As some of you may know, I’m the father a two-year old twins (a boy and a girl).  At this age, the Walt Disney Company is constantly vacuuming funds out of my wallet.  In the past year alone, I’ve bought Lion King and Toy Story Blu-rays, movies tickets to see The Muppets, a dancing Mickey Mouse (complete with the ability to moonwalk, which is actually pretty sweet), Lion King dolls, Disney Princess books, Disney Princess clothes, Disney Princess purses, Disney Princess stage show tickets, Disney Princess toys and of course the granddaddy of all Disney wallet sucking experiences, a trip to Disney World staying in a Disney hotel complete with a Disney Princess breakfast at Cinderella’s Castle.

For all of the money that people like me spend on Disney toys, movies and theme parks and others that watch TV properties such as ABC and the Disney Channel, the Mickey Mouse-controlled  subsidiary that provides more profit to the company than any other by a massive margin is ESPN.  In fact, it’s not even close.  Currently, ESPN is in close to 100 million households clearing over $5.00 per month from every single one of them in subscriber fees.  This means that ESPN is making around $500 million in revenue per month and $6 billion in revenue per year before even selling a single advertisement.  ESPN isn’t just the most powerful sports network in America.  That would be vastly understating the network’s power.  Here’s the real bottom line: ESPN is the most powerful media and entertainment company in America.  Period.

It’s against this backdrop that we have to analyze the prospects of Fox, NBC/Comcast and, to a lesser extent, CBS becoming viable competitors to ESPN in cable sports world.  Fox has just announced that it is forming a new national cable sports network, NBC/Comcast has rebranded Versus to be the NBC Sports Network, and CBS is trying to turn what was once a college sports-focused channel into a broader sports network.  Certainly, it makes sense for all of them to try to get a piece of ESPN’s cable sports pie.  As I noted here last year, there are three key factors in television viewership today:

  1. More old people watch TV than young people*
  2. More women watch TV than men
  3. More people are using DVRs

(* For TV purposes, “old people” are defined as people older than 49 and “young people” are between 18 and 34 years old.  The only rating that matters for advertisers for a network prime time TV show is what it draws in the age 18-49 demo, while age 18-34 viewers command the greatest premiums.  It doesn’t matter that people older than 49 actually have higher incomes – this is about simple supply and demand, where younger viewers are in shorter supply.)

As a result, the most valuable property on TV on per viewer basis is the program that draws the age 18-34 male that watches it live. This is what sports does more consistently and dependably than anything else on TV, which means that advertisers and cable providers pay a significant premium for sports programs even though their overall viewership numbers (outside of the NFL) generally aren’t that large compared to the average network prime time show or even the movie of the night on TNT or USA.  As a result, ESPN is able to charge the highest monthly subscriber fee of any channel on cable by a significant margin.

The problem is that competing with ESPN is much easier said than done.  Fox and NBC might be spinning their networks as “new competitors” where they just woke up yesterday and realized that ESPN needs some competition, but the reality is that they’ve been trying to compete with ESPN for decades to no avail.  Cablevision created SportsChannel America back in the 1980s, which was a consortium of regional sports networks that bought national TV rights to NHL (in the glorious days when the Norris Division was alive) in attempt to create a competitor to ESPN.  Many of those regional sports networks got bought by Fox in the 1990s, where they tried create a similar type of ESPN competitor by buying national cable rights to properties such as the Big 12 and Pac-12 along with creating studio programs such as “The Best Damn Sports Show”.  That has been done a bit better than the old SportsChannel America, although it’s still been fairly lukewarm and the new national Fox sports network (dubbed “Fox Sports 1”) appears to be simply a vehicle to put air the national rights that it already has on a coast-to-coast network as opposed to through regional networks.  In the meantime, NBC Sports Network has been in existence for quite awhile, with it initially being called the Outdoor Life Network.  Comcast already attempted to rebrand the channel as Versus several years ago in order to try to position itself as a direct ESPN competitor, and it’s now doing a rebranding again with its recent purchase of NBC.

So, when I see sports fans that are exasperated with ESPN (for good reason)* cheering the prospects that someone is finally competing with the Worldwide Leader, the problem is that they’re falling for the spin that these companies are just starting from scratch with something brand new.  It’s simply not the case.  The core problem for any network that wants to compete with ESPN is the lack of access to what I call “Tier 1″ content, which I would consider to be the NFL, Major League Baseball, NBA, SEC and Big Ten.  These are the properties that a network can use as tent poles to drive casual sports fans to flip over.  “Tier 2″ content would be the other major college conferences, the NHL and the elite levels of golf, tennis and soccer, while “Tier 3″ is everything else.  A network can fill airtime with Tier 2 and Tier 3 content, but can’t rely on that programming alone to break through to legitimately compete with ESPN.

(* Note that I’ll always consider this blog to be a Deadspin baby, as I was in one of the early sets of commenters on that site due to the graciousness of former editor and fellow Illinois alum Will Leitch.  That original commenter group ended up spawning a whole bunch of blogs with much wider reach than this one, such as Kissing Suzy Kolber and With Leather.  The point is that I’m well-schooled in the lampooning of ESPN, culminating in what is quite possibly the funniest story that I’ve encountered in all of the years of writing this blog: the comically insensitive ESPN college basketball commercial casting call that was real.  I still laugh my ass off at that one.  So, this post is not a defense of ESPN in terms of its editorial and promotional practices, which can be nauseating at times.  However, ESPN is absolutely the best run media organization in the country when it comes to the business side.  That side of the equation should be unquestioned.)

NBC Sports Network has been able to get Tier 2 and Tier 3 content, but nothing at the Tier 1 level (which has been the case for many years).  As a result, the ratings lately have been nothing less than horrible.  Viewership during the first quarter of 2012 for NBC Sports Network is down 22% compared to the same period last year and is actually at its worst levels since 2004, when it was still the Outdoor Life Network (meaning that the ratings this quarter right after the NBC re-branding are worse than at any point when the network was called Versus).  Even worse is the rating in the target demo.  Remember when I noted above that the whole reason why sports networks get a premium is that they are supposed to draw age 18-34 males?  NBC Sports Network’s rating in that demo was 0.4 this past quarter.  By comparison, Lifetime (yes, Lifetime) had a 0.5 in that demo.  There’s no good way to spin those figures.

Fox has a better stable of sports rights to draw from with the Pac-12, Big 12 and international soccer rights such as the English Premier League and Champions League.  However, that’s still a limited amount of content to power an all-sports network that’s aiming to draw a broad audience (not just niche fans) on par with ESPN.  Fox still doesn’t have any Tier 1 tent poles.

In theory, NBC/Comcast and Fox could overcome these disadvantages by simply bidding more for Tier 1 content than ESPN.  That sounds logical, but it’s not quite as easy in practice.  First, there’s not much Tier 1 content available.  The NFL decided to grant its own NFL Network a full season Thursday Night Football package, which means that the biggest potential tent pole of all is now off the table.  The Major League Baseball package will come up for bid likely later this year (the current deals run through 2013), while the NBA and Big Ten will have their packages opened up in about 3 years (with their respective current deals ending in 2016).  The SEC is locked up through the mid-2020s.  That’s not very much out there and even if a network can get one of those packages, that can only take it so far.  A viable ESPN competitor really needs 2 or more of those packages.

That gets to the second point, which is that the Tier 1 content leagues like being around other Tier 1 content leagues.  As much as we believe that sports leagues will simply take the most money no matter who it comes from, the Tier 1 entities aren’t very interested in being pioneers on an upstart network (unless they actually own that upstart network a la the NFL Network or the Big Ten Network).  It’s no different than really wealthy people generally preferring to buy houses in neighborhoods with other really wealthy people instead of going to a place where they’d clearly be the wealthiest people on the block.  During a panel of top sports media executives at the recent MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference*, this was called “optimization instead of maximization”, meaning that sports leagues aim to optimize their media audiences and not necessarily maximize revenue.  That might sound like MBA speak gobbley gook, but it’s really just a newfangled way of saying, “Don’t kill the golden goose”.   For instance, the NFL could theoretically make the most money by keeping all of its games for the NFL Network and effectively charge whatever it wants for the channel, which cable providers would almost certainly have to pay.  The Big Ten could do the same by sending all of its games to the Big Ten Network.  However, neither entity wants to do that because that’s taking short-term revenue at the expense of long-term viability.  The Tier 1 sports leagues got to that position because they are able to combine a passionate core fan base with interest from casual sports fans.  League-owned networks and lower distribution channels can still draw the passionate core fan base, but the casual fan segment won’t move over and will deteriorate over time.

(* I highly recommend watching this panel discussion that features the presidents of ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, NFL Media and MLB Media.  They go through a whole slew of issues, including rising TV sports rights fees, the impact of Internet streaming and on-demand viewing, league-owned networks and cable chord cutting.)

That’s really the toughest part of competing with ESPN: it provides the best platform by far for drawing casual fans, which is what the Tier 1 content providers need.  The interesting thing is that the only successful cable bidder for Tier 1 content outside of ESPN and the league-owned networks has been Turner with the NBA (TNT), MLB (TBS) and NCAA Tournament (TNT, TBS and truTV).  That’s notable because TNT and TBS are not sports networks and are instead positioned as broad-based general interest channels that are the cable equivalents of the Big Four (ABC/CBS/NBC/Fox) over-the-air networks.  This means that TNT and TBS are able to draw in casual TV viewers in a way that, say, NBC Sports Network can’t, meaning that they are much more palatable to Tier 1 leagues.

As a result, the most realistic competitors to ESPN aren’t other all-sports networks, but rather the broad interest cable channels that draw high ratings such as USA (owned by NBC/Comcast) and FX (owned by Fox) alongside Turner’s TBS and TNT.  At least that’s how I’d approach it if I were running NBC Sports or Fox Sports.  It would take many years for an all-sports network to get the critical mass of content on par with ESPN2, much less the ESPN mothership, and that’s assuming that such network wins every competitive bid for Tier 1 and Tier 2 content until the end of this decade.  That’s simply a losing battle.  However, TBS and TNT have shown that they can make a dent on ESPN’s chokehold over cable sports rights and have been rewarded with higher rights fees as a result.  They are able to incorporate Tier 1 sports into their other entertainment programming that draw high ratings, which means that they are getting casual fans (not just the hard core fans) to tune in.  My belief is that it would be easier to sell rate increases for USA and FX adding on premier sporting events than to try to get brand new rights fees for separate new sports networks.  I don’t blame NBC/Comcast and Fox for trying their current all-sports plans because those ESPN-type rights fees are so enticing, but I think that in a few years, they’ll end up retreating and focus on beefing up the sports content on their general interest networks instead.  That’s where they can draw out value that ESPN isn’t able to provide.

(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111 and Facebook)

(Image from American Progress)

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Comments
  1. bullet says:

    You’re a little kind to the advertisers. They think they can manipulate the 18-34 year olds, while the old fogeys are set in their ways. Its not so much that it is hard to reach the younger group, but that they don’t care about the older group.

    A&M made some of the optomization argument for preferring the SEC. They liked the wider distribution on CBS and seemed to be more concerned about that than the $. I think ESPN has an advantage in that they can just ignore schools if they choose. I think its clear they have done that to some extent over the years to punish the Pac 12 and Big 12 for going with Fox. Too many people watch sportscenter or the other games on ESPN.

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    • Richard Cain (@Rich_Cain) says:

      Actually, it is the inherent difficulty of reaching 18-34 year-old viewers that drives the rates. Those people are difficult to find for advertisers. That is why advertisers are willing to pay more to get to those people. It is very easy to reach viewers over age 49. So why pay any kind of premium for that? Older folks aren’t set in their ways in terms of consumer practices. Sure, there is brand loyalty in some areas for some people. But older people are just as willing to try new products if they see value in it. Moreover, a lot of brand advertising of mature companies is to reassure their customers. To let them know they are still consuming a quality product and to keep those customers coming back. Finally, if people over age 49 are “set in their ways,” why bother advertising to them at all?

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      • It’s also not so much that younger people are more easily manipulated (if anything, younger people are much more savvy about resisting marketing efforts), but that there’s a huge group of what I call “monthly bill” products and services that you tend to sign up for once when you’re younger and then rarely change when you get older. Banks, insurance, credit cards, cell phone providers and online trading accounts aren’t things that you choose based on whatever is on sale at Target that week. These are items that you don’t switch very often (if at all) and, even better, you just automatically pay for every month without even going to the store, which means there’s a *massive* incentive for the companies that provide those types of products and services to get you first when you’re young. Look at the list of the heaviest advertisers on sporting events and other shows that draw lots of young males (e.g. Comedy Central shows) and you’ll see all of those items hawked heavily along with the traditional beer, car and soft drink ads. It’s not unusual to see State Farm, Allstate, Geico and Farmers commercials all during the same sporting event: if you’re an insurance company, you want to be the first type of insurance that a young person buys because chances are pretty good that such young person will stay with you for the rest of his/her life. It’s the same thing with banks and credit cards. Those are the types of advertisers that really need the 18-34 and 18-49 demos and they have the most cash to spend on ads, to boot.

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  2. SEC-Ag says:

    Great writeup Frank, as usual.

    side note… NBC didn’t really seem to make that big of a deal about the launch of the sports network. I wonder if they’re just in a kind of tuneup mode right now in advance of a big Olympics re-rollout splash this summer to try and get onto the radar of the causal fans. But they don’t really have any Tier 1 to follow the Olympics with.

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    • @SEC-Ag – Yes, NBC Sports Network should get an overall boost from the Olympics. It may not help with its target demo, though. The main draw of the Olympics is that it’s the one sporting event that draws a mass audience of young *female* viewers on a consistent basis. That’s why NBC always puts gymnastics (summer) and figure skating (winter) in the best time slots along with spending so much time on long-form emotional background stories of individual athletes as opposed to hard analysis. It’s also the basis for NBC’s argument for still putting events on tape-delay since supposedly the Olympics audience is more interested in storylines as opposed to the actual results. They do this with Wimbledon, too. I can’t tell you how much I loathe that stance. As annoying as ESPN can be, they’ll always show events live no matter what (such as the Australian Open finals at 3 am) and, if necessary, show a replay at a more hospitable time for other viewers (as opposed to pretending that an event didn’t finish hours earlier). NBC’s tape delay practices honestly bother me much more than anything about ESPN’s studio shows since it directly impacts how you’re able to view the actual sporting events themselves.

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      • Brian says:

        NBC’s tape delay policy is ludicrous. I’ve also quit watching their Olympics coverage because of their programming choices. I’ll watch the other networks where they just show the less popular sports without all the stupid features, but NBC might as well not exist except for a couple of major events (and then mute is at the ready).

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        • Rich says:

          I also watch the Olympics far less than I used to because of NBC’s coverage. I would add that they have some absolutely terrible announcers. Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines must be the worst pair of yappers ever employed by a major network. For me, they completely ruined the swimming events in Beijing by throwing up on themselves every time an American did something amazing. I stopped watching because of them. Most of the other announcers are sub-par. Although I do have to say the camera work is truly excellent.

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  3. joe4psu says:

    add

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  4. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    GEAUX LSU Fightin’ Tigers!

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  5. joe4psu says:

    Entertaining and informative as always. In a quick response I’d only like to hit two points. Fox never tried to take on *SPN directly as a 24/ national sports network. From the beginning they intentionally fragmented their product(s) taking a local/regional approach even if they did try a couple of studio shows for national consumption. As you say getting the content to drive a national network will not be easy but it is a new approach for Fox. As for NBC and the NBCSports channel’s ratings, I believe you are seeing the results of their “break them down to build them up” approach. They discussed this in an article, or was it a tv interview, earlier. They are completely remaking the network which they expected to drive away the current viewers. The key is will they be able to build a new viewership, and to repeat myself repeating you, it will not be easy.

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  6. Richard Cain (@Rich_Cain) says:

    Terrific post. One of the best I’ve seen on this site.

    I think something that these wannabes lack is indispensability. They don’t have any programming that viewers can’t get elsewhere. Besides the Tier 1 programming ESPN has, they also have SportsCenter. That was the centerpiece of their programming before they got any Tier 1 sports and it built their brand. You had to watch SportsCenter every night because it was essential as a sports fan to keep up with what was happening throughout the sports world. You couldn’t get that anyplace else on TV. CNN tried with a 30 minute show with Nick Charles and Fred Hickman. SportsCenter dusted them in the end. This is what built ESPN into the indispensable choice for sports fans in the 80s and 90s before they gained their vice-like grip on the Tier 1′s. Also, remember that ESPN spent a decade, before first getting the NFL and later MLB and NHL, broadcasting monster truck rallies, strong man competitions, billiards, pro wrestling and other “junk” sports mixed in with college basketball and some Tier 3 sports like the College World Series. It will be at least a decade before any of these wannabes can pose a serious challenge to ESPN.

    With the proliferation of online sources, SportsCenter is no longer essential as a source of information. It is, I think, for many people a source of entertainment. And it does allow for a passive consumption of information. You can watch it while doing other things like catching up on social media sites. None of the wannabes have anything like this. All of their studio shows are fairly generic. They don’t offer anything new or fresh. NBCSports has it’s little daily talk show. But that thing is a horrible mish-mash without any personality or discernible branding. The only reason to watch them is if you like the personalities (like the crew on “Inside the NBA”) or you are too lazy to change the channel after a live event has ended. Without an indispensable piece of programming like this, the wannabes have little chance to challenge ESPN.

