CAA football has always had a pretty good television deal for an FCS conference. Multiple games are aired on the regional Comcast networks in the conference footprint every year, allowing a level of exposure to it's programs that isn't available to other conferences at that level. A new agreement with NBC Sports Network will place a minimum of 5 CAA football games on the nationally-broadcast cable network each season in high definition.
The new agreement starts in time for the fall football season and will also include a continuation of the current broadcasts of games on the various regional Comcast Networks. The CAA is the first conference to sign a broadcast deal with the NBC Sports Network, which was formerly known as Versus.
"We are thrilled to be associated with the NBC Sports Group," CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager said. "The NBC Sports Network now provides a national platform to elevate the conference in conjunction with the relationship we’ve had with the Comcast SportsNets, which have been the foundation of our television package for almost three decades."
In addition to the five nationally-televised games, regional networks will carry 13 more regular-season CAA football games. There are also plans to broadcast additional games digitally, through NBCSports.com.
Yeager further explained that the selection of games for the 5-game national broadcasts will be selected by NBC Sports. That selection is likely to be market-driven, which all-but guarantees that Villanova football will play a prominent role in the television package.
Patriot League adds scholarships
On the same afternoon as the CAA's new television deal was announced, the Patriot League created some ripples of their own in the FCS world, voting to adopt the use of athletic scholarships for football. They will still be below the 63-scholarship limit of the subdivision, allowing just 15 each year. Fordham had already been offering scholarships in football since the 2010 season and was likely to leave the league if the conference did not adopt them universally.
The vote was not unanimous based on the conference commissioner's description of it as a "consensus." Georgetown was not believed to be in favor of any policy change. Georgetown football could now be on its way out of the Patriot League, while the conference appears to be looking to add members and open up scheduling opportunities with FBS opponents.
"We believe over time that this decision is in the best interest of the league because it will help us with future membership prospects for joining the league, it will help us with scheduling out-of-league competitors in football, it will allow us to be more competitive in admissions with regards to identifying and recruiting to our campuses' outstanding students who also play Division I football at the level of the Patriot League," Lafayette College president Dr. Daniel H. Weiss said in a statement.