FanPost

BTN Programming: Is There Bias in Team Coverage?

(ed: bumped for data overload awesomeness. --CG)

Over the past few months, many people, here on BSD and elsewhere (Michael Robinson), have questioned where the Penn State programming has gone on the Big Ten Network. Since BTN is the official channel for all things sports related to the BIG, it would seem best to treat each of the 12 member schools equally, since they all contribute to the programming and function of the channel. With this in mind, I created a spreadsheet to track all the different types of programs that BTN airs and which school they are highlighting in those programs.

This is not the most in depth analysis of all the programming that can be created; along the way I realized a few things I could have done differently from the beginning to have a more comprehensive analysis, but figured for the first study I would look at more basics, with some more in depth analysis at PSU programming. There is most assuredly a few errors in this data, for the fact that what the programming states and what is actually shown sometimes is different. I tried as much as possible to check to make sure that everything was synching up, but when they air in the early morning hours, I just couldn’t check. This was especially true with the Baseball championship tournament and the NCAA tournament, where a game was scheduled but might not have actually been shown because the team was eliminated.

Going into this project, I learned that there were two sets of programs on BTN: individual and all encompassing. Individual programs are shows like replays of football/basketball/hockey/baseball games, where one or two specific schools are shown. Also within this set are the Big Ten Icons program, Tailgate 48 and Big Ten Championships, individuals. The Big Ten Championships, individual, is when there are only two schools going for a Championship, like soccer or baseball. Then there was a second set of programs that look at almost every member of the BIG, so there is no real focus here. These types of programs include Big Ten’s Best, Rivalries, The Journey, Film Vault, Award Show, general Big Ten Championships, and others. The general Big Ten Championships are Championships that are being sought after in a large tournament style, such as wrestling, gymnastics and such, where many school are all vying for the title at once. Here I felt that since no one, or two, schools are the focus I cannot attribute them to those schools. One school ultimately wins the title, but during the airing they are not the sole focus, and therefore are not attributed to that individual school.

For reference, within the month of June there were 30 days or a total of 720 hours of available programming.

First, here is the data from the non-specific programming during the month of June:

Program - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Number shown - - - -Hours of programming

  • Big Ten’s Best (30 min) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -36 - - - - - - - 1080 min (18 hours)
  • Big Ten’s Best (1 hour) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - -1 hour
  • Fantastic Finishes (F&B) (30 min) - - - - - - - - - 14 - - - - - - - 420 min (7 hours)
  • Big Ten’s Best Heisman Winners (30 min) - - - -3 - - - - - - - -1 hr 30 min
  • Best Rivalries B-ball (30 min) - - - - - - - - - - - - - 3 - - - - - - - -1 hr 30 min
  • Best Football Rivalries (30 min) - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - 30 min
  • NBA Draft Special (30 min) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 18 - - - - - - - 540 min (9 hours)
  • Duo’s F-ball (30 min) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 3 - - - - - - - -1 hr 30 min
  • Gameday Traditions (30 min) - - - - - - - - - - - - - 3 - - - - - - - - 1 hr 30 min
  • Awards Show (1 hour) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 5 - - - - - - - - 5 hours
  • Film Vault (30 min)- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -13 - - - - - - - - 390 min (6.5 hours)
  • Big Ten Championship Full (2 hour) - - - - - - - - -21 - - - - - - - - 42 hours
  • The Journey (1 hour) - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - -12 - - - - - - - - 12 hours
  • ______________________________________133_________107 hours
  • These types of programs represent 14.86111% of all the programming for June.

    Secondly, here is the specific programming for each school. Throughout the summer, BTN runs what they call School Days, which are full days devoted to that specific school. Each school will get 3 schools days throughout June and July, the dates for each are included. Each Football, Basketball, Hockey, Baseball, BIG Championships program is 2 hours long. Tailgate 48 and Football in 60 are each 1 hour long, with Icons at 30 minutes. Occasionally there is a miscellaneous program that is sports related but not necessarily a replay of a game, which is 30 minutes long.