    I wonder if the wannabes ought to take a clue from Turner. Sort of go in the opposite direction and offer some compelling entertainment shows to build viewership. Each night offer an hour of original programming, an hour of something classic along the lines of “Law & Order”, and then a sports news program. Cross-promote the heck for your studio sports news show. Build up an audience and then make serious efforts to go after Tier 1 programming. I have no idea if that would work but it might be more palatable for Comcast than using USA for sports the way Turner uses TBS/TNT.

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    • bullet says:

      I think most cable networks are trying to get away from the approach you describe and trying to get an indentity and a loyal audience. They are avoiding the ABC/CBS/NBC model. So I think that model would be difficult as well.

      Maybe one of them could try to get a sports niche. Throw in a lot of soccer and extreme sports and skip baseball while, of course, trying to get as much football as you can. TBS and WGN have shown local teams nationally, so there may be some possibility of getting local franchises (although NBA TV contracts may prevent that).

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    • arrrpeeohhh says:

      Fox and NBC have Turner-like cable channels in FX and USA. They could go the Turner path and over a period of years evolve those channels into 24 hour sports outlets. NBC would actually have an easier time with this- since they have places they could shift what we’d currently think of as USA programming to like Bravo (and Bravo stuff shifting to Style, and down the line). In a lot of ways it’s easier to imagine successfully morphing USA into a sports channel than it is to imagine a day-one sports specific channel really being competition with Big E. Mission creep is a way of life with cable channels. A&E was “classy” cable once. Now it specializes in docusoaps about hillbillies.

      One thing I would stay away from is the impulse to try doing a nightly sports news program. SportsCenter mattered because it filled a void. There isn’t a void in that area anymore. As the channel evolved I might consider it if a strong online sports journalism identity was developed or acquired (like Yahoo Sports) to give that more exposure. But without working from a base of some credibility in the sports fan world, going that route is just producing a hollow copy SC.

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      • Rich says:

        You may be right about the news show. But you bring up an interesting point about strong journalism. There isn’t much of an independent hard-hitting sports news presence on TV other than Real Sports on HBO. ESPN has so many partnerships with the leagues that they are not exactly credible in this area. It might be possible to produce an essential show that bends more toward investigative journalism. I know Yahoo does a lot of this but I think people would, in general, rather watch a TV show about it than read long articles on electronic devices. Additionally, if you get the right personalities in place, a news show could do well in the same vein as Inside the NBA.

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      • Brian says:

        arrrpeeohhh,

        One thing I would stay away from is the impulse to try doing a nightly sports news program. SportsCenter mattered because it filled a void. There isn’t a void in that area anymore. As the channel evolved I might consider it if a strong online sports journalism identity was developed or acquired (like Yahoo Sports) to give that more exposure. But without working from a base of some credibility in the sports fan world, going that route is just producing a hollow copy SC.

        I agree they shouldn’t copy SC, but something more newsy could work and is necessary. Plenty of people miss the games/events and want to get caught up on what happened. They could also go more in depth with opinion, like a blending of OTL with PTI, for another show. All ESPN’s opinion shows suffer from hard clocks forcing them to wrap up regardless of how the discussion is progressing. I think a show covering 1 or 2 things in depth (Charlie Rose but for sports) would beat ESPN’s 10 topics in 22 minutes.

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        • joe4psu says:

          arrrpeeohhh,

          One thing I would stay away from is the impulse to try doing a nightly sports news program. SportsCenter mattered because it filled a void. There isn’t a void in that area anymore. As the channel evolved I might consider it if a strong online sports journalism identity was developed or acquired (like Yahoo Sports) to give that more exposure. But without working from a base of some credibility in the sports fan world, going that route is just producing a hollow copy SC.

          I’m actually hoping for some competition to SportsCenter and *SPN News. Maybe with a concentration on the news and not the personalities. And sticking with more news than commentary. There is a place and time (other shows) for commentary. I don’t want it to dominate the straight news. The Yahoo Sports idea is very good. There is a tangled web to unweave though. Yahoo Sports is associated with Rivals.com, while Fox Sports is associated with Scout.com. I don’t know the contractual relationships between these entities but Yahoo Sports is the cream of the crop in investigative sports journalism for sure.

          Brian,

          I agree they shouldn’t copy SC, but something more newsy could work and is necessary. Plenty of people miss the games/events and want to get caught up on what happened. They could also go more in depth with opinion, like a blending of OTL with PTI, for another show. All ESPN’s opinion shows suffer from hard clocks forcing them to wrap up regardless of how the discussion is progressing. I think a show covering 1 or 2 things in depth (Charlie Rose but for sports) would beat ESPN’s 10 topics in 22 minutes.

          I don’t always agree with you but this I do.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            The odds say I have to luck into a correct opinion from your POV on occasion, right?

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          • joe4psu says:

            Eh. Differences of opinion make life interesting. What would message boards be like if we all agreed on everything.

            I wish more people could discuss topics like politics and religion like this. I love good philosophical discussions/debates on politics and religion but many people can’t take part in them and I don’t understand it. We disagree, so what?!? It seems weak minded to me to hold an opinion on a topic and not be able to listen to the other side. How do I verify that what I feel or believe is the right thing if I don’t understand the other side of the argument?

            Don’t answer that, this is turning into one of those discussions. :)

            Like

  7. Christian in Texas says:

    add

    Like

  8. Excellent post. (I sent an email to SI’s Mandel Initiative hitting on some of the same themes this week.) Intriguing stuff.

    You leave out the Pac-12 in the above discussion. I understand why: they aren’t as big of a draw as the other sports’ leagues. But, as Larry Scott is illuminating, the conference is under-marketed nationally. Now, with the Big 10′s contract being up soon AND the Big Ten’s animosity towards ESPN AND their developing relationships/partnerships with the Pac-12, could you envision a partnership there where THEY combine tier 1 content and spurn the four-letter network?

    FOX already has ownership in the Big Ten Network, and if they were ever going to throw their hat in the ring more…it seems like bidding on the Big Ten’s tier 1 in 2015 would be their shot.

    Like

  9. Brian says:

    Frank,

    A few comments:

    1. Fox was showing CFB games on FX this year.

    2. I think NBC and Fox made strategic mistakes if their original goals were to compete with ESPN. Fox intentionally went regional, which might have been a great idea but turned out not to be. OLN was all about really niche sports which always draws a small but loyal audience. When they changed to Versus, they upgraded some but still had a lot of niche stuff. That worked for ESPN in the beginning because they had no competition, but it doesn’t work so well for the next guy. NBC also made the unwise decision, in my opinion, to focus on event sports (triple crown, Olympics) rather than seasonal sports that provide more programming for less money. All their money got them about 4 weekends a year of sports, plus whatever NFL rights they had.

    I think both new sports ventures could work. ESPN has alienated a lot of viewers, so the key is to capitalize on it. First, they should avoid the pitfalls of ESPN (the hype, over-focus on one player/team/rivalry/issue, conflicts of interest, etc) as much as possible. Second, they should soften the ground by undermining the perimeter of ESPN before attacking ESPN1.

    By that, I mean they can compete with E*NEWS, E*Classic and E*U pretty easily. If they do it right, their News competitor can become their version of SportsCenter to fill the day in combination with some Classic games. Lower tier college sports during the day will work too and draw a younger audience. Once they’ve got themselves established, they can attack ESPN2. That’s the second tier of sports, and easier to win the rights to. It’s also important to leverage the tie to the broadcast network, which ABC/ESPN has done very well. FS1 and NBCS need to cover sports related to Fox and NBC coverage to help with cross promotion.

    In addition, these new guys need to get maximum use of “new media” to help them grow, especially in the younger demographic. Stealing the X games or getting related events would help. Pick up some of the cool niche sports ESPN has moved past. Most importantly, they need to not just copy ESPN.

    I always felt that ESPN was really the natural extension of “Wide World of Sports” on ABC. It was an eclectic mix of unusual sports to start, then changed as it grew bigger. NBCS and FS1 can do some of that, too. Build off of things like TWIB for some baseball programming, for example. FS1 should also have a more international flavor to reflect their ownership. There’s nothing wrong with 30 minutes shows about foreign sports events (major soccer leagues, cricket, F1, T&F, etc), and it would separate them from ESPN. Maybe NBCS wants to stay more American but have more Olympic sports coverage and other things (Ironman, etc). They could start stealing some of the NCAA Championships from ESPN (wrestling, for example).

    It will take the a long time to challenge ESPN for the top spot, but I think they could grow quickly if they are managed wisely.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      One thing I haven’t understood about “classic” games is why they keep televising things like Florida/Vanderbilt. Schools must not be willing to let go of games worth watching.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        It all depends who has the rights to the games. But even the edited versions of old games (1 hour for the whole game) fills time pretty cheaply.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          If you’ve noticed above, I had a similar idea on your “cool niche” sports before reading yours. Skateboarding and soccer don’t appeal to me, but they do have more appeal in the younger demographic age groups.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            It’s hardly an original thought for me. Many people have had it. Get some extreme sports, some MMA, etc and try to get the younger demographic. I don’t know if they watch enough for it to work or not.

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    • Rich says:

      ESPN owns the X Games so they aren’t going anywhere. But I think you’re on to something in that copying ESPN won’t win the day. Differentiation will be important. But it will be very difficult to beat ESPN at getting any Tier 1 sports because of the $6 billion in subscriber fees. None of the other stations will ever come close to that. I’d also reiterate Frank’s point that the big leagues want to be associated with other big leagues. If you award our fights to a second-class broadcaster, it won’t be long until your league is perceived as second-class (NFL would not have this problem).

      Like

      • Brian says:

        That’s why they should work from the edges in, offering a better platform than ESPN4-8 and then starting to challenge ESPN2. People will leave ESPNU for a truly national network even if it is new.

        Like

  10. Sam240 says:

    If the NHL is Tier 2, where does that put NASCAR? It certainly isn’t Tier 3, as you imply.

    Ratings for the Chase averaged 2.7 in 2010 and 3.1 in 2011. As a comparison, NBA games on ABC have averaged between a 2.0 and 2.5 rating over the last few years. This would put NASCAR on a Tier 1 level. Fox does have rights to the first third of the NASCAR season each year through 2014, the year the current contract runs out, so there might be a few races that could be moved over to an all-sports network immediately.

    Frank, on what tier would you place NASCAR? If it’s Tier 1, how would that affect your previous analysis?

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    • Mike says:

      As much as I dislike NASCAR, it has to be Tier I.

      Like

      • morganwick says:

        I don’t claim to speak for Frank, but I think the very fact of its oversight in this post argues for putting NASCAR on a lower tier. The South really is like a completely different country. When it comes to sports, they care about two things: auto racing and football of all stripes. NASCAR has a very passionate and sizable fanbase, but casuals generally don’t tune in to NASCAR except for the Daytona 500, or unless they’re just gravitating to Fox or ESPN to see what’s on. (This doesn’t apply to the SEC because of the national nature of college football.) That’s why moving to ESPN didn’t get NASCAR as much coverage on SportsCenter as you might have thought. Because of this, I think you can make a case that NASCAR is Tier 2 at best. This is especially the case if NASCAR races don’t draw big numbers in the demo. Raw ratings don’t matter that much to the discussion; by Sam’s standards, golf and maybe football from the other Big 5 conferences should be Tier 1 and tennis might be Tier 3.

        Like

        • Sam240 says:

          If NASCAR doesn’t get the casual viewers, then there might be trouble viewing it as Tier 1. Then again, Frank might not view people making left turn after left turn for hours on end to be a sport. That’s why I asked him for his opinion.

          Even if you go by total viewership, golf doesn’t make tier 1. As Frank noted in Februrary, here’s the average viewership for the top three college football conferences in 2011:

          1. SEC – 4.4 million
          2. Big 10 – 3.26 million
          3. ACC – 2.65 million

          I also noted that the NBA’s regular-season games on ABC have had an average rating somewhere between 2.0 and 2.5 over the past few years (this is a rating, not viewership). Translated into total viewers, this would put the average network NBA regular-season game somewhere between SEC football and Big 10 football. Cable viewership is a little less, but playoff viewership is more, so, overall, it’s a wash.

          During last year’s PGA FedEx cup tournaments, viewership didn’t break the 2.0 rating. In some tournaments, the Nielsen rating for the final round didn’t even reach 1.0. Ratings may be higher for majors, but the Nielsen for the final round of last year’s British Open was just 2.1. There’s no way that golf gets to Tier 1.

          Now we’ll consider NASCAR. There were ten races in the Chase, but only nine took place on weekends (the Chicago race was pushed back to Monday because of weather). Of the weekend races, the one with the worst viewership was at Dover. It had only 4.093 million viewers, which means the lowest weekend Chase audience was higher than the average Big 10 football audience.

          Of the races on Fox in 2011, the one with the lowest viewership was at Richmond on April 30. It had 6.138 million viewers, or 140% of the average SEC football viewership. There were 3.3 million viewers for the qualifying session at Daytona. NASCAR may be better at drawing in the casual fans earlier in the season, since it doesn’t go head-to-head with the NFL then, but the move of most of the Chase races from ABC to ESPN does appear to have reduced the audience by about 15 to 20% for NASCAR’s late-season competitions.

          Like

          • I’d probably put NASCAR in the tier 1 position. I don’t pretend to understand any of the allure of NASCAR (much like I don’t care for country music), but there’s a large swath of the population that follows it religiously. Regardless of whether I personally like NASCAR or not, if I were running a sports network, I’d definitely want to buy it.

            A couple of my friends that are really into NASCAR tried taking me to the Chicago race that ended up getting postponed because of rain this past year. It was a return (or maybe payback) for taking one of them that totally wasn’t into golf to the BMW Championship a couple of years back, which happened to be one of Tiger Woods’ most dominant performances ever (he was minus 15 FOR THE DAY) and right before his little driveway incident. There’s about 15 miles between Cog Hill and Chicagoland Speedway, but it might as well have been 15,000 miles in terms of cultural difference.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            It’s not a sport, but I don’t mean that to be derogatory. Driving is a skill, and doing it at that level in that heat is impressive. But the tire changers are doing more athletic things than the driver.

            I separate sports, sports games and activities. True sports are testing how high, fast or far your body can do something. Sports games use athletic ability to score points according to certain rules using athletic ability and skills. Activities use skills to achieve something, but may not require elite athleticism to be great. No group is better than the other to me, they are just classifications.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Frank,

            It’s a huge cultural difference, granted. The one thing I’ll tell you is that racing (any form) is much different in person than on TV. If you think the speed and power is different in football live, it’s 10 times as different for racing. That said, most NASCAR races are way too long since they try to keep everyone bunched together all the time anyway, but the speed and noise has to be experienced to be evaluated fairly. Take it from someone who used to live 5 miles from a major racetrack and always had free tickets to the races.

            Like

  11. greg says:

    Hawks.

    Like

  12. Not really relevant to this post…but here is a detailed look at what our new playoff system might actually look like. It looks good to me.

    http://nittanylionsden.com/2012-articles/march/the-playoff-is-almost-here.html

    Like

    • Eric says:

      The one thing I really wanted out of this was the preservation of the Rose Bowl and it doesn’t look we are going to get it. I was really hoping they’d have the semi-finals the week after the CCGs (or the week they are currently and move the season up) and then let the losers still go to bowls. With this I don’t think that’s going to happen which means the Rose Bowl will usually not have a Big Ten champion anymore. That thought kind of makes me sick and I’ve gone from grudgingly accepting of a playoff to really hoping the whole thing falls apart.

      Like

      • cutter says:

        What does preservation of the Rose Bowl mean? It’s not going away, so I assume you mean the game should always be between the Big Ten and Pac 12 winners and the runner up teams.

        For example, while you were happy that Wisconsin (11-2) and Oregon (11-2) played in last year’s Rose Bowl, you would bemade physically ill by the prospect of Wisconsin and Stanford (11-1) playing in it because the Ducks went to the playoffs? Is that correct?

        How about the 2011 Rose Bowl game? I assume you were sickened by the fact that undefeated Texas Christian (12-0) played Big Ten champion Wisconsin (11-1) and won 21-19. Were you violently ill during that game (vomiting, etc.) or did you just get a mild chill from it?

        The 2006 Rose Bowl between two undefeated teams (Texas beat USC 41-38) must have been physically jarring, especially after UT beat Michigan in the same venue the year previous by a score of 38-37.

        Like

        • Eric says:

          What sickens me is that the Rose Bowl goes from being the goal a good portion of the season to a very much secondary goal. Everyone right now wants the national championship, but usually that doesn’t happen and after a loss, the Rose Bowl can be the primary goal the rest of the season. If the top 4 champs make it, then more years than not the Rose Bowl will be thought of as the 2nd place prize. Maybe the match-ups will still be good many years, but that’s a big change in psychology that is going to lessen the magic of the game.

          For 50 years, getting to the Rose Bowl was THE GOAL all season for every Big Ten team. Now it’s mainly going to be seen as a prize for the 2nd best team. Sure you’ll still get the Big Ten champ in some years, but those years will be seen as bad years for the conference. As a traditionalist that bothers me a lot more than losing out on the national championship game if we aren’t a top 2 team.

          Like

          • Rich says:

            Eric, I used to hold your view. However, my thoughts have changed drastically. The bowls have taken and taken and taken from the schools for decades. I don’t feel like the bowls have served the schools very well. I realize that the Rose Bowl is probably an exception. But I feel like the schools need to do what’s best for the schools and forget about the Bowls. Times change and we ought to try to change with them. Otherwise, we just become crusty curmudgeons.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Rich,

            That view assumes that walking away from CFB isn’t an option. I’m willing to draw a line in the sand for me and refuse to cross it. The more CFB changes in the direction it’s headed, the less I’ll follow it. I’m not required to accept or like the changes.

            Like

          • morganwick says:

            College football is the absolute last sport that should have the championship system it has (except maybe other college sports). It has too many teams for it to work. If you want to have a system like it, apply it to a professional league, or adopt something like European soccer has with the Champions League. The system college football has now is a relic of a bygone age and the unwillingness of people, in charge and not, to adopt to the sports landscape of 2012 rather than 1912.

            Like

          • joe4psu says:

            morganwick,

            The system college football has now is a relic of a bygone age and the unwillingness of people, in charge and not, to adopt to the sports landscape of 2012 rather than 1912.

            Amen.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            @morganwick
            There is definitely a different attitude among players as well as fans (obviously there are still a good number who still feel the same way) than there was 40 or 50 years ago. There was an excitement for SWC schools to go to Dallas to the Cotton Bowl back in the days of regulated airlines and before Southwest Airlines and when people didn’t view Greyhound buses as something only the poor took (I remember taking one from Austin to San Antonio via every single small town between the two adding at least 50% to the mileage).

            But in time, Dallas became blase’. Playing the 2nd place team in the Big 8 or SEC wasn’t viewed as quite as big a deal as it was at one time. Teams had trips on planes on regular season games. And the emphasis on winning did become bigger virtually everywhere. Very few schools would accept regular 3-8 seasons. They did what was necessary to achieve success sometimes. That became true in basketball where the consolation games disappeared as well as in football. We’re starting to see it in baseball, at least in the south and west, where there is a facilities race.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            morganwick,

            College football is the absolute last sport that should have the championship system it has (except maybe other college sports). It has too many teams for it to work.

            You have that exactly backwards. Because of its size, CFB is particularly ill-suited to a playoff. The lack of intersectional games makes it nearly impossible to correctly determine which teams are best. That’s why the only rational choice for a playoff is to use conference champions as we have a decent idea of which team is the best in each conference. CFB is much better suited to not trying to force a championship, just let polls vote on it to drive sales/clicks.

            The system college football has now is a relic of a bygone age and the unwillingness of people, in charge and not, to adopt to the sports landscape of 2012 rather than 1912.

            They had playoffs in 1912, too. What has changed is that many modern fans have apparently become gullible enough to believe that 1 game is an accurate way to determine which team is better. Single elimination playoffs make money, but they don’t accurately determine the “best” team in a league. This is why football playoffs always suck and always will (other do too, but for other reasons). At least MLB, NBA and NHL play series. Add in the fact that a playoff finds the hottest team at the end of the year rather than the best team that year. It’s a racket to make money, and some people are gullible enough to buy into it while other aren’t.

            Like

          • joe4psu says:

            Brian,

            Add in the fact that a playoff finds the hottest team at the end of the year rather than the best team that year. It’s a racket to make money, and some people are gullible enough to buy into it while other aren’t.

            It is not gullible to look at the season as a progression and want to be the best at the end instead of the beginning or middle. During the game who cares who’s ahead the first 59 minutes as long as you win?

            Like

          • Brian says:

            joe4psu,

            It is not gullible to look at the season as a progression and want to be the best at the end instead of the beginning or middle.

            Yes, it is gullible to me. Everyone should want to be the best all season long, and that is the team which should be rewarded. Being good enough to scrape over the playoff bar and then being the hottest team isn’t the same as being the best team.

            During the game who cares who’s ahead the first 59 minutes as long as you win?

            A season isn’t a game, but fans care all the time about how the game went. Last second wins are usually seen as lesser wins than dominant performances.

            What you fail to understand is that your game analogy better fits the regular season only. So really you are explaining why only conference champs should be in the playoff because they are the “winners” at the end.

            Like

    • @ATYCLB, this looks really good, thanks for posting; I really wish they would consider 8 teams, give the 5 major conference champions (B1G, PAC 12, SEC, Big 12, ACC) auto-bids and have 3 at-larges. If a 4 team playoff is the way to go though, this looks like the best option. One question though, what happens to the rose bowl in this scenario? The PAC 12 presidents seemed adament that if the Rose Bowl wasn’t upheld, they were going to pull out…

      Like

      • Eric says:

        Sadly I think the Rose Bowl will just be allowed to become for runner-ups most years. I hate it, but the only way that’s not the case is if they move up the semi-finals and have the losers play it in it. The current scenarios don’t have that happening.

        Like

        • @Eric, I agree with you; this could really diminish what the Rose Bowl has stood for up to this point to the Big Ten and Pac 12….I’m not sure what concessions could be made to save it though if this is the format that TPTB do end up deciding on. I expanded on what ATYCLB did here: http://short-sideoption.blogspot.com/ going all the way back to 1998. There are a few times the Pac 12 and Big Ten champ could have met outside the playoffs in the Rose Bowl, but it definitely would be relegated to a 2nd tier prize behind a playoff birth.

          Like

          • I checked out your site. Very similar results…except that you keep the Big East in as an auto-entry. In the past, I guess that is accurate.

            The Rose Bowl would lose some to a playoff…but not as much as people are fearing.

            2011 No. 4 Stanford against No. 10 Wisconsin
            2010 No. 4 Stanford against No. 6 Ohio State
            2009 No. 18 Oregon St against No. 8 Ohio State
            2008 No. 17 Oregon against No. 8 PSU
            2007 No. 7 USC against No. 13 Illinois
            2006 No. 18 California against No. 7 Wisconsin

            It doesn’t look bad at all (except for the years where USC was great and the rest of the Pac-10 stunk). Which isn’t really the playoff’s fault…but the Pac-10/12 itself. Three year are essentially the same as what we actually got (2007, 2010, and 2011)…and ratings would be fine for all of those games (except for 2006).

            Like

          • Brian says:

            allthatyoucantleavebehind,

            The Rose Bowl would lose some to a playoff…but not as much as people are fearing.

            2011 No. 4 Stanford against No. 10 Wisconsin
            2010 No. 4 Stanford against No. 6 Ohio State
            2009 No. 18 Oregon St against No. 8 Ohio State
            2008 No. 17 Oregon against No. 8 PSU
            2007 No. 7 USC against No. 13 Illinois
            2006 No. 18 California against No. 7 Wisconsin

            It doesn’t look bad at all (except for the years where USC was great and the rest of the Pac-10 stunk). Which isn’t really the playoff’s fault…but the Pac-10/12 itself. Three year are essentially the same as what we actually got (2007, 2010, and 2011)…and ratings would be fine for all of those games (except for 2006).

            Clearly beauty is in the eye of the beholder because that looks terrible to me. We know 2007 was a travesty, and 2006, 2008 and 2009 look awful too. 2010 is still wrong, but the matchup on paper looks decent. The same goes for 2011.

            That’s 4 of 6 that are terrible, and the other two are just wrong. That’s a huge loss for the Rose Bowl.

            Like

          • cutter says:

            Here’s a recommendation. Go back six years or so and imagine if Nebraska was already in the Big Ten and Utah along with Colorado were in the Pac 12. Make a best guesstimate then of what past Rose Bowl games would look like if those three teams were in place along with the proposal for the four-team playoff that seems to be gaining steam.

            The only hard data we have to look at the proposal is last season, where Wisconsin would have played Stanford instead of Oregon. For example, what would the Pac 12 looked like in 2008 if Utah had been part of the conference (the Utes went undefeated that season and beat Alabama 31-17 in the Super Bowl). Would Utah have taken Oregon’s place and made that 1 January 2009 Rose Bowl game against #8 Penn State more compelling?

            If you want to have more of an apples-to-apples comparison, take a look at Utah, Colorado and Nebraska to see if those teams might have taken the place of another going back to 2006 (perhaps use just the BCS rankings). Because going forward, these two conferences in their 12-team configuaration are going to be the ones vying for the four-team playoff berths, not the old 11-team Big Ten and 10-team Pac 10.

            Like

          • frug says:

            All the public info really does imply that what happened was the schools overruling Scott.

            Colorado (who is desperate to promote its image as a West Coast school that happens to closer to the Gulf of Mexico) made clear they opposed any attempts to add former Big XII schools, but at least 9 other schools were willing to accept less California exposure if it netted them Texas. Scott (who backed adding the Oklahoma schools on their own if necessary) had lead David Boren to believe that the PAC would take OU and OSU regardless of what happened with Texas.

            However, when it came time issue the invitations Scott realized he couldn’t get the votes. At that point Boren made a last ditch effort to leverage concessions from the Big XII before it became public that the PAC deal was dead.

            This prompted Scott (who Texas had played like a Stradivarius 12 months earlier) to try and make clear that the PAC had rejected OU less he looked like he had gotten burned by another Big XII school that was trying to leverage concessions from their conference mates.

            Like

          • frug says:

            Sorry, that previous comment was meant to be posted lower in the thread.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            cutter,

            Here’s a recommendation. Go back six years or so and imagine if Nebraska was already in the Big Ten and Utah along with Colorado were in the Pac 12. Make a best guesstimate then of what past Rose Bowl games would look like if those three teams were in place along with the proposal for the four-team playoff that seems to be gaining steam.

            That’s nearly impossible to do and get agreement from others. We can assume NE and CO would perform about the same in the B10 and P12 as a reasonable estimate, but there is no agreed upon way to extrapolate a non-AQ record to an AQ conference.

            2002
            CO 9-5
            NE 7-7
            Utah 5-6

            2003
            CO 5-7
            NE 10-3
            Utah 10-2

            2004
            CO 8-5
            NE 5-6
            Utah 12-0

            2005
            CO 7-6
            NE 8-4
            Utah 7-5

            2006
            CO 2-10
            NE 9-5
            Utah 8-5

            2007
            CO 6-7
            NE 5-7
            Utah 9-4

            2008
            CO 5-7
            NE 9-4
            Utah 13-0

            2009
            CO 3-9
            NE 10-4
            Utah 10-3

            2010
            CO 5-7
            NE 10-4
            Utah 10-3

            2011
            CO 3-10
            NE 9-4
            Utah 8-5

            It’s safe to say CO was a non-factor for the playoff with a best season of 9-5. NE was also a non-factor since in their best years the B10 had 2 or more better teams. As for Utah, they might have been 3rd in 2003, 2nd or 3rd in 2004 (USC was 8-0 and Cal 7-1), 1st or 2nd in 2008 (USC was 8-1), maybe 2nd or 3rd in 2009 (OR was 8-1, several 6-3). I tend to think they would have lost 1-2 more games per year in the P12, so I’d only give them 2nd in 2008. That means they’d potentially be in the Rose Bowl in 2008. Otherwise, nothing would be different.

            In 2008, USC was #3 and OR #10. Utah would have been about where OR was with a loss, so no major change to the system.

            Like

          • Brian, What you are missing is that the Rose Bowl (of reality) wasn’t much worse than the Rose Bowl (of this adjusted simulation)? It’s fine to stomp your feet about a bad matchup…but the fact is that the game would NOT have been much different. You can go back to 1992 or 1982 or 1972…the Rose Bowl takes the best the Pac and Big Ten have to offer. If those teams are #8 and #18…so be it. If they are #1 and #2, so be it.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            allthatyoucantleavebehind,

            What you are missing is that the Rose Bowl (of reality) wasn’t much worse than the Rose Bowl (of this adjusted simulation)?

            I’m not sure what you are asking there, so I’ll guess you mean that as a statement. In which case, I’m not missing anything. Your Rose Bowls are terrible because they don’t have the 2 champs. The Rose was forced to suffer that way much too often by the BCS, leading to regrettable games like USC/IL.

            It’s fine to stomp your feet about a bad matchup…but the fact is that the game would NOT have been much different.

            Stating fact isn’t foot stomping. The BCS ruined the Rose bowl many times, and that’s what you’re comparing your system to. Sucking just as much as the BCS isn’t really much of an accomplishment in my opinion. The only good Rose Bowl is a matchup of champions.

            You can go back to 1992 or 1982 or 1972…the Rose Bowl takes the best the Pac and Big Ten have to offer.

            It used to, before the NC obsessives messed with it. Now it takes what it can get.

            If those teams are #8 and #18…so be it. If they are #1 and #2, so be it.

            This shows how much you don’t get it. The rankings don’t make it a good or bad matchup, whether or not it is the B10 champ versus the P12 champ does.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            What he said. (which is why I hope the B1G and PAC say their champs meet in the RB as a semi, or they just meet in the RB anyway)

            Like

        • Brian says:

          Eric,

          No matter what the Rose was going to suffer. That downward slide was started by the Bowl Coalition, and was unstoppable. As the focus has shifted to national title or nothing, the bowls had to lose out. Just accept that people are intent on ruining all that is good about CFB and it will make your life easier.

          Like

          • @Brian, do you think College Football is better off staying a regional sport as it was through the last two decades or so? I’m undecided on the argument; but the push for playoffs I believe has come from the desire to nationalize the sport of College Football; do you think this is bad for the game in the long run? (to preface, I myself am a traditionalist and am on the fence about the effects a playoff will have on the regular season; but am becoming more open to the idea)

            Like

          • Eric says:

            OrderRestored,

            Ignoring my owns desires and just looking at how to best maximize college football as a national sport, I’ll concede the BCS was a smashing success and I think a 4 team playoff will work well and maybe add a little value (I don’t think the same about a 6 or 8 team playoff though).

            What I think is key to the sport at the national level is having a lot of meaningful games. The title game combined with the effect of a single loss on the whole championship landscape helped grow the sport nationally a lot in my opinion. I think this can still work out OK with 4 teams, but once you get into 6 or 8 I think you risk more regionalization again. For instance, knowing that the PAC-12 champ will almost certainly make the playoff regardless doesn’t leave a lot of reason to watch games further east if you are on the west coast. That’s very different than if you need to hope Penn State or Alabama lose.

            Like

          • @ Eric, I couldnt agree with you more (which is why i’ve become more open to the idea of playoffs)….it has to stay at 4 teams though. Any more than this and I believe it begins to jeopardize everything that makes this game special. I’m open to the idea of a 4 team seeded playoff; but am strongly against anything more than that. (not that my opinion matters in the large scheme, but whatever haha)

            Like

          • Brian says:

            OrderRestored,

            @Brian, do you think College Football is better off staying a regional sport as it was through the last two decades or so? I’m undecided on the argument; but the push for playoffs I believe has come from the desire to nationalize the sport of College Football; do you think this is bad for the game in the long run? (to preface, I myself am a traditionalist and am on the fence about the effects a playoff will have on the regular season; but am becoming more open to the idea)

            I think you are presenting a false choice. The growth in TV coverage was going to make CFB more national regardless. That said, yes, I think the sport was much better off before. It wasn’t 1 winner and 119 losers. Finishing #2 wasn’t a cause for mockery or embarrassment. Coaches didn’t face the hot seat for losing a major bowl. It wasn’t media members ripping on one conference and supporting another. It was about tradition and the regular season, and that’s being lost. Winning your conference used to be the goal, and now it’s a footnote for the top teams. CFB will die and be replaced by NFL Lite, and that’s a shame to me because I don’t like the NFL.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            @Brian

            I think you’re conclusions about the past are totally wrong. Maybe you get a different perception from the Big 10, but the SWC was constantly ripped by the national media. Fred Akers won 70% of his games at Texas and twice had unbeaten regular seasons being ranked #1 once and #2 the other time, but got fired in the 80s because he lost bowl games. For 100 or so teams, winning the conference is still a great goal. For many of the others, it had ceased becoming sufficient. The Big 10 and the Rose Bowl were a little different, but that did not apply everywhere.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            I think you’re conclusions about the past are totally wrong.

            I’m guessing timing and location matter. I was obviously generalizing, but showing how the emphasis has shifted.

            Maybe you get a different perception from the Big 10, but the SWC was constantly ripped by the national media.

            I don’t remember the national media saying much of anything about anyone in CFB except for major scandals like SMU, or OU under Switzer. I’m sure SI had articles about things, but they didn’t sink in much. It was not like the current ESPN propaganda machine for the SEC.

            Fred Akers won 70% of his games at Texas and twice had unbeaten regular seasons being ranked #1 once and #2 the other time, but got fired in the 80s because he lost bowl games.

            The key thing there is the plural form of games. OSU fired Cooper for losing bowls and to MI but only after he lost control of the team off the field too, but he got 13 years at OSU (a minor miracle based on OSU’s reputation for firing coaches and his constant choking in big games). Tressel got a lot of heat for losing to UF and he’d just won a national title 4 seasons earlier plus 2 more BCS wins.

            For 100 or so teams, winning the conference is still a great goal. For many of the others, it had ceased becoming sufficient.

            I don’t think that’s true any more. I think a lot more fan bases are ignoring the conference championship and asking about NCG wins instead.

            The Big 10 and the Rose Bowl were a little different, but that did not apply everywhere.

            Yes, the B10 was always better that way. But split titles didn’t used to be as reviled as they are now. Fans were disappointed, but seasons weren’t ruined by not winning the NC. The focus has shifted everywhere, it’s just more apparent for the B10 and P12 because they had more to lose in that sense.

            Like

          • morganwick says:

            Brian, if you look at the comments above yours, would you support expanding the playoffs to a basketball-esque obscene size? Because if they’re right, that’s the only way you get regionalization back short of killing ESPN and all its would-be competitors.

            I personally think a larger playoff could preserve the regular season more than you think if you give auto bids to every conference champion, giving higher seeds the potential prize of a first-round chump like the NCAA Tournament’s 15 and 16 seeds (though as Wetzel has pointed out realignment, especially the death of the WAC and the Mount USA merger, may be making this less of the case). I hate it when commentators refer to the NCAA Tournament field as the “best 68 teams in the country”. No one EVER corrects them and points out that it’s only the best 50 or so plus 18 or so teams that happened to be the best teams from conferences that didn’t have any of the top 50. (This year it was the best 50 or 51, depending on whether Long Beach State would have been the first team out; we know because the NCAA released the full seed list this year.)

            Like

          • frug says:

            For 100 or so teams, winning the conference is still a great goal. For many of the others, it had ceased becoming sufficient.

            I don’t think that’s true any more. I think a lot more fan bases are ignoring the conference championship and asking about NCG wins instead.

            Gotta agree with Bullet on this one. For 80% of teams a conference championship is the first goal, it is only the major schools (tOSU, Texas, Florida..) who view themselves as perennial title contenders, for whom it is national championship or bust.

            I mean Ron Zook kept his job for 4 years because he was lucky enough to have fluky 9-3 season be good enough to make the Rose Bowl where the team lost by 32 points.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            “I don’t remember the national media saying much of anything about anyone in CFB except for major scandals like SMU, or OU under Switzer. I’m sure SI had articles about things, but they didn’t sink in much. It was not like the current ESPN propaganda machine for the SEC.”

            College football was plenty big back in the old days, and even 100 years ago. Back then, the only big sports were baseball, college football, and a couple of sports that aren’t very popular now (boxing and horse racing). As for national media, I’m not sure what you’re considering, because 1. ESPN is sports media & even now, the non-sports media doesn’t cover sports much unless there’s scandal. 2. Other than SI and the Sporting News (and later, USA Today’s sports section), there wasn’t much in the way of national sports media. They didn’t cover much because they hardly existed.

            Oh, and regional rivalries in college football had been going on for a long time. Back in the day, the Eastern powerhouses (who would much later be in the Ivy League) didn’t consider the Western schools (located in the Midwest) to be of their quality. Their sportswriters felt the same way.

            Like

          • joe4psu says:

            To no one in particular, just a general feeling I’m getting from alot of the posts.

            I can understand the appeal of tradition as much as anyone. I’m a PSU fan. None of our fans want the uniforms to change, so on and so on. But I think alot of people mistake the level that cfb is at with what it COULD be. It is only now beginning to get compensated at it’s worth because a guy from outside the circle, Larry Scott, has come in and shaken things up. It is now recognized as the second most followed sport, along with MLB IINM, but who’s to say it couldn’t have been even more successful if it had made changes years ago?

            If the sport hadn’t been stuck in the mud in regard to televising games for so long it may have been much more successful. If it hadn’t remained tied to bowls as the be all and end all for so long it may have been more successful. If it hadn’t held onto the failed BCS concept for so long it may have been more successful. We will never know for sure but considering the American peoples love for football I believe that it could have been even more successful. It could be even more popular than MLB if TPTB had not held it back for so long.

            To TPTB, think about it. You are concerned about keeping the popularity of the regular season and worried that a playoff may negatively affect it. Maybe you should be thinking about the success of the NFL regular season WITH a playoff. College football has always been held back by leadership looking back while the NFL has moved forward with leadership looking forward. See a pattern here? Ask Larry Scott about it. I’ll bet he has some ideas.

            Like

          • For those of you wondering what the Rose Bowl would look like WITH a playoff, here ya go.

            2011 No. 4 Stanford against No. 10 Wisconsin
            2010 No. 4 Stanford against No. 6 Ohio State
            2009 No. 18 Oregon St against No. 8 Ohio State
            2008 No. 17 Oregon against No. 8 PSU
            2007 No. 7 USC against No. 13 Illinois
            2006 No. 18 California against No. 7 Wisconsin

            It doesn’t look bad at all (except for the years where USC was great and the rest of the Pac-10 stunk). Which isn’t really the playoff’s fault…but the Pac-10/12 itself. Three year are essentially the same as what we actually got (2007, 2010, and 2011)…and ratings would be fine for all of those games (except for 2006).

            Like

          • joe4psu says:

            Brian,

            You pretty much had me until this:

            Yes, the B10 was always better that way. But split titles didn’t used to be as reviled as they are now. Fans were disappointed, but seasons weren’t ruined by not winning the NC. The focus has shifted everywhere, it’s just more apparent for the B10 and P12 because they had more to lose in that sense.

            The B1G was better that way? The problem with the B1G when PSU joined was that the Rose Bowl, and not the MNC, was the goal. And split conference championships were weak. With a capital W, capital E, capital A and a capital K! Especially when two schools were tied and one had beaten the other during the regular season. That never, never, made any sense to me. A three way tie where the schools have beaten each other is different. Unsatisfying, but different.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            morganwick,

            Brian, if you look at the comments above yours, would you support expanding the playoffs to a basketball-esque obscene size? Because if they’re right, that’s the only way you get regionalization back short of killing ESPN and all its would-be competitors.

            I probably won’t even watch a 4 team playoff except games my team is in. I’d stop watching the regular season except my team if they went to a huge playoff. Frankly, I might just drop CFB altogether.

            I personally think a larger playoff could preserve the regular season more than you think if you give auto bids to every conference champion, giving higher seeds the potential prize of a first-round chump like the NCAA Tournament’s 15 and 16 seeds (though as Wetzel has pointed out realignment, especially the death of the WAC and the Mount USA merger, may be making this less of the case). I hate it when commentators refer to the NCAA Tournament field as the “best 68 teams in the country”. No one EVER corrects them and points out that it’s only the best 50 or so plus 18 or so teams that happened to be the best teams from conferences that didn’t have any of the top 50. (This year it was the best 50 or 51, depending on whether Long Beach State would have been the first team out; we know because the NCAA released the full seed list this year.)

            I think you are completely wrong. Any playoff hurts the season, and the bigger it gets the worse the impact. I have zero interest in December Madness.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            frug,

            Gotta agree with Bullet on this one. For 80% of teams a conference championship is the first goal, it is only the major schools (tOSU, Texas, Florida..) who view themselves as perennial title contenders, for whom it is national championship or bust.

            I mean Ron Zook kept his job for 4 years because he was lucky enough to have fluky 9-3 season be good enough to make the Rose Bowl where the team lost by 32 points.

            And I still think you’re wrong. Now fans are complaining about not playing in the NCG, not celebrating conference titles, even at smaller schools like Boise or TCU or UC. The top half of the major conferences want national titles, and see a conference title as a stepping stone. Even the kings put more emphasis on the national title than they used to. I’m not saying it’s binary, I’m saying the emphasis has shifted so a conference title satisfies fewer fans than it used to.

            We all might as well agree to disagree on this.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            “I don’t remember the national media saying much of anything about anyone in CFB except for major scandals like SMU, or OU under Switzer. I’m sure SI had articles about things, but they didn’t sink in much. It was not like the current ESPN propaganda machine for the SEC.”

            College football was plenty big back in the old days, and even 100 years ago. Back then, the only big sports were baseball, college football, and a couple of sports that aren’t very popular now (boxing and horse racing). As for national media, I’m not sure what you’re considering, because 1. ESPN is sports media & even now, the non-sports media doesn’t cover sports much unless there’s scandal. 2. Other than SI and the Sporting News (and later, USA Today’s sports section), there wasn’t much in the way of national sports media. They didn’t cover much because they hardly existed.

            You’re missing the context. Bullet was talking about the national media ripping on the SWC. I consider all the national media. Since we’re talking the early days of ESPN and before, the national media for CFB were largely newspapers and SI (TV and radio for game coverage only). A few major sports writer were syndicated, but mostly it was local writers only so there just wasn’t much truly national coverage beyond SN and SI, and I never read SN.

            My original point was that the media environment for CFB has changed tremendously in the past 25+ years. You seem to be agreeing with me.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Brian:

            Well, I suppose you can tell yourself that, at the beginning of each year, the fanbases in the top half of the ACC (instead of just FSU & maybe VTech & Clemson) & top half of the Pac (instead of just USC, Oregon, and maybe Stanford) would be disappointed with only a conference championship and not a national title if you want, but it doesn’t jibe with the reality I inhabit.

            For that matter, what fanbases in the B10 believe a conference title with no national title means little outside of OSU and the (somewhat delusional) folks in Lincoln? Michigan doesn’t think they’re a national title contender yet. PSU would be ecstatic if they won the B10 in 2012. Wisconsin folks I know still believe the key goal is winning the conference. Neither Spartans or Hawkeyes think it’s national title or bust.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            joe4psu,

            I can understand the appeal of tradition as much as anyone. I’m a PSU fan. None of our fans want the uniforms to change, so on and so on. But I think alot of people mistake the level that cfb is at with what it COULD be. It is only now beginning to get compensated at it’s worth because a guy from outside the circle, Larry Scott, has come in and shaken things up. It is now recognized as the second most followed sport, along with MLB IINM, but who’s to say it couldn’t have been even more successful if it had made changes years ago?

            You seem to be assuming that bigger and richer is automatically better. I don’t accept that premise for amateur sports. If I wanted big and rich, I’d watch the pros because they are better in every aspect of play.

            If the sport hadn’t been stuck in the mud in regard to televising games for so long it may have been much more successful. If it hadn’t remained tied to bowls as the be all and end all for so long it may have been more successful. If it hadn’t held onto the failed BCS concept for so long it may have been more successful. We will never know for sure but considering the American peoples love for football I believe that it could have been even more successful. It could be even more popular than MLB if TPTB had not held it back for so long.

            I understand why the NCAA tried to limit TV access, but they lost the case and things changed. I don’t know that getting more TV coverage early would have changed much. I’m not sure the networks would have done much differently 50 years ago anyway. At best I think you shift the timeline a few years. Back when the NCAA lost their control, most people still only had 4 channels so the TV windows were limited.

            To TPTB, think about it. You are concerned about keeping the popularity of the regular season and worried that a playoff may negatively affect it. Maybe you should be thinking about the success of the NFL regular season WITH a playoff.

            You mean where 9-7 is what it takes to win the title? Yes, I’m sure that’s what CFB wants. That will really keep the regular season important. The NFL is based on gambling and fantasy football. CFB is properly more concerned about other things like students, academics and alumni than maximizing revenue. CFB isn’t a pure business. Have you ever considered that CFB doesn’t want to be the NFL?

            College football has always been held back by leadership looking back while the NFL has moved forward with leadership looking forward. See a pattern here? Ask Larry Scott about it. I’ll bet he has some ideas.

            You are comparing apples and oranges, and you know it. CFB is a side item for colleges while the NFL is in the football business. Larry Scott is a business man that doesn’t seem concerned with academics except when his presidents force it on him. I don’t want that for CFB.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            joe4psu,

            You pretty much had me until this:

            “Yes, the B10 was always better that way. But split titles didn’t used to be as reviled as they are now. Fans were disappointed, but seasons weren’t ruined by not winning the NC. The focus has shifted everywhere, it’s just more apparent for the B10 and P12 because they had more to lose in that sense.”

            The B1G was better that way? The problem with the B1G when PSU joined was that the Rose Bowl, and not the MNC, was the goal. And split conference championships were weak. With a capital W, capital E, capital A and a capital K! Especially when two schools were tied and one had beaten the other during the regular season. That never, never, made any sense to me. A three way tie where the schools have beaten each other is different. Unsatisfying, but different.

            Yes, it was better that way. And no, that was a problem with PSU, not with the B10. As an independent, PSU had no concept of conference championships meaning anything. That’s one reason why PSU didn’t fit in as naturally as NE. They looked at the world differently.

            Lots of people hate split conference titles, and give the argument you make against them, and I’ll get to that in a minute. First I want to clear up that I meant national titles there. It used to be common and not a big problem is the AP and UPI split the title. It was something to discuss all off season. Now people act like it’s the end of the world, but even during the BCS people don’t agree on the champ every time. They won’t in a playoff either. The 19-1 Pats were better than the SB champion Giants regardless of the SB’s outcome, and everyone knows it.

            As for split titles, they are the correct thing to do in my opinion. 7-1 is 7-1. You can use head to head to pick a representative (as the B10 did), but both teams had the same record. Why is having the better loss so much worse?

            Take PSU’s 3 titles:
            1994 – won outright at 8-0
            2005 – split with OSU at 7-1
            2008 – split with OSU at 7-1

            2005
            PSU beat OSU at home 17-10.
            PSU lost at MI 27-25.
            OSU won at MI 25-21.

            PSU lost to a 5-3 MI while OSU lost to 7-1 PSU (B10 records) and beat 5-3 MI. Both teams earned a share of the title, and PSU was correctly the B10 representative to the BCS.

            2008
            PSU beat OSU at OSU 13-6.
            PSU lost at 5-3 IA 24-23.
            OSU didn’t play IA, but won at 5-3 NW 45-10 (NW won at IA and didn’t play PSU).

            PSU lost to 5-3 IA while OSU lost to 7-1 PSU and crushed 5-3 NW. Both teams earned a share of the title, and PSU was correctly the B10 representative to the BCS.

            I don’t see in either year how PSU earned an outright title. They had the worse lost both times. The BCS performance favored OSU in both years, too.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            Well, I suppose you can telurself that, at the beginning of each year, the fanbases in the top half of the ACC (instead of just FSU & maybe VTech & Clemson) & top half of the Pac (instead of just USC, Oregon, and maybe Stanford) would be disappointed with only a conference championship and not a national title if you want, but it doesn’t jibe with the reality I inhabit.

            Well, I said major conferences which eliminates the ACC at this point. They are clearly heading back towards being a MBB conference that also plays football, just a level above the BE. I was thinking more of SEC and B10 fans, and didn’t mean half as a literal term across the board (more than half in some less in others). That said, your version of reality is meaningless to me because I’ve never encountered it.

            For that matter, what fanbases in the B10 believe a conference title with no national title means little outside of OSU and the (somewhat delusional) folks in Lincoln? Michigan doesn’t think they’re a national title contender yet. PSU would be ecstatic if they won the B10 in 2012. Wisconsin folks I know still believe the key goal is winning the conference. Neither Spartans or Hawkeyes think it’s national title or bust.

            And here you go presenting things I didn’t say as my opinion. I specifically said it wasn’t binary but a shift in emphasis, so of course you take that to mean I said it was “national title or bust” for the median team in each conference.

            What I see are many more fans looking for a national title, and accepting that a conference title is part of the path to their true goal. That’s the change. The conference title used to be the goal for more people, knowing that a NC shot may come with it. Too many people are infatuated with the NC now. AR and SC would celebrate a SEC title, but what they say they want is a NC for example. WI and MSU are moving that same direction. And please note, IA is no longer in the top half of the B10 with the addition of NE and rise of MSU.

            As for you version of reality, I don’t recognize your MI fans. The ones I know think MI was a NC contender last year and will be this year. PSU has never cared much about the B10 title because they were indy for so long.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Brian,

            I doubt the Ivy educated Scott would agree with you suggesting he doesn’t care about academics.

            The presidents asked him to raise the national profile of the conference and it’s members. Other than being a bit bolder in his moves, what has he done that other conferences have not? The situation that some think involved a disagreement as to academic fit has not, and will never be, officially explained other than “we are happy at 12″. The rest is speculation, of which mine is that the PAC would be at 14 now except a potential member chose at the critical moment to try to leverage that situation with UT (rather than taking the next steps to leaving). When informed of this play, the PAC, in the person of Scott, announced that monday night “we are happy at 12″. (You’re welcome, UT)

            I am totally with you on not wanting CFB to become NFL lite. Frankly, I’d prefer returning to the old bowl system and vote the best team #1 at the end of the year rather than institute a system that mandates 8 (or more…bracket creep) be eligible to win a post season tournament that bestows the label of best team that year.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            There’s no doubt in my mind that what happened was the various Presidents realized with 14 they would get Oklahoma more and the critical recruiting grounds and alumni base of Southern California less and told Scott to forget it. Boren talked about leverage, but I think he was just saving face.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Perhaps, but those reasons would have been known before Scott was even hired. Scott would not have been allowed to start this process, or any expansion process at all, and in all likely hood he would not have been the hire. How could they expand without to some extent reducing frequency of apearences in CA?

            After getting to the point of gaining BofR approval the next step is not to try to use that in B12 negotiations, but to start the official process of leaving. See: Neb, Colo, aTm, Mizzu. I am curious whether the informer to the PAC was inside OU or another B12 school? Did the announcement (and timing of it) of staying at 12 serve any purpose other than to alert UT just before their negotiations?

            Like

          • frug says:

            All the public info really does imply that what happened was the schools overruling Scott.

            Colorado (who is desperate to promote its image as a West Coast school that happens to closer to the Gulf of Mexico) made clear they opposed any attempts to add former Big XII schools, but at least 9 other schools were willing to accept less California exposure if it netted them Texas. Scott (who backed adding the Oklahoma schools on their own if necessary) had lead David Boren to believe that the PAC would take OU and OSU regardless of what happened with Texas.

            However, when it came time issue the invitations Scott realized he couldn’t get the votes. At that point Boren made a last ditch effort to leverage concessions from the Big XII before it became public that the PAC deal was dead.

            This prompted Scott (who Texas had played like a Stradivarius 12 months earlier) to try and make clear that the PAC had rejected OU less he looked like he had gotten burned by another Big XII school that was trying to leverage concessions from their conference mates.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            I doubt the Ivy educated Scott would agree with you suggesting he doesn’t care about academics.

            He may not, but his presidents reined him in over it.

            The presidents asked him to raise the national profile of the conference and it’s members. Other than being a bit bolder in his moves, what has he done that other conferences have not?

            Invite OkSU, to name one thing. The B10 and ACC explicitly wouldn’t invite a school like that, and the P12 is the other major conference that really preaches academics.

            The situation that some think involved a disagreement as to academic fit has not, and will never be, officially explained other than “we are happy at 12″. The rest is speculation, of which mine is that the PAC would be at 14 now except a potential member chose at the critical moment to try to leverage that situation with UT (rather than taking the next steps to leaving). When informed of this play, the PAC, in the person of Scott, announced that monday night “we are happy at 12″. (You’re welcome, UT)

            You don’t think OkSU was an academic fit issue for the presidents?

            I am totally with you on not wanting CFB to become NFL lite. Frankly, I’d prefer returning to the old bowl system and vote the best team #1 at the end of the year rather than institute a system that mandates 8 (or more…bracket creep) be eligible to win a post season tournament that bestows the label of best team that year.

            I’ll take the old bowl system over 8 or 4 or the BCS. The bonus is that the old bowl system only had about 20 bowls pre-BCS.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Frug,

            Yes OkSU was an issue, as was TT. That had been vetted a year before. Had UT said yes you are saying the presidents would have nixed the deal? As has been mentioned the pac’s isolation limits their potentials. In order to get a king or two they are willing to take their squires. Are they likely to invite UC Davis on their academic rep? Iowa State? No, OU is a top five national brand similar to Neb and while the B1G has many stand alone eastern options the PAC doesn’t. If OU really wanted to they would be on their way west, OkSU in tow.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Oops… That was to frug, and Brian. ( frug had similar comment further up)

            To frug, UT played the game in order to stay on top of what is becoming a greatly diminished conference? Outside of the chance of gaining FSU, Clemson, and/or ND it doesn’t seem like the result was very successful. What really are the odds of that happening?

            Why would a guy who had been “played like a Stradivarius ” give that supposed player the heads up? All he needed to do was say nothing for a few days.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            After seeing how much money they made with just CO and Utah, I think the presidents would think twice about OkSU now. Before the new deal they would probably have been more flexible.

            Like

          • frug says:

            UT played the PAC to get what it wanted all along; a $20 million contract, a conference that is respectable but doesn’t require them to send their athletes all over the country, and (most importantly) its own TV network. Joining the PAC would have netted them the big national TV deal and turning them down immediately would have kept them in a geographic region they enjoyed, but only buy using the threat of leaving the Big XII could UT get everything it wanted. Scott attempted to save face buy saying that Baylor killed the deal, but last December he admitted that was bullshit and it was all about Texas wanting to get as much power as possible (which it did).

            As for giving Texas a heads up last summer, Scott didn’t. He was working to get Texas right up to the point when the UT BoR refused to give their prez. unilateral authority to change conferences like the OU, OSU, aTm, WVU and Mizzou Boards had because they were not willing to abandon (or even modify) the LHN which the PAC had made a condition of admittance.

            Anyways, Scott continued to believe he could get the Oklahoma schools admitted regardless, but he when it came time to count the votes he came up short. At that point David Boren raced to the microphone to try and get some concessions from the conference before word leaked the PAC deal had fallen through and he lost all his leverage.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            “and the P12 is the other major conference that really preaches academics.”

            That perception is certainly out there, and I can understand why (they have several fine academic institutions) but I don’t believe that’s true. It certainly wasn’t back when they were 10 & wanting to expand. Back then, the Pac presidents told Scott to get whatever (secular) schools he could that would give them the maximum amount of athletic revenue possible. I was one of the few on this board who stated that unlike the B10, the Pac doesn’t have much in the way of academic requirements (being non-sectarian is a hard limit) because they see their league solely as an athletic conference of secular institutions & which doesn’t share anything academically (Stanford and Cal certainly won’t be holding student or scholar exchanges with Ore.St. and WSU any time soon).

            Ok.St. probably did scuttle OU’s move to the Pac not because of their academics, but because they contributed very little revenue-wise. Adding OU & Ok.St. with the small footprint of OK likely would not have increased the per-school share of TV revenues (or if it did, very little).

            If Ok.St. had the fanbase of Texas but the same academics, you would have seen the 2 OK schools in the Pac in a heartbeat.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Also note that the Pac Presidents were perfectly fine with OkSt. joining along with Texas, OU, and the rest when the Pac16 was on the table, so they don’t have a problem with adding OkSt., per se.

            They did have a problem with adding OkSt. & OU when they felt there wasn’t much of a benefit to doing so (but the added drawback of everyone playing in SoCal less).

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            “and the P12 is the other major conference that really preaches academics.”

            That perception is certainly out there, and I can understand why (they have several fine academic institutions) but I don’t believe that’s true. It certainly wasn’t back when they were 10 & wanting to expand. Back then, the Pac presidents told Scott to get whatever (secular) schools he could that would give them the maximum amount of athletic revenue possible. I was one of the few on this board who stated that unlike the B10, the Pac doesn’t have much in the way of academic requirements (being non-sectarian is a hard limit) because they see their league solely as an athletic conference of secular institutions & which doesn’t share anything academically (Stanford and Cal certainly won’t be holding student or scholar exchanges with Ore.St. and WSU any time soon).

            Right, this is why Boise was so high on their list of potential additions.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Do I detect a note of sarcasm?

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Never.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Brian:

            OK, they might draw the line at secular research universities (Carnegie Doctoral/Research Universities): http://www.washington.edu/tools/universities.html, but OK St. is one and Boise isn’t.

            However, Boise’s a poor example as they’re a school without much of a fanbase or brand or a presence in more than one sport and are in a small state and would not bring the Pac an increase in per-school TV money, which are reasons plenty enough for the Pac to ignore them. You don’t see the Pac wanting to add Rice either, and that’s certainly not because of Rice’s academics.

            Is there a secular research university that would increase the Pac’s per-school TV money that the Pac is rejecting because of academics? I don’t see any.

            Like

        • bullet says:

          This isn’t a world that plays consolation games anymore. Its a different society and I think some decline in the bowl system was inevitable. There were years when #1 and #2 didn’t meet that both wished they were somewhere else. I think the shear number of bowl games has made all of them less valuable quicker than might have occurred otherwise.

          Like

        • bullet says:

          Given the frequency Ohio State and USC have been in the BCS game in recent years, that really has already happened to the Rose.

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            This is true, and has the B1G, the P12, and the Rose Bowl unhappy. Statements have been made about supporting and strengthening their long time relationship. I’ve suspected that they would like the Rose Bowl to be a NC semi, and might be willing to abandon a system that didn’t do something along those lines. People question them giving up the dollars of a NC system. But what kind of dollars would that system actually worth if it is basically an East and South Championship without the B1G and.PAC?

            Like

    • Brian says:

      allthatyoucantleavebehind,

      Not really relevant to this post…but here is a detailed look at what our new playoff system might actually look like. It looks good to me.

      http://nittanylionsden.com/2012-articles/march/the-playoff-is-almost-here.html

      All he does is take McMurphy’s article and show what the semis might have been for the past few years. It’s not like he provided new insight into the format.

      As for the results, I think they’re horrible.

      Like

      • I’d rather take an expert’s opinion and tease it out further…than be one of a million shills who creates his own “solution” which nobody cares about.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          I’d agree in general, but that’s not really how you sold it. You claimed it was a “detailed look at what our new playoff system might actually look like.” Instead, it was a look back at what McMurphy’s system might have meant in the recent past.

          Like

    • bullet says:

      I think it misses on essentially keeping AQs and forces other conferences to qualify as a wild card. Not going to happen. In 2009 it would have been #4 TCU who was a conference champ instead of #7 Oregon. In 2010 #3 TCU would have qualified as a conference champ, putting #4 Stanford as the wildcard. #5 Wisconsin would have been left out.

      Now that sort of thing is a lot less likely to happen with TCU in the Big 12, Utah in the Pac 12 and BYU out of MWC and an independent.

      I wonder if their lean toward a post Christmas semi-final is partly motivated by the possibility of later expanding to 8 teams by moving the season forward 1 week and having the quarter-finals the week the ccgs are usually played. Playing the semi-finals that week just makes so much more sense than the later date. You avoid finals including for those not making the playoff, don’t interfere with the minor bowls at all, don’t have as many weather issues with homefield sites and can finish earlier-even on January 1 if you wish. Even playing the 2nd week helps with all those issues except for finals for those 4 schools (and FCS has been playing that weekend for years).

      Like

      • Brian says:

        I don’t think their semi timing is at all influenced by any future bracket creep. They’re talking about locking in the system for up to 20 years. That’s a very long time to play on dates they don’t prefer just in case they want to expand next generation.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          More recently, I’ve heard that there is little enthusiasm for a long term lock-in (Delany’s idea?). Not that I think they are avoiding the long term in order to plan expansion. They probably just want flexibility. Long term TV contracts limit that. And Division I might look very different 5 years from now, let alone 20.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            I don’t think even Delany meant to suggest 1 long TV deal for 20 years. My understanding is that he just wanted to lock in the basic format for that long so bracket creep wasn’t even an option. I think he still envisioned 4-5 year TV deals so they could adjust to market rates.

            Like

      • Not all conference champs are equal. I think the big five will be exclusive in that their champs only get the auto-bid.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          That seems to violate their intent to eliminate the AQ.

          Like

          • Perhaps.

            But if Boise State wins the Big East in 2015 with a 12-1 record and finished #5 and Michigan wins the Big Ten with a 11-2 record and finishes #6, I can’t imagine Delany and Co. is going to be “okay” with Boise State making the 4-team playoff with an auto-bid for conference champions and the Big Ten rep staying home. Something will be done to protect the big conferences still…

            Like

          • Brian says:

            I think they’re willing to take that risk, as are all the other conferences.

            Like

  13. beIN Sports USA says:

    One thing Frank forgot to mention:

    FOX Sports Media Group Chairman David Hill currently has a choice of flipping any or all 3 specialty sports channels under FOX ownership:

    SPEED

    FUEL TV

    FOX Soccer

    By August, David Hill might not have any choice but to flip one of the above.

    Why?

    Because one man in the Persian Gulf is ready to make the choice for David Hill.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamad_bin_Khalifa_Al_Thani

    You are reading the above link correctly: the Emir of Qatar has decided to enter the U.S. sports TV market by launching as many as 3 new sports channels in the U.S.

    The Emir of Qatar means business, as beIN Sports USA (which is owned by Qatar Media Corporation) has already outbid FOX Sports Media Group for 2 U.S. sports rights packages starting August 2012: the Italian Serie A and French Ligue 1.

    Furthermore, the Emir of Qatar blew away both the incumbent GOLTV-ESPN Deportes partnership and the new Univision Deportes Network to win the U.S. media rights to La Liga BBVA of Spain starting August 2012. Starting August, you won’t find Messi or C. Ronaldo on GOLTV or the ESPN Networks. Those two icons will play on beIN Sports USA.

    (GOLTV and ESPN Deportes combined to earn about $35 million in subscriber fees each year. beIN Sports USA’s bid for the La Liga package for 2012-2015 was in the $120-135 million range, which means GOLTV-ESPN Deportes could not have match beIN Sports USA’s winning bid even if GOLTV and ESPN Deportes had bid every dollar earned from subscriber fees.)

    http://beinsportsusa.wordpress.com

    (unofficial website; official website at beinsports.tv will launch in August.)

    There is no mystery what the Emir’s next target is: U.S. media rights to English Premier League in 2013-2016. beIN Sports USA is expected to bid up to twice (in the range of $240-$300 million) what the FOX Sports-ESPN partnership was expecting to pay (around $150 million, up from $60 million total for the 2010-2013 seasons.)

    The Emir has no intention of making any money from beIN Sports USA prior to FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar.

    What is David Hill going to do when he knows that the Emir is willing to pay twice what FOX-ESPN are willing to pay for the one product that has been the flagship of FOX Soccer since 1998?

    NewsCorp and ESPN have run into “irrational” bidders around the world in the past, especially in Asia where the ESPN STAR Sports joint venture (which is operated by NewsCorp out of Singapore) was forced to walk away from the media rights to the English Premier League in 4 different markets when the bidding went crazy: in Hong Kong after May 2004, and in China, Singapore, and Thailand after May 2007.

    In my opinion, the smart move for David Hill is to get out of the Emir’s way by flipping FOX Soccer into “FOX Sports 1″, which can be loaded up with college sports on evenings and weekends while keeping UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League soccer matches on weekday afternoons before 7pm ET.

    FOX Sports (, ESPN, Univision, and everyone else in the U.S.) would be smart to let the Emir of Qatar buy “public relations” by overpaying for European soccer media rights in the U.S. market for the next 10 years before evaluating what to do after 2022.

    Like

  14. Mike says:

    Matt Sarz with another opinion


    FOX apparently is interested in starting up a full time sports network, according to multiple published reports. Bloomberg reports that Fuel is the channel, Sports Business Journal says Speed is the one being targeted according to tweets from John Ourand. Speed is in many more homes (82 million) than Fuel (36 million) so that could give them a running start. FOX has wanted to move NASCAR Nextel Cup races to Speed and has plenty of sports rights to get a channel off the ground when you consider the following items:

    •Barclay’s Premier League
    •Champions League
    •World Cup ’18 & ’22
    •NASCAR Nextel and Truck Series
    •Formula One
    •Big 12 Football
    •Pac-12 Football and Basketball
    •C-USA Football and Basketball
    They would probably leverage their major properties on Big FOX (MLB and NFL) to do some bumper programming like highlight shows and pre/post games. I could see a re-negotiation with MLB looking to place some of those games on cable on Saturdays. And having a full time channel can only help them as rights to the Big East and Big Ten come up in the next few years. For FOX’s NFL playoff games, maybe some additional postgame programming.

    It also might signal that FOX did not get the bump that they wanted out of placing some college sports and Champions League programming on FX. I personally don’t think sports when I look at FX on my channel guide, where I do with TNT, though TNT has had a longer presence with sports programming. I also don’t believe FOX Soccer is in danger of being the channel that gets flipped. That channel has a very popular niche.

    Last item to consider: Versus, a strong channel in subscriber base, was flipped. CBS Sports Network, with a base of subs that is less than both Versus and Speed, was converted from its college base. FOX has to be aware of how hard it would be to grow a Fuel from 39 million to 80+ million vs. taking Speed and its sub base and flipping it.

    [if someone would post I link I would appreicate it]

    Like

    • Brian says:

      http://mattsarzsports.blogspot.com/2012/03/recapping-week-325-330.html

      He knows more than I do about this stuff, but the Speed/Fuel debate seems less clear to me. Speed got where it is with all forms of racing except Indy cars, and I don’t know that Fox wants to shift all of that to Fuel and lose a bunch of gear heads in the process. If they have good programming, Fuel will quickly grow. If they flip Speed, they may kill it. Most non-racing fans have no idea where Speed is, so I think they lose a lot of people and potentially subscribers.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Speed could still be heavily racing-focused just as CBS Sports Network is still heavily college-focused. I doubt gearheads will turn away if their favorite shows are still on there.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Racing is also a weekend sport in the fall. It can’t serve two masters. One or both will suffer, and they’ll lose fans. It’s not like CBSS is popular either. You can’t be sport-specific and compete with ESPN.

          Like

    • beIN Sports USA says:

      Mattsarz’s logic is flawed:

      I also don’t believe FOX Soccer is in danger of being the channel that gets flipped. That channel has a very popular niche.

      One can almost hear the laughter from the Emir’s palace in Doha.

      C’mon David Hill, just flip FOX Soccer into “FOX Sports 1″ and end all the drama. That way, the college sports fans will be happy.

      Everyone in the U.S. media industry knows by now that the Emir is about to teach Mr. Murdoch a lesson: you can’t fight “petro currency” with debt.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        Go away, shill. At least you didn’t just cut a paste the same post this time, but still.

        Like

      • I’d like to congratulate FTT for becoming big enough to get spammers from other continents. Unfortunately for beIN, the Emir’s tv station won’t be nearly as awesome as the one being set up by the Exiled African Warlords (EXAW for short).

        But don’t worry, you all can get in on the ground floor of this fantastic venture. I just need your bank account information and social security number and I can wire you the funds you need to get in on the ground floor. Act now before the other posters here beat you to this once in a lifetime opportunity!

        Like

    • morganwick says:

      You copy-pasted all that and didn’t know how to copy a link? WTF? Matt’s blog is weird, but I doubt it’s that weird.

      Like

      • Mike says:

        Its an uninteresting story, involving a tablet and a firewall. if you notice I almost always provide links when I post items for discussion.

        Like

    • Craig Z says:

      And UFC.

      Like

  15. Chas. says:

    The crazy like a Fox move that would increase Fox TV’s footprint on cable would be to acquire USA from NBC/Universal, they have the best original programs on cable. NCIS repeats are better than most of the competition.

    Like

    • joe4psu says:

      You’re confusing most popular with best. The shows on USA are very popular but USA does not have a Sons of Anarchy, Justified, Archer or Breaking Bad. The only USA shows I watch at all are Psych and Burn Notice. And I don’t consider them in the same league as the FX and AMC shows. I’ve never been a fan NCIS either. I didn’t like it when it came out, tried watching again a few years later, and still don’t like it.

      Of course I know this means I’m outside the norm. I’m just glad that FX and AMC are making shows for people like me.

      Do you remember when The Shield came out? Wow! TV hasn’t been the same since.

      Like

      • @joe4psu – AMC has really been impressive. I’ve long been a fan of Mad Men and I’m in the midst of watching Breaking Bad on Netflix streaming (I’m in the middle of the second season). My favorite types of shows are those dark dramas that manage to also manage to have several laugh-out-loud moments each hour (The Wire and Sopranos were great at that, too).

