 7.6
2020 Big Ten #14 Northwestern 10 #4 Ohio State 22 8.03 4.6
Pac-12 Oregon 31 #13 USC 24 3.85 2.2
Mountain West Boise State 20 #24 San Jose State 34 1.42 0.9
2021 Big Ten #2 Michigan 42 #13 Iowa 3 11.66 6.2
Mountain West Utah State 46 #19 San Diego State 13 816K 0.5

Bowls

Redbox Bowl
Holiday Bowl
Cotton Bowl Classic
Orange Bowl
Sugar Bowl
Fiesta Bowl
Foster Farms Bowl
BCS National Championship Game

Personalities

Further information: List of Fox Sports announcers § College_football

Announcer pairings

  1. Gus Johnson/Joel Klatt/Jenny Taft (Fox Big Noon Saturday)
  2. Jason Benetti/Brock Huard/Allison Williams (Fox/FS1)
  3. Tim Brando/Spencer Tillman (Fox/FS1)
  4. Noah Eagle/Mark Helfrich (Fox/FS1)
  5. Alex Faust/Petros Papadakis (Fox/FS1)
  6. Eric Collins/Devin Gardner (Fox/FS1)

Studio team

See also

References

  1. ^ "Conference USA and FOX Sports Media Group Announce New Television Rights Agreement".
  2. ^ "Pac-12 releases 2012 football schedule". 5 January 2012.
  3. ^ "Comprehensive Television Packages Announced for Conference USA".
  4. ^ Moyle, Nick (2019-07-15). "Big 12 notes: Conference gets presence on ESPN+". HoustonChronicle.com. Retrieved 2020-09-13.
  5. ^ "ESPN's expanded Big 12 rights deal adds OTT extension". SportsPro Media. Retrieved 2020-09-13.
  6. ^ "Stadium Announces Conference USA Football Schedule with Games Set to Air Across Sinclair Regional Sports Network". 23 September 2020.
  7. ^ Reardon • •, Logan. "How to Watch the 2022 ACC Women's Basketball Tournament". NBC4 Washington. Retrieved 2022-05-05.
  8. ^ "ESPN to televise college football playoff in 12-year deal". ESPN. April 24, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  9. ^ John Ourand and Michael Smith (November 9, 2012). "ESPN homes in on 12-year BCS package". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  10. ^ Steven Zeitchik (December 28, 2007). "Fox faces BCS contract challenges". The Hollywood Reporter.
  11. ^ Dufresne, Chris (June 13, 2009). "Rose Bowl game moving to ESPN in 2011". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 7, 2009.
  12. ^ Dufresne, Chris (June 13, 2009). "Rose Bowl game moving to ESPN in 2011". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 7, 2009.
  13. ^ Jon Lafayette (March 27, 2011). "FX Tackles College Football". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 27, 2011.
  14. ^ "Fox To Air New Big Ten Football Championship Game - Broadcaster Secures Rights To Conference's Title Tilt From 2011-16". Multichannel News. November 17, 2010.
  15. ^ "ESPN, Fox Tie Up Pac-12 Rights For $3 Billion: Reports". Multichannel News. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  16. ^ Clapp, Matt (23 September 2017). "Fox Business Network is the new home of Big Ten football". Awful Announcing. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Say what? It's a bus wearing Harbaugh's khakis". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  18. ^ "Utah football: Utes ask 'HarBus' to stay off U. campus". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  19. ^ "San Francisco 49ers Assume Management of Foster Farms Bowl at Levi's® Stadium". 49ers.com. Forty Niners Football Company LLC. Archived from the original on July 14, 2016. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  20. ^ "ESPN, Fox to reportedly pay Big Ten $2.64B: What's Rutgers' take?". NJ.com. 20 June 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  21. ^ Rœttgers, Janko (September 13, 2016). "Fox Sports Streams College Football Match in Virtual Reality". Variety. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  22. ^ "Fox Sports streaming Red River Rivalry live in virtual reality". SI.com. Sports Illustrated. October 7, 2016. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  23. ^ "Holiday Bowl moving from ESPN to FS1". San Diego Union-Tribune. 15 June 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
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  25. ^ Landis, Bill (15 May 2017). "Ohio State vs. Michigan football rivalry to be televised on FOX during 2017 season". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
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  27. ^ "Fox Sports Pulled 'Children of the Corn' Themed College Football Ad at Request of University of Nebraska". AgencySpy. Retrieved 2017-10-04.
  28. ^ admin. "ESPN Reaches Multiyear Rights Extension With Big 12 Conference". Multichannel. Retrieved 2019-08-17.
  29. ^ Chengelis, Angelique S. "New Michigan spread offense will need 'time to grow,' Urban Meyer predicts". Detroit News. Retrieved 2019-08-17.
  30. ^ "Watch: Trailer for FOX College Football Pregame show featuring Urban Meyer". Buckeyes Wire. 2019-08-14. Retrieved 2019-08-17.
  31. ^ "Three keys for Urban Meyer, Fox's Big Noon Kickoff". SI.com. Retrieved 2019-09-03.
  32. ^ a b Crupi, Anthony (2021-12-03). "Fox's Early-Bird College Football Scheme Pays Off as Noon Window Soars". Sportico.com. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  33. ^ "With help from Urban Meyer, Fox's Big Noon Kickoff aims high". Toledo Blade. Retrieved 2019-11-07.
  34. ^ Mandel, Stewart. "Stanford's David Shaw frustrated with Fox for early kickoff time for season-opener: 'I don't want to hear s---' about ratings". The Athletic. Retrieved 2021-06-05.
  35. ^ "Oklahoma 'bitterly disappointed' with Fox after network puts Sept. 18 game vs. Nebraska at 11 a.m." ca.sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2021-06-05.
  36. ^ "Oklahoma president cites Fox's Big Noon Saturday scheduling as a factor in leaving for SEC". Awful Announcing. 2021-08-02. Retrieved 2021-08-02.
  37. ^ "SBJ Media: PGA Tour, Mountain West Get New Rights Deals". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
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  39. ^ "New Mountain West TV Contract: More Money, Less ESPN For Boise State". Boise State Public Radio. Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  40. ^ "Big Ten lands multibillion-dollar TV deal, the richest in college sports". Washington Post. 2022-08-18. Retrieved 2022-08-18.
  41. ^ Rittenberg, Adam (2022-08-18). "Big Ten completes 7-year, $7 billion media rights agreement with Fox, CBS, NBC". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2022-08-18.