    Illinois

  • 21 Football (42 hours)
  • 1 Football in 60 (1 hour)
  • 8 Basketball (16 hours)
  • 2 Baseball (4 hours)
  • 1 Tailgate 48 (1 hour)
  • 3 BIG Championships (6 hours)
  • 7 Icon (3.5 hours)
  • 2 School Days 6/4, 6/26, 7/17
  • Total = 73.5 hours (3.0635 days)
  • Indiana

  • 10 Football (20 hours)
  • 24 Basketball (48 hours)
  • 1 Baseball (2 hours)
  • 4 BIG Championships (8 hours)
  • 14 Icon (7 hours)
  • 2 School Days 6/5, 6/27, 7/18
  • Total = 85 hours (3.542 days)
  • Iowa

  • 26 Football (52 hours)
  • 3 Football in 60 (3 hours)
  • 5 Basketball (10 hours)
  • 1 Tailgate 48 (1 hour)
  • 2 Baseball (4 hours)
  • 4 BIG Championships (8 hours)
  • 9 Icon (4.5 hours)
  • 2 School Days 6/6, 6/28, 7/19
  • Total = 82.5 hours (3.4375 days)
  • Michigan

  • 32 Football (64 hours)
  • 2 Football in 60 (2 hours)
  • 10 Basketball (20 hours)
  • 3 Tailgate 48 (3 hours)
  • 2 Hockey (2 hours)
  • 2 Baseball (4 hours)
  • 1 Misc (30 min)
  • 3 BIG Championships (6 hours)
  • 9 Icon (4.5 hours)
  • 1 School Days 6/7, 7/2, 7/7
  • Total = 106 hours (4.33 days)
  • Michigan St

  • 32 Football (64 hours)
  • 17 Basketball (34 hours)
  • 2 Tailgate 48 (2 hours)
  • 2 Baseball (2 hours)
  • 2 BIG (4 hours)
  • 4 Icon (2 hours)
  • 1 School Days 6/11, 7/3, 7/24
  • Total = 108 hours (4.5 days)
  • Minnesota

  • 6 Football (12 hours)
  • 2 Football in 60 (2 hours)
  • 5 Basketball (10 hours)
  • 1 Tailgate 48 (1 hour)
  • 2 Base (4 hours)
  • 6 Icon (3 hours)
  • 1 School Days 6/12, 7/4, 7/25
  • Total = 32 hours (1.7083 days)
  • Nebraska

  • 10 Football (20 hours)
  • 1 Football in 60 (1 hour)
  • 1 Basketball (2 hours)
  • 3 Tailgate 48 (3 hours)
  • 1 Misc (30 min)
  • 2 Icon (1 hour)
  • 1 School Days 6/13, 7/5, 7/30
  • Total = 27.5 hours (1.14583 days)
  • Northwestern

  • 13 Football (26 hours)
  • 2 Football in 60 (2 hours)
  • 3 Basketball (6 hours)
  • 1 Tailgate 48 (1 hour)
  • 2 BIG Championships (4 hours)
  • 3 Icon (1.5 hours)
  • 1 School Days 6/14, 7/9, 7/31
  • Total = 40.5 hours (1.6875 days)
  • Ohio State

  • 37 Football (74 hours)
  • 32 Basketball (64 hours)
  • 3 Tailgate 48 (3 hours)
  • 4 BIG Championships (8 hours)
  • 8 Icon (4 hours)
  • 1 School Days 6/19, 7/10, 8/1
  • Total = 153 hours (6.375 days)
  • Penn State

  • 11 Football (22 hours)
  • 5 Basketball (10 hours)
  • 1 Misc (30 min)
  • 7 BIG Championship (14 hours)
  • 2 Icon (1 hour)
  • 1 School Days 6/20, 7/11, 8/2
  • Total = 47.5 hours (1.97916 days)
  • Football – 6 Wins, 5 Loss; Basketball – 1 Loss, 4 Wins; BIG Championships– 7 Losses
  • Purdue