        Like

        • joe4psu says:

          Frank,

          I just rewatched the first Mad Men episode, also Netflix, to give it (or me) another chance. It’s strange how I can watch a show for a couple of weeks and not “get it” but go back later and love it. Not saying that will happen with Mad Men, we’ll see. Deadwood was that way for me. I liked Sopranos from the beginning though.

          It seems strange what shows will grab me. Metalocalypse on Adult Swim had me rolling on the floor the first time I watched it. I had never watched anything on Adult Swim before, I’m not “Metal”, but it killed me. Archer, FX, made me laugh right away too. What did Lincoln say, referring to the Second Inaugural Address maybe, “a lot of wisdom in that speech I reckon.” A lot of witty dialogue in that show I reckon.

          I guess most shows and movies only work when I can suspend disbelief. That made Forest Gump classic, and The Man Who Knew Too Little too. Bill Murray classic in my eyes.

          Like

  16. morganwick says:

    Fox did not *announce* they were forming a network. It has been *reported* that they are *considering* forming a network.

    Like

    • morganwick says:

      Also, USA ended all non-Westminster non-Olympics sports programming a few years back, so NBC has actually actively run away from that approach, and Fox actually has clauses in its contracts with the cable companies protecting them from hikes in the subscriber fees for FX, which may be a major reason they’re considering launching an all-sports network.

      Also also, how did ESPN originally convince the NFL and other Tier 1 leagues to shack up with a small mom-and-pop outfit run out of Bristol, CT?

      Like

      • Neil says:

        USA has WWE, one of the best programs in getting 18-34 year old viewers. Just advertising upcoming future sporting events that could air on USA or NBC Sports would be a good strategy, imho.

        Cheers,
        Neil

        Like

  17. jj says:

    I suspect some school athletic officials might be reading this board and if so I just want to take a moment to give any of them that engage in “variable” or “premium” game pricing a big FU. You guys are true gutter dwelling shitheads.

    Thanks.

    Nice piece frank.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      jj,

      Why are you so against variable pricing? It makes a lot of economic sense to adjust pricing to better match supply and demand, especially for schools that have easy sell outs for certain games but not others. Scalpers/StubHub have shown that certain tickets are worth a lot more than others, so why shouldn’t the official prices mirror that?

      I’m not saying it’s implemented properly everywhere, but the concept is sound to me. It’s just like seating prices that change based on location in the stadium. Some seats are better than others and should cost more.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        Variable pricing is pretty new, but it seems like it is here to stay. Every school I’ve looked at tickets on has it now. 15 years ago it was uncommon.

        Like

      • PSUGuy says:

        Speaking as a season ticket holder, I’m nominally against it because I already pay variable pricing in my “donation” level before even having access to the tickets themselves.

        If I want to get seats between the 20′s at Beaver Stadium I have to donate $600 (or more) per seat for the privilege of buying tickets. I then have to spend $375 (or more) for each season ticket depending on which seat I eventually select. If I’m already paying (much) more to be allowed in the area, why am I now being squeezed for the tickets?

        In the end, it creates the appearance, fair or not, of being nickel and dimed and even people with plenty of money hate that experience. And while universities can hide behind the sayings of “its for student athletes” they still need to remember its largely a form of entertainment for these people and if the entertained feel as though they’re being taken advantage of they will spend their money elsewhere (like 60″ LED tv’s with HD programming).

        Like

        • Brian says:

          PSUGuy,

          Speaking as a season ticket holder, I’m nominally against it because I already pay variable pricing in my “donation” level before even having access to the tickets themselves.

          If I want to get seats between the 20′s at Beaver Stadium I have to donate $600 (or more) per seat for the privilege of buying tickets. I then have to spend $375 (or more) for each season ticket depending on which seat I eventually select. If I’m already paying (much) more to be allowed in the area, why am I now being squeezed for the tickets?

          Two questions:

          1. Before PSU had variable donations based on location, didn’t a lot of fans complain that others got much better seats for the same price?

          Since season ticket spots are generally the same year after year, I’d think a lot of people would complain about being locked out of the better seats but paying just as much.

          2. Do the variable game prices matter to you if the season ticket total is constant, or is the real issue that the total increased significantly?

          I can see the problem if they switched from a constant price of $50, to making B10 games $60 and king games (OSU, MI, NE, AL, etc) $75 while the OOC games stayed at $50. But would you have the same objection if 2012 prices were $45 for Ohio, Navy and Temple, $50 for IN and NW, $55 for WI and $60 for OSU, for the same total of $350?

          Maybe this will make you feel better:

          The smallest donation that promises you a shot at 2 season tickets is $1500 at OSU, and season tickets are another $490 each, so $2480 total for 2. That makes your $1350 seem cheap.

          Alumni have a decent shot at a pair of tickets to 1 game (or we did before the switch to semesters, anyway) in the lottery, but you can’t pick your game. On quarters, that meant mostly tickets to the OOC games since students weren’t in session yet. Now, I’m not sure how it’ll work out.

          Like

          • PSUGuy says:

            1. No they didn’t. They complained that all the good seats went to 60 year olds who had season tickets for the past 40 years and only donated the minimum amount (their tickets were grandfathered into the previous systems of ticket distribution). In fairness, it was a bad business model because, while it rewarded loyalty to State, it prevented new generations from getting into the season ticket process.

            Not a good way to ensure multi-generational interest in attending football games.

            2. If a person is buying single tickets I have no problem what-so-ever with variable game pricing. Indiana State is not tOSU and its price should reflect accordingly (though I might add Indiana State is usualy better because the tailgating weather is better and we’re almost garaunteed to win!). Likewise with seat location.

            The problem is season tickets. They are a substantial increase in single game tickets and what’s more by my buying season tickets I am taking tickets PSU typically has a problem getting rid (non-marquee OoC games). After shelling out for “donations” do I really need to be charged an extra $10-$100 dollars depending on actualy seat location? Especially when I am doing them a favor (they don’t discount any tickets in the season ticket price).

            For example:

            If I want to sit on the ends of the stadium (non-ideal seats some might say) it takes $100 “donation” per seat plus $375 per season ticket. For four season seats, that’s $1900. If I want to sit between the 20′s that’s $600 per seat (unless you want the $2500 per seat tickets, I’ll stick with “normal folk” for now) and depending on which seats it costs between $375 and $475 dollars per season ticket. That’s $3900-$4300…per year and always going up with inflation (even if there is none).

            But wait…there’s more!

            You see you can’t just get tickets randomly. There’s a points system that determines if you are even elligible to get tickets. Last time I checked, 50 points is the minimum. Translated to normal terms that equates to $2500 worth of donations or slightly less if you have “bonuses” (football player, alumni, 1 point per year, etc)…all payed before you ever receive your first ticket.

            Point is…by trying to sheer the sheep too close, any sports franchise risks skinning it. There are too many options for entertainment and its far too easy, and much much cheaper, to enjoy a game without attending it. It takes considerable time, effort, and $$$ for me to attend even 5 of the 7-8 PSU home games I get tickets for every year, and in fairness its (still) worth it to me…but only because its a perfect excuse to hang out with friends and family I would not otherwise see as often.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            PSUGuy,

            1. No they didn’t. They complained that all the good seats went to 60 year olds who had season tickets for the past 40 years and only donated the minimum amount (their tickets were grandfathered into the previous systems of ticket distribution).

            Maybe I’m dense today, but how is that substantially different from complaining about some people getting better seats for the same price? My point is, if you pay more than some else don’t you expect better seats?

            I know changing systems can be a shock as prices shoot up for some people, but the general concept seems reasonable (you can always inflate certain prices too much and screw it up, of course).

            2. If a person is buying single tickets I have no problem what-so-ever with variable game pricing. Indiana State is not tOSU and its price should reflect accordingly (though I might add Indiana State is usualy better because the tailgating weather is better and we’re almost garaunteed to win!). Likewise with seat location.

            Right. So if the total season ticket price isn’t changed, you wouldn’t mind ($350 is $350 no matter how they split it up). It’s only if variable game pricing increases the total cost of the season ticket that you mind.

            The problem is season tickets. They are a substantial increase in single game tickets and what’s more by my buying season tickets I am taking tickets PSU typically has a problem getting rid (non-marquee OoC games). After shelling out for “donations” do I really need to be charged an extra $10-$100 dollars depending on actualy seat location? Especially when I am doing them a favor (they don’t discount any tickets in the season ticket price).

            Apparently PSU would answer yes, because if you won’t pay the extra $10-100 someone else will. Having better seats cost more is the norm for pro sports, and that model is coming to college. It’s annoying in some ways, but it makes sense. It’s like airlines charging a little more for aisle or window seats versus middle seats.

            For example:

            If I want to sit on the ends of the stadium (non-ideal seats some might say) it takes $100 “donation” per seat plus $375 per season ticket. For four season seats, that’s $1900. If I want to sit between the 20′s that’s $600 per seat (unless you want the $2500 per seat tickets, I’ll stick with “normal folk” for now) and depending on which seats it costs between $375 and $475 dollars per season ticket. That’s $3900-$4300…per year and always going up with inflation (even if there is none).

            But wait…there’s more!

            You see you can’t just get tickets randomly. There’s a points system that determines if you are even elligible to get tickets. Last time I checked, 50 points is the minimum. Translated to normal terms that equates to $2500 worth of donations or slightly less if you have “bonuses” (football player, alumni, 1 point per year, etc)…all payed before you ever receive your first ticket.

            I think part of this is just culture shock as PSU catches up to what other schools have been doing for a while.

            Point is…by trying to sheer the sheep too close, any sports franchise risks skinning it. There are too many options for entertainment and its far too easy, and much much cheaper, to enjoy a game without attending it. It takes considerable time, effort, and $$$ for me to attend even 5 of the 7-8 PSU home games I get tickets for every year, and in fairness its (still) worth it to me…but only because its a perfect excuse to hang out with friends and family I would not otherwise see as often.

            Yes, and unfortunately CFB is such a big business any more that many/most common fans can never afford to see their favorite team play. But they are so far down this path now they might as well just keep trying to maximize revenue until tickets stop selling.

            Like

          • PSUGuy says:

            Ok, I haven’t explained clearly…I already am paying more than the next guy because I donate (a requirement) more than those folks every single year. A lot more.

            What’s more, I have done so for quite some time. Enough to accumulate more points (that which determines my “ranking” among the seat buying populace) than those who also donate at the same level as I do.

            Now that I have weeded out not only those who donate less than me, but also those that donate as much as me, but haven’t donated for as long,…I STILL need to pay more for a seat?

            Its like charging someone for the use of a barcode scanner at the grocery store. Maybe from a business perspective it makes sense, but from an economics perspective its a horrible idea because it begs for consumers to find “acceptable replacements”

            In the end, I get its a big business and I don’t care that PSU gets my money (for the most part) because unlike so many other “universities” who use their athletic department revenue to engage in “intercollegiate arm’s races” I honestly think PSU does things the right way (30+ men’s & women’s varsity sports and countless club teams get funded via a completely self-sufficient athletic department), but in the end I’m still a consumer that can be turned away if given enough incentive to do so.

            And its funny you mention the NFL because it is already seeing this effect…more and more folks are just staying at home to watch the game. They can have a 60″ HDTV with the NFL package and have a better view of the game, cheaper refreshments, and shorter lines at the bathroom. There are just too many good reasons to stay home.

            I honestly think that in a decade college football is going to face very similar problems. This huge payoff for college athletics and the glut of sports channels coming on line is going to mean it will be less and less mandatory to show up to a game for a fan to catch his / her team. If the revenue stream from those sources doesn’t counter any possible decrease in stadium attendance universities will have “sheered the sheep” much too close.

            Like

          • I could understand that if you’re a season ticket holder of a school such as Michigan or Penn State that sells out every game, it feels like you’re being nickeled-and-dimed when there’s variable pricing. However, the vast majority of schools aren’t in the position of the Michigans and Penn States of the world, so it makes sense that they charge more for the “premium” games against higher profile opponents. In essence, the school directly takes in the extra value of those more desirable tickets that would otherwise go to scalpers or ticket brokers, which I believe is good thing (or at least more fair).

            What interests me even more is when teams take it step further with dynamic pricing, where they use algorithms similar to what airlines use to change online ticket prices minute-by-minute based upon demand. An increasing number of baseball teams have been using this approach (which definitely makes sense since they have the largest inventory of tickets to move). Just as the person sitting next to you on an airplane might have paid half as much as you or twice as much as you depending on when you bought your ticket, it would be the same thing at a sporting event.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            PSUGuy,

            Ok, I haven’t explained clearly…I already am paying more than the next guy because I donate (a requirement) more than those folks every single year. A lot more.

            What’s more, I have done so for quite some time. Enough to accumulate more points (that which determines my “ranking” among the seat buying populace) than those who also donate at the same level as I do.

            Now that I have weeded out not only those who donate less than me, but also those that donate as much as me, but haven’t donated for as long,…I STILL need to pay more for a seat?

            I’m sure there is some logical reason to do it separately, but my first impulse would be to have the donation level cover the higher seat cost. I can see club seating costing more than regular seats, but, again, you could cover that with a donation level. There may be a legal reason to do it separately, though.

            I honestly think that in a decade college football is going to face very similar problems. This huge payoff for college athletics and the glut of sports channels coming on line is going to mean it will be less and less mandatory to show up to a game for a fan to catch his / her team. If the revenue stream from those sources doesn’t counter any possible decrease in stadium attendance universities will have “sheered the sheep” much too close.

            CFB offers an emotional attachment that the NFL can’t. Combine that with the older and wealthier demographics and I think CFB will be OK for a while. I can’t see TBDBITL (OSU’s marching band) perform no matter how good my TV is, nor can I walk around campus and reminisce at home. I also can’t meet up with former classmates and such at home.

            Like

          • PSUGuy says:

            @Frank
            And again, I really don’t have a problem with that…if that’s the method of distributing tickets. Right now though they go by the “donation” system which already has “variable pricing” built into it by virtue of the donations levels for differeing seat sections changing. If they already have the variable pricing built into the donation model, why are they then adding a second layer of variable pricing?

            What’s more, I would think smaller schools would be much more “negative externatlity averse” and as such do just about anything in their power to get and keep season ticket holders. I mean you bring up a good point about getting that extra $50-100 for those premium tickets and making sure it goes to the school, but if that same school loses 2-5 other game ticket sales because folks shift to only going to the “good game” (or just get turned off of the whole ticket buying process in general) the school will actually end up losing money in the end.

            IMO, done incorrectly (and it seemes very easy to do so) this strikes me as a perfect example of being “penny wise and dollar dumb”.

            As a related aside…PSU, since implementing the program I described, has had two straight years without selling out its season tickets. The “Nittany Lion Club”, which had a “premium” pricing structure similar to what’s in effect now, took a decade to sell out and its seats are mostly empty on game day. I only studied economics in college and read extensively on the same for the past decade of my life, but I’m not sure how that could be considered true “profit maximization”.

            @Brian
            You obvious haven’t grown up a Steelers fan. The level of emotional attachment that group has rivals most schools and I’ve seen plenty of Steelers fans complain about the exact same things (and do exactly what I described by passing on tickets). Facts are, there are large areas of the country where college athletics simply aren’t as important already. If those institutions don’t ease bariers to entry & keep negative externalities low attendance is going to suffer. And in those areas where it is important, if you start asking for 10+% of the median yearly income of a surrounding region for tickets (a reality for Centre County) people are going to be forced to make real choices on what they want to do with their money…and often times entertainment suffers in those decisions.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            PSUGuy,

            You obvious haven’t grown up a Steelers fan.

            [spits on ground]

            Hell no. I grew up in Browns country.

            The level of emotional attachment that group has rivals most schools

            It’s a different kind of emotion, though. [insert snarky Steelers fan comment]

            Like

          • PSUGuy says:

            @Brian
            Ha! I have to admit, I used to hate you guys, but I honestly feel bad for Browns fans now-a-days. I mean you had your team stolen from you. That team then goes on to win a Super Bowl (with largely players acquired during the Browns years). And then continues a run of good football for over a decade.

            Meanwhile you guys went without for years, got an expansion team, and have had zero to look forward since while having to play “the old Browns” twice a season because they are in your division.

            As I like to say…”I hate the Ravens…because they are the Ravens and used to be the Browns.”

            Like

          • Brian says:

            PSUGuy,

            Ha! I have to admit, I used to hate you guys, but I honestly feel bad for Browns fans now-a-days. I mean you had your team stolen from you. That team then goes on to win a Super Bowl (with largely players acquired during the Browns years). And then continues a run of good football for over a decade.

            Meanwhile you guys went without for years, got an expansion team, and have had zero to look forward since while having to play “the old Browns” twice a season because they are in your division.

            As I like to say…”I hate the Ravens…because they are the Ravens and used to be the Browns.”

            I think we can agree to hate Art Modell, and that’s what really matters.

            This may be part of why I gave up on the NFL years ago:

            1. Grew up a Browns fan and watched the Steelers win 4 Super Bowls, then watched Cincinnati go to one. Then the Browns choked away two chances to the Broncos. Then the team went away and finally came back as an expansion team. On top of that, the Steelers went to 4 more Super Bowls (2-2), the Bengals lost another one, and the damn Ravens won one.

            2. About the time Cincinnati was getting good, we moved to southern MI so I got to follow the Lions, too. Enough said.

            3. After that came a family move to western NY in time for the Bills run of 1 close SB and three embarrassments while I was in Columbus.

            4. Next was my move to Atlanta. They sucked for a long time and then blew a SB, and haven’t done much since.

            Like

          • Scarlet_Lutefisk says:

            Browns fans deserve what they get. They were all to happy to lick Modell’s feet when he screwed over Paul Brown.

            Never pity a Brown’s fan. They are scum of the earth.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Scarlet_Lutefisk,

            Browns fans deserve what they get. They were all to happy to lick Modell’s feet when he screwed over Paul Brown.

            Um, no. Brown was fired 49 years ago. Most Brown fans weren’t even born yet, let alone knowledgeable about what was going on and supporting Modell.

            And I’m not really a Browns fan anymore, since I haven’t watched a regular season NFL game in many years and haven’t even seen the last 5 Super Bowls (or several more before that).

            Like

      • jj says:

        Brian:

        I think it’s gouging and it just bleeds the season ticket buyers who ordinarily took a few bad to get a few good. Imagine if you went to the movies this weekend and they said oh the hunger games is really popular, that will be an extra 25 percent. It makes economic sense for people to jack up the cost of all kinds of things for all kinds of reasons, but it doesn’t make it right. I’m a believer in free market and fairly conservative but we don’t have to live in a world where everything comes down to absolute profit maximization. These schools have a local monopoly. OSU is doing it right.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          jj,

          I think it’s gouging and it just bleeds the season ticket buyers who ordinarily took a few bad to get a few good. Imagine if you went to the movies this weekend and they said oh the hunger games is really popular, that will be an extra 25 percent. It makes economic sense for people to jack up the cost of all kinds of things for all kinds of reasons, but it doesn’t make it right. I’m a believer in free market and fairly conservative but we don’t have to live in a world where everything comes down to absolute profit maximization. These schools have a local monopoly. OSU is doing it right.

          OK. I’ll ask you the same thing I asked PSUGuy:

          Would you mind the variable game pricing if the season ticket total stayed the same (some games cheaper, some game more expensive but the average stays constant), or is it really the increase in the total season cost that irks you? I can understand not liking a price increase, but the variability seems rational.

          OSU has talked about doing it just to balance ticket requests. That way richer fans can pay a lot more and see the MI game while those pinching pennies can get a MAC game for less cost. That make more sense to me than Akron and UM costing the same.

          Like

        • jj says:

          @frank

          The airline pricing you discuss above more or less my definition of hell on earth, in a first-world problem kind of way. I fly a lot and the pricing, particularly with “hidden cities”, drives me nuts.

          @ Brian

          The overall cost isn’t the issue to me. It’s jamming people with increased fees when the event costs the school the same to put on. It’s like you walk into a store and say “how much is this product” and they respond “well, how much do you like it?”

          You make a good point about budgets, i think the OOC games are unique and the practice justifiable if the opponnent cost more to secure. But when one B10 team plays another, the price should be the same as the cost to do the event is the same. Just raise them all if “needed”.

          I’ve actually thought that movies might be better using variable pricing than 1 price for all as the reels must vary in price. I would go see more low budget movies if the ticket was cheaper.

          Like

          • Mike says:

            @jj – (First run) Movies don’t do variable pricing because we’re tend to equate price with quality. If a ticket to a good movie cost ten dollars, then a five dollar movie will imply (just by its price) that it is of lower entertainment value. It’s the same reason that iTunes has a flat rate for individual songs (at least they used to, I don’t use iTunes) from the Beatles’ Abbey Road and Metallica’s (awful) St. Anger.

            Like

          • iTunes actually changed its pricing structure a couple of years ago where there are 3 tiers generally based on popularity: $0.69, $0.99 and $1.29. Now, iTunes wanted the uniform $0.99 price point in the beginning for ease of use and encourage adoption, but as it became the dominant music seller, differentiating between the latest hits (and Beatles albums) and the catalog music that isn’t in high demand eventually made sense.

            That’s an interesting thought about movie pricing. Even more than sports venues, movie theaters make their money from concessions much more than selling movie tickets themselves, so there’s an incentive to gets fannies in the seats by any means necessary. However, that has to be balanced by not devaluing your product too much where you’re essentially charging RedBox prices.

            You often see movie theaters provide discounts for matinees, which makes sense since it’s a way to drive people to your venues at less popular times of day. So, why aren’t movie theaters differentiating the *most* popular times to see movies? Aren’t tickets for a 7 pm show on Friday or Saturday more valuable than an 11 pm show on Tuesday? Outside of some sure fire blockbusters like The Hunger Games, it might be difficult to judge ticket demand movie-by-movie ahead of time, but the times and days of the week when people like going to movies the most is pretty well established. Not that I want to see movie ticket prices raised (they’re pretty ridiculous), but it would be “fair” in an economic sense to charge more for the highest demand weekend time slots and provide more of a discount for the off-peak times outside of the matinee hours.

            Another thought: what about assigned seating for high demand shows? Back when I was a teenager, I didn’t really care about this since I had all day to waste time and get to the theater early. Now, though, with 2-year old twins where I can’t sit around for 45 minutes before show time, I’d pay extra to make sure that I have 4 adjoining seats in a spot in the theater that’s in a good location. As some others have noted, the convenience of your own home has become the biggest competitor to ticket sellers in sports and it’s an even bigger issue for movie theaters.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            jj,

            The trade off is that if MI tickets cost more, fans on tight budgets can aim for other games and more fans end up happy. If they all cost the same, everyone wants ND and MI tickets rather than IN and MN and so a lot of fans are disappointed or feel ripped off.

            Like

          • @FTT: I think that the issue wrt movie prices is that it’s just not worth the complication of making really accurate prices. So instead of saying matinee-level evening prices are Tuesdays at all hours, Thursday at just REALLY late hours etc. they just make a simpler rule. Again goes back to the issue of getting people in the seats w/o devaluing product.

            Yes, they COULD discount additional times, but the benefit to customers would be substantially offset by the added complication, and of course the margins then get cut. Better to have a relatively simple structure than to overly complicate things, especially since the real money isn’t even in the ticket prices.

            Like

          • jj says:

            I could easily accept 2 tier pricing at the movies. I’m not paying 10 bucks for a movie cost basically that to make.

            There is an undercurrent in the sports thing too. It is the explicit acceptance that some animals are more equal than others. In a “league” concept, I don’t think it’s a particularly good concept to allow for a variety of reasons.

            Like

  18. Playoffs Now says:

    First off, I think I want to change my user name to ‘Spider 2, Y Banana.’

    Second, if the Rose Bowl is diminished to mostly runners up, then it will have been diminished by Delany, Scott, and the B1G/P12 presidents. They could easily have supported an 8-team playoff that matched the B1G and P12 champs every year in the Rose Bowl (BCS bowls as the 1st round) then on campus semi’s, and a neutral site championship game. Fans would have still traveled to the 1st round bowls because those would be the only neutral site playoff games during the holidays (i.e. vacations) and the roughly 75% odds that their team wouldn’t make it to the title game. Instead, for a variety of reasons, they insisted on only a 4-team playoff and ending it close to New Year’s Day.

    Like

    • ccrider55 says:

      Perhaps the Rose Bowl being a semi is the play of Delany and Scott?

      Like

    • Richard says:

      Er, no. Pretty much none of the presidents (outside the B10 & Pac as well) want to extend the college football postseason in to late January, which is what your plan would do, so it’s dead on arrival.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        Actually Mike Adams proposed exactly that plan. But I do agree that most don’t agree with the UGA President. And clearly the commissioners don’t. He said Slive was absolutely livid when he proposed it in 2008.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          And Adams said there was a fair amount of support for the idea. But when it came up for a vote, many of the supporters backed away from publically endorsing it.

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Bullet, are you indicating that support is still there, but not the right time for public expression? Or that the support was transitory and/or illusory?

            Like

          • bullet says:

            The implication was that the presidents got intimidated into voting no. Now he didn’t seem to believe he had close to majority support, but he believed there was a significant minority.

            Like

        • Richard says:

          He proposed quarterfinals on NYD? There might be some support for an 8-team playoff, but I can’t see extending the football season well in to the next semester being too popular among the Presidents.

          Like

      • ccrider55 says:

        Err, Richard. How would having the semi’s the first(aprox) of Jan. extend any the season further than it is now?

        Like

        • Richard says:

          I was replying to “Playoffs Now”, who’s plan has the quarterfinals on NYD, thus inevitably extending the college postseason in to late January.

          Plus, the Presidents already think college football extends too much in to the next semester and want to move the title game back if they can.

          Like

    • morganwick says:

      Part of the appeal of bowls is that they are a culmination. The Rose Bowl people would never accept being reduced to a quarterfinal.

      Like

    • morganwick says:

      Part of the appeal of bowls is that they are a culmination. The Rose Bowl would never accept being a quarterfinal. I bet they’d rather be a consolation game for teams outside the tournament entirely.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        Given the choice, I agree the Rose would take B10 and P12 runners up rather than be a quarter final. I think they’d prefer it to being a generic semifinal, too. They’d much rather have the 2 champs of course, but it will be out of their hands in the end.

        Like

        • ccrider55 says:

          You don’t think the B1G, P12, and RB might make good on their indication that if the new system is not to their satisfaction they will return to the old arrangement?

          Like

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            You don’t think the B1G, P12, and RB might make good on their indication that if the new system is not to their satisfaction they will return to the old arrangement?

            They might, but I doubt it. I think it’s more likely leverage to keep the end result from being too objectionable. They proposed the 4 team playoff with campus semis and a floating NCG, meaning the Rose would be greatly reduced (ideally getting the runners up from each league). I don’t see how they can propose that and then object to any other plan that hurts the RB the same amount.

            Like

          • wmwolverines says:

            Does the old arrangement (Rose Bowl) pay the same or better? No, its in the B10′s/Pac 12′s best interest to be involved in the new system (4-team playoff) + a reduced Rose Bowl that includes a couple runner-ups conference champions…

            So like Brian said, I don’t think there is much of a chance the B10/Pac 12 goes back to the old arrangement when they can be involved with both. The issue is how much does the Rose Bowl reduce its payout when its relevance is reduced?

            Like

          • Richard says:

            wmwolverine:

            Likely not at all. Casual fans still tune in to the Rose Bowl (even when featuring teams that aren’t highly ranked, or even not conference champs), especially in B10 and Pac country, just because there’s a lot of tradition involved with the Pac & B10 facing off in Pasadena.

            The payout may not grow as fast as other postseason games, but the Rose will be in much better shape than the other bowls once a 4-team playoff goes in to effect.

            Like

  19. Neil says:

    Hail Frank!

    Great blog, as usual. Agree with your point about needing as much Tier 1 product as you can get to challenge ESPN.

    Also glad you finally came around to my way of thinking that the best way for NBC/Comcast to at least try to compete with ESPN is to use USA Network as the intermediary between NBC and Versus (now NBC Sports).

    Cheers,
    Neil

    Like

  20. joe4psu says:

    I don’t think this has been posted.

    Separating NCAA Division I wealth is coming as haves and have-nots become divided – Jon Solomon, al.com

    http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2012/03/separating_ncaa_division_i_wea.html

    …NCAA President Mark Emmert told reporters this week he has suggested to university presidents they consider changing the setup of NCAA governance to address the Division I financial gap. It’s a gap where Alabama and Auburn spend more than $100 million, and UAB, South Alabama, Troy and Samford operate budgets of $25 million or less. And the gap keeps widening.

    This issue isn’t new to former NCAA President Cedric Dempsey. The NCAA restructured itself in the 1990s, largely due to concerns about legislative equity. The one-school, one-vote model was abandoned. The 11 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences — including all six BCS conferences — are now permanently on the 18-member Division I Board of Directors.

    “I would suspect there’s going to be either another subdivision or a separate division itself,” Dempsey said. “Control and money are the driving forces.”

    The final straw may be the cost-of-attendance debate. The Division I board pushed through a well-intentioned rule allowing schools the choice to provide up to $2,000 a year more to athletes’ scholarships. But enough members opposed it to suspend the rule.

    …Conference realignment is largely about schools chasing TV dollars and positioning for future seismic shifts. The rhetoric has grown so loud that 53-year-old Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari told The Sporting News this month the NCAA won’t govern four power conferences by the time he retires.

    SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said he doesn’t anticipate such a drastic change, but acknowledged there is “shaken confidence” from some Division I members.

    …Dempsey said there have always been threats — veiled or real — by the power schools to break off from the NCAA.

    “That was discussed even in 1996: ‘If we can’t have control of the (NCAA voting) structure, we’ll do our own thing,’” Dempsey recalled. “I think to accomplish their goals, the threat will always be there.”

    Like

    • bullet says:

      I think there are two issues.
      1) The divisions are getting too big. I, II and III are all too large. They are logical splits, but it makes championships difficult and expensive and makes for big gaps between the schools. It therefore, makes governance more difficult. NAIA had a lot of schools in the past, but it is slowly bleeding out schools to the NCAA’s lower divisions. The gap in Division II is one of the factors encouraging Division II schools to move up. They’ve had some of the same cost containment discussions. Division I has grown by around 100 schools over the last couple of decades (I’ll leave it to some else to look up the exact numbers).
      2) Schools are joining Division I for the basketball money. There are whole conferences where hardly any school has any business in Division I. And they are trying to control to rules to allow them to stay.

      I think Dempsey is wrong about congressional action. The big schools have too much power. And I don’t think we would see a 64 team breakoff group. 100 would easily get them past any political issues. And 200 would include most schools with ever having any shot at the final 4 in basketball or even halfway competing financially.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Well, NCAA realignment will be about football. I’m confident that the BE will sneak in to join with the Big 5 conferences in Div I-A. Less confident that most Mount USA schools will (maybe only AFA and a few others). The rest will be in Div I-AA with the Ivy League and some of the better-supported programs in FCS (with most of current FCS going in to Div I-AAA).

        The big boys don’t really care how many schools play DivI basketball so long as their number of NCAA tourney spots isn’t jeopardized.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          Actually Division I basketball is an issue. The sharing of money the big boys believe they generate is the biggest issue. And then the smaller schools try to adjust the rules to fit them.
          Football doesn’t have as much friction, although you may be right about that being what triggers the actual split. They don’t want football to end up like basketball.

          They’ve done a number of rules to keep teams or price teams out. They raised the sports sponsorship requirements a few years back. They put in an 8 year period with no chance to be in the bb tourney. They limited the number of conferences that can get automatic bids which led to the expansion to 65 from 64. Now they require you to get invited to a conference first before moving to Division I (with the same rule in FBS).

          Like

          • vp19 says:

            I also sense the big boys will tell the Big East that for its football schools to be able to be seated at the BCS table in any capacity, the non-football conference members will have to split off into another conference. If these BCS schools eventually decide to split from the NCAA and form their own governing body, they don’t want the likes of Seton Hall, Providence, De Paul and Georgetown tagging along.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Vincent:

            I really doubt the big boys want to exclude the top basketball-only schools. What would they gain by that? The bball schools wouldn’t have any effect on football rules anyway. In bball, if the top bball-only schools contribute as much to that sport as the Big 5 football schools do, why wouldn’t the top schools want them to “tag along”?

            Like

      • morganwick says:

        bullet, do you think we could see a 150-to-200-team or so Division I, then a Division II with the remaining Division I schools and top Division II schools, with more subdivisions down the line, up to at least five divisions? Potentially just cutting D1 in half and adding more slices to lesser divisions? And how would all this affect the 68-team NCAA Tournament?

        Like

    • frug says:

      Well he’s right that if anything is going to trigger a split it is the $2,000 stipend. I have always suspected that at least part of the push for the stipend was to give the Big Boys cover if they needed to split. The major schools could point out that they are trying to do what is best for their players and the small schools are preventing them from doing so. If the major schools hold strong in their commitment to the stipend they could argue any split is the result of the small schools forcing them out even if the major schools technically break away.

      Like

  21. Robert says:

    Anyone want to comment on the credibility of Greg Swaim? I don’t know much about him, but this appears to be the first “legitimate” media source suggesting FSU and Clemson to the Big 12 may happen.

    Here’s a summary of his tweets from the past two days:

    BigTime Sports ‏ @GSwaim Reply Retweet Favorite · Open
    Coaches and administrators beginning to check in at #NOLA for the #FinalFour. The #Clemson and #FSU talk to #Big12 definately has legs!!

    BigTime Sports ‏ @GSwaim Reply Retweet Favorite · Open
    As we’ve always said, #BYU continues to be strongly tied to the #Big12′s future as is #CardNation. More later tonight…

    Justin Keith ‏ @Justin_Keith18 Reply Retweet Favorite · Open
    @GSwaim so We might see #4 added this Summer?

    BigTime Sports ‏ @GSwaim Reply Retweet Favorite · Open
    @Justin_Keith18 I don’t have confirmation that they’d add as many as four all at once, or any this year, but there will be teams added.

    Christopher Finnegan ‏ @FinneISU Reply Retweet Favorite · Open
    @GSwaim ISU AD said yesterday that he would bet his kids the Big 12 wasn’t talking to any ACC schools about expansion. hope he is lying

    BigTime Sports ‏ @GSwaim Reply Retweet Favorite · Open
    @FinneISU No offense to ISU, but they don’t rank quite as high on the list of “deciders” as a few schools I know of ;)

    BigTime Sports ‏ @GSwaim Reply Retweet Favorite · Open
    “@TheCaseter: @GSwaim When are you gonna post your updates #BYU” // As soon as we hear something new it’ll be tweeted right here.

    BigTime Sports ‏ @GSwaim Reply Retweet Favorite · Open
    @tevita_mac Everyone could potentially have a source, but mine at both the #Big12 and #BYU says talks are still ongoing…and going well.

    Top six major programs most likely to make a move by this summer… #BYU, #CardNation, #FSU, #Clemson, #Rutgers, #UConn.