  • 12 Football (24 hours)
  • 7 Basketball (14 hours)
  • 4 Baseball (8 hours)
  • 1 Misc (30 min)
  • 5 Icon (2.5 hours)
  • 1 School Days 6/21, 7/12, 7/30
  • Total = 49 hours (2.0416 days)
  • Wisconsin

  • 40 Football (80 hours)
  • 1 Football in 60 (1 hour)
  • 12 Basketball (24 hours)
  • 6 Tailgate 48 (6 hours)
  • 2 Hockey (4 hours)
  • 4 BIG Championships (8 hours)
  • 9 Icon (4.5 hours)
  • 1 School Days 6/25, 7/16, 7/31
  • Total = 127.5 hours (5.3125 days)
  • A quick breakdown of school and how many hours of programming they have, in order from least to greatest:

  • Nebraska 27.5 hours
  • Minnesota 32 hours
  • Northwestern 40.5 hours
  • Penn State 47.5 hours
  • Purdue 49 hours
  • Illinois 73.5 hours
  • Iowa 82.5 hours
  • Indiana 85 hours
  • Michigan 106 hours
  • Michigan St 108 hours
  • Wisconsin 127.5 hours
  • Ohio State 153 hours
  • After looking at this data, there were a few things that stood out to me. I assumed going in that Nebraska would have the least amount of programming, for the simple fact that they just joined the BIG; because of this they would not have the amount or game replays and other programming that schools that have been in the BIG longer would have. This assumption seems to fit the data.

    I also assumed that Michigan and Ohio State would dominate the programming, since they have been the two most visual schools within BIG history. This assumption was relatively true. One event that really helped to propel Michigan State and Wisconsin towards the top of the list is the BIG Championship for football. BTN has replayed not only the Championship game, but also their regular season game ad nauseum throughout the month of not only June, but well before this. These two events have propelled Wisconsin to the top of the Football replay list with 40, and Michigan State had 32. If any other schools were in that Championship game, the numbers would be significantly different.

    Ohio State is well above any other school in sheer number of hours devoted to their teams, with the highest number of Basketball games and second highest Football games that involved Ohio State teams.

    Penn State seems to be a school that does not carry as much programming weight as it once did. There were only 11 football games replayed throughout the month of June, with one being inserted when another program was changed at the last minute. Certainly there are more games that could be replayed for Football and Basketball, as well as BIG Championships, but these do not appear. It is of note that all the BIG individual Championships that Penn State was involved in were all losses; if those teams did not make the title game, and those hours were removed from their overall list, Penn State would end up with 33.5 hours of programming, ranking them third least behind Nebraska and Minnesota.

    Also I tracked the number of times Joe Paterno and Jim Tressel, both fired from their jobs, were shown on TV. Joe Paterno was in all 11 Penn State games, whereas Jim Tressel appeared in 12 games with Ohio State. It’s only natural that any football game shown that involved Penn State would have Joe Paterno as the coach, but it was interesting to see that Jim Tressel was shown slightly more than Joe Paterno. Also, the Big Ten Icons series skipped the episode that was devoted to Joe Paterno; there was a weekend that the BTN ran a marathon of Icons, and when each school has their School Days the Icon series is a large part of that--in both cases, Joe Paterno was not shown.

    There is no overall conclusion that can really be made about this data, for the simple fact that it was only 1 month of programming out of 12. But it does seem that, within this short study, the events of this past November have affected the amount of programming devoted towards Penn State. The impact is not only for football games being shown but other programs for Penn State. In the Icons series, there are 3 Penn State student athletes showcased; however, only John Cappelletti was shown, with both Megan Hodge and LaVar Arrington’s episodes not shown, even when there was a marathon of Icon series.

    As I said above, this is only one month of programming. If I had chosen a different month there would be a completely different set of data and perhaps a different order of schools with regard to programming hours. I might do another month, but will be difficult moving forward, especially with football season fast approaching and the programming with be completely different.

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