    “@kotisamani: @GSwaim Any specific order out of those six?” // that is in order.

    BigTime Sports ‏ @GSwaim Reply Retweet Favorite · Open
    “@MatthewGaylor: @GSwaim So have the talks died down from #FSU and #Clemson until a new Commish comes through?” // Ongoing.

    BigTime Sports ‏ @GSwaim Reply Retweet Favorite · Open
    “@dburr10: @GSwaim So if you were a betting man would you buy a ticket for #BYU to the #Big12 lottery sweepstakes?” // Yes I would.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      I haven’t heard anyone think he has much more credibility than the Dude. I don’t remember which, but at least a couple of his things over the past year or so were just totally off.

      I do think the Big 12 is studying it and has made informal contacts. It would be irresponsible in this environment for the Big 12 and ACC ADs not to be considering their options. There seems to be enough different sources indicating it. That doesn’t make it likely.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        Same for BYU and Louisville. There’s no guarantee the Big 12 goes beyond 10. It all depends on the $.

        Like

      • vp19 says:

        It’s a longshot, but increasing the Big 12 to 14 with Brigham Young, Clemson, Florida State and Louisville would work better geographically than BYU and UL by themselves:

        East: Clemson, Florida State, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Louisville, West Virginia
        West: Baylor, Brigham Young, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech, Texas Christian

        * No three-time-zone divisions.

        * ISU, KSU and KU are in a more manageable football division

        * As was the case with the original Big 12 (aside from Nebraska-Oklahoma), there are no huge interdivision games that need to be retained (although I’m sure KSU and KU have minor rivalries with OU and Okie State).

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Well, the B12 definitely would (and should) grab Clemson and FSU if they could (and Miami would likely come along as well). The key question is whether FSU would leave the ACC (because what the ‘Noles decide will determine everything), and I put that probability at 5% or less.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            BTW, if they can get FSU & Clemson, the B12 would almost certainly be able to get Miami, in which case there would be little reason to add one of Louisville or BYU (unless they want to expand to 16, but I doubt the additions of Louisville &, say, Pitt, would be net additive).

            Like

          • SideshowBob says:

            If they got FSU and Clemson and Miami (FL) came along as well, they would still need a #14 at least, right? I could see that being Louisville easily (and less likely BYU) though I suppose the Big 12 would push for another ACC team — Georgia Tech, maybe?

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Indeed, which is why I said they would have “little reason to add one of Louisville or BYU”, meaning they would add the other one.

            Like

        • Michael in Raleigh says:

          Translation: Florida State would be trading games against NC State, Wake Forest, Maryland, Syracuse, and Boston College for Iowa State, Kansas, K-State, Louisville, and West Virginia. Clemson games wouldn’t go anywhere.

          Excuse me if my heart isn’t fluttering with excitement. WVU is the only schedule upgrade, and while the rest of the ACC games don’t exactly offer SEC-level excitement, they’re at least familiar opponents with 20+years of history to go with them. NC State, especially, has been a worthy rival. None can be said of the Big 12 teams way out in the Great Plains or Ohio Valley.

          Also worth noting: one of Miami and Florida would almost have to be taken off the annual schedule. I’d much rather have both of those annually instead of the occasional Oklahoma or Texas games.

          Those divisions, Vincent, are very bleh, at least from this Seminole fan’s perspective.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            Mike:

            I believe Miami would surely tag along if FSU goes anywhere.

            However, I agree with you that FSU administrators (who really hold the key to all this) will consider all the variables involved and come to the conclusion that TheDude’s plan isn’t as much of a positive for FSU as those who don’t think through all the details seem to believe it is.

            Like

    • Eric says:

      Greg Swain is the least credible of posters out there in my opinion and that’s saying something. Haven’t seen anything recently, but in the height of expansion he was posting a ton of conflicting rumors presenting them all as fact. There’s also probably more rumors from him popping up on realignment boards than from anyone else, rarely with a truth to them.

      None of this means he’s wrong here, but I wouldn’t put any extra stock in anything because he said it.

      Like

      • Andy says:

        I agree with Eric on this. Swain is a clown.

        That said, I think Louisville likely ends up in the Big 12. The question is who will be school #12 for them, and do they try to go to 14?

        Like

    • zeek says:

      Everyone’s going to consider their options (and I mean all options).

      I’d expect the Big 12 to at least contact FSU and Clemson (otherwise the Commish wouldn’t be doing his job).

      It’s just hard to see it going anywhere other than that. If the Big 12 does want to chase FSU and Clemson, then they’re better off waiting until things settle down for now.

      Things should get interesting again when the Big Ten has to go to the marketplace in a few years…

      Like

      • Richard says:

        “If the Big 12 does want to chase FSU and Clemson, then they’re better off waiting until things settle down for now.”

        Why is that? IMHO, the B12 would (and should) want FSU, Clemson (and Miami) at any time.

        Are you thinking that FSU are more likely to have a change of heart after the B10 gets their new TV deal?

        Like

      • bullet says:

        The FSU and Clemson are coming theory says that everyone is waiting for the Big 12′s permanent commissioner and the new BCS setup to be determined. I wouldn’t think that would be a major holdup. Now the ACC signing its deal and the Big 12 signing its would be good reasons for a holdup. They all need to know what numbers they are dealing with. But I don’t understand why waiting beyond that would be of any benefit to the Big 12.

        Like

        • frug says:

          I’m with you on this one. I’m not sure why (from the Big XII’s perspective) they would want to wait until a new commissioner is selected and the BCS is worked out. The identtity of the commish. shouldn’t have any impact on the desirability of the new members and if anything, the Big XII would be better off adding members before the BCS deal is worked out because it would give them increased strength (the ACC decreased) in negotiating the deals.

          If, on the other hand, you are looking at things from the perspective of the ACC schools then things change. Waiting to find out who is going to be leading the conference and access to the BCS could impact the desirability of leaving the ACC and the final details on the TV contract will definitely impact their decision.

          Like

          • Neil says:

            The Plus One discussion and the fact that the ACC contract has not been finalized, and may not be until after the SEC contract is reworked, will prevent FSU from leaving the ACC at this point in time. Even if Clemson were interested right now, I’m willing to bet their being invited is dependent upon FSU coming.

            Cheers,
            Neil

            Like

          • zeek says:

            Florida State and Clemson each have sufficient value on their own to justify addition to the Big 12, regardless of what the other one does.

            That’s different from the case of the SEC, where they really don’t have much of a justification for adding Clemson, but Florida State’s national brand value would be sufficient.

            In all honesty, if the Big 12 has any chance at getting Clemson, they’re going to move on that as quickly as possible. If they can’t get Florida State at the same time, they’d probably just grab Louisville and move to 12.

            Clemson/Louisville would be a hugely positive addition for the Big 12. Of course, I’m not really sure that Clemson would really consider that kind of move. Being an outlier in the Big 12 isn’t really going to help them that much; even if the money is better than the ACC.

            Like

          • vp19 says:

            Clemson/Louisville would be a hugely positive addition for the Big 12. Of course, I’m not really sure that Clemson would really consider that kind of move. Being an outlier in the Big 12 isn’t really going to help them that much; even if the money is better than the ACC.

            Clemson/Louisville/West Virginia would be a decent eastern flank for the Big 12. Certainly, Clemson would contribute more than Cincinnati ever could.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            I don’t think Clemson would add all that much. Yes, they’re a “brand”, but a second-tier brand in a small state.

            In any case, I’m sure the B12 would want them if they want to expand to 12, but I agree in that I can’t see Clemson moving to the B12 without FSU moving as well, as they’d be in a division with WVU, Louisville, and a bunch of football nonbrands far away on the plains (KU, KSU, and ISU). WVU would be the best school in their new division, and it’s much worse than FSU. In fact, going down the line, they’d prefer all the schools in their current ACC division over the schools in the same position in their new B12 division, and they’d be giving up the association with the academic royalty on Tobacco Road for the privilege of flying their women’s volleyball team half way across the country to IA, KS, OK, and TX all the time.

            Like

  22. Brian says:

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/blog/brett-mcmurphy/18111920/georgia-state-possible-addition-for-sun-belt

    I don’t recall seeing this posted. GA State is a leading candidate to join the Sun Belt, perhaps as soon as 2013.

    Like

    • beinsportsusa says:

      Don’t be surprised if both Georgia State and Texas-San Antonio will be in the BIG EAST 10 years from now.

      Both Georgia State AD Cheryl Levick and Texas-San Antonio AD Lynn Hickey are extremely aggressive.

      Both share the same drive: to build an FBS football powerhouse at a commuter school completely from scratch.

      Like

  23. Brian says:

    http://www.fbschedules.com/2012/03/clemson-absolutely-expects-to-play-home-and-home-series-georgia/

    Clemson’s AD says Clemson wants to continue to play 2 AQ teams every year on top of their 9 ACC games. That’s good to see. I wonder how many other schools will step up.

    Like

  24. Brian says:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/murdochs-scandal/

    In all this talk about Fox starting a sports network, how will the Murdoch scandal figure in? There’s potential for it to spillover to the US, and certainly has already taken a serious financial toll on Murdoch’s empire.

    BTW, I must say I never expected to have a relevant PBS link for CFB blog.

    Like

    • beinsportsusa says:

      The scandal has a biggest effect in the U.K. than in the U.S. because it took place in the U.K.

      Murdoch was already a despised figure in the U.S. The “FOX Sports 1″ story doesn’t change that.

      Flipping FUEL TV, SPEED, and/or FOX Soccer into “FOX Sports 1/2/3″ won’t change the public’s perception of Murdoch, but will make NewsCorp much more money by allowing FOX Sports 1/2/3 to be loaded up with college sports on evenings and weekends.

      Like

  25. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    One the eve of the Men’s Basketball Championship in the Superdome, here’s a nice article that proclaims the Superdome as the most historically significant sporting venue in America. I agree.

    http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/news?slug=jh-hart_superdome_represent_new_orleans_033112

    Like

    • Brian says:

      I’m sure you’re objective about this, Alan. Here’s my vote, FWIW:

      LA Coliseum:
      Only stadium to host the Olympics twice
      Hosted Super Bowls and World Series
      Home to MLB and NFL (and USFL and XFL) teams
      Home to both USC and UCLA football
      Home to several major boxing matches
      Home to international soccer (Gold Cup)
      Birthplace of supercross

      Like

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Brian – I’m sure you’re objective about this as well, especially since the mere mention of the Superdome probably brings back so many pleasant memories to a Buckeye fan like you.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          I don’t hold bad feelings for buildings. OSU is 6-2 in Fiesta Bowls and 1-1 in NCGs out there. OSU is 2-2 in Sugar Bowls and 0-1 in NCGs there. I blame the system for giving LSU a home game, but I never blamed the building.

          That said, the Coliseum is head and shoulders above the Superdome in terms of sports history. It’s also older and in a bigger city, both of which help.

          Like

  26. Brian says:

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/story/2012-03-29/top-college-football-basketball-schools-programs-florida-ohio-state-wisconsin

    SN lists the top FB/MBB combo schools based on the recent past and future of the programs.

    1. UF
    2. OSU
    3. WI
    4. MSU
    5. TX
    6. WV
    7. AL
    8. MI
    9. OU
    10. Baylor

    B10 – 2, 3, 4, 8
    B12 – 5, 6, 9, 10
    SEC – 1, 7

    I wouldn’t say I agree with them 100% (AL and OU hoops?, Baylor FB?), but the lack of an ACC, BE or P12 team is noticeable. I’m not surprised about no P12 team based on their hoops lately, and BE football has been lacking an elite team. At least the BE can take partial credit for WV. The ACC might have been close to the list with FSU. Unfortunately VT hoops and UNC FB keep their top teams off the list.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      My list of bball kings:
      UNC, UK, Duke, KU, IU, Louisville, Syracuse, MSU, Arizona, Texas, OSU (& maybe UCLA)

      My football kings:
      ND, Michigan, OSU, PSU, UNL, Texas, OU, USC, ‘Bama, UF, LSU, UGa, FSU (& maybe Miami).

      Only Texas and OSU are on both lists (not surprisingly, they have the 2 richest athletic departments in the country). UF is close as I have their bball program just outside in the top 15. Michigan is somewhat close as I have their bball program in the top 20. Tennessee is just outside (in top 15) in both. Wisconsin is top 20 in both. If MSU wins a few B10 titles, I’d move them up to top 20 in football.

      Like

      • Neil says:

        Texas is not a basketball King. More justification to put Florida in there as a bb King than Texas.

        And UConn would be a basketball King before Arizona, OSU, and even my Orange.

        Cheers,
        Neil

        Like

        • Richard says:

          I’m projecting forward, not looking at the past, so I’m weighing the revenues a program brings in heavily. Amongst the flagship schools in giant states that aren’t traditional bball kings, Donovan at UF has certainly done as well as anyone given the resources at his disposal (Texas bball, meanwhile, has underperformed given their resources & recruiting grounds, just like their football team). However, Barnes has been a little more consistent than Donovan (while Donovan has been to 3 Final 4′s vs. 1 for Barnes and won 2 national titles, Barnes has made the Dance all 14 years while Donovan missed 2).

          As for UConn, Calhoun has done a great job, but given their relatively small revenues, I’m skeptical that the next guy will be able to have the Huskies acheive as much as ‘Cuse, OSU, or even ‘Zona going forward. UConn after Calhoun could range from anything like Georgetown after Thompson (still good & top 20, but not as dominant as in their heyday) to St. John’s after Carnesecca (not quite irrelevant, but close).

          Like

          • Neil says:

            Even projecting forward, it’s a mistake to put Texas as a basketball King. Other football Kings (or near Kings) who have similar resources and recruiting grounds include USC (California), Notre Dame (both the state of Indiana and the city of Chicago), and Georgia come ready to mind.

            I’ll make a wager with you that UConn will be better in basketball a decade from now than Texas (and it won’t even be close). Teams with 3 NCs may go away for a short while, but they always, always come back. To think otherwise is wishful thinking.

            Cheers,
            Neil

            Like

          • Richard says:

            “USC (California), Notre Dame (both the state of Indiana and the city of Chicago), and Georgia ”

            Their basketball revenues are a fraction of Texas’s.

            “I’ll make a wager with you that UConn will be better in basketball a decade from now than Texas (and it won’t even be close). Teams with 3 NCs may go away for a short while, but they always, always come back.”

            Well, only a handful have won 3, but all of UConn’s were with the same guy as coach. Only kings (excluding OSU & Texas, who I put there in large part because of their revenues & recruiting grounds rather than historic success; and they were definitely the last 2 I put in) where all the titles were under one coach are Louisville, ‘Cuse, Duke, and ‘Zona, and those 4 programs bring in from 2.5 to 4 times the basketball revenues UConn brings in.

            A decent number of schools have won 2 national titles under one coach: Cincy, USF (the one in San Fran), & OK St. Are they kings now?

            Texas is a Thad Matta away from being a team like OSU. Look at where OSU was before Matta. They were a flagship known as a football giant in a populous state with rich resources but had only 1 (vacated) Final Four in the past 3 decades. What is Texas now? A flagship known as a football giant in a populous state with rich resources but only 1 Final Four in the past 3 decades (actually, 6 decades). Barnes isn’t a bad coach, but Texas has the money to hire a top-notch recruiter like Matta (or Calipari or Self), so I fully expect them to get a top-level recruiter once the 57 year old Barnes retires or is pushed out. Heck, they might even hire Self. With all the conference realignment turmoil in recent years, Self is keenly aware that KU is dependent on Texas being willing to keep the B12 alive. At Texas, his school would control its own destiny.

            BTW, how much are you willing to wager and how are we suppose to bet? We could count up by a points system (1 for a Tourney appearance, 2 for a Sweet Sixteen, 4 for a Final Four, 6 for a national title) over the next 10 seasons.

            Like

          • Neil says:

            Richard what team do you root for again? If we hook up at a tailgate, I’ll buy you a bottle of your favorite drink and vice versa.

            Cheers,
            Neil

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Neil:

            Northwestern. Heh, I’ll do the same if I remember that I made this bet back in 2012.

            Like

    • jj says:

      Good B10 showing. Go State.

      Like

  27. Brian says:

    A far future, out of the box idea to compete with ESPN:

    Assume all the major conferences have their own networks up and running. After some period of time, their contracts should allow them to get together and form a College Sports Network to broadcast national games instead of selling rights to ABC/ESPN, CBS or anyone else. CSN would have 4 national football games every Saturday (12, 3:30, 7, 10:30), plus their pick of the best MBB games. They could get the rights to NCAA championships for other sports, carry some WBB, baseball, etc.

    Like

    • ccrider55 says:

      Depends on how you define far future. This is what was suggested as possible when the BTN proved the idea and P12N was just an idea. Now with the association of the B1G and P12 the possibility seems greater. If the SEC were to join the party more than half of current AQ’s (and 3/4 that are FB powers) would be included. Why let ESPN, etc continue the divide and conquer?

      Like

      • Brian says:

        I figured far future because first, the ACC, SEC and B12 have to form networks, and second the current contracts probably have to all expire. If after all that happens CFB is still a huge attraction, then the conferences would have to get together and make a deal to jointly own a network. Then they’d have to outbid all the existing networks to avoid legal issues. None of that seems quick and easy to me. 2025 at the earliest, probably closer to 2050.

        Like

        • ccrider55 says:

          The only actual impediment is the waiting for the expiration of contracts. This wouldn’t keep it from getting started with inventory that is not already committed, which is what the BTN and P12N are doing anyway. I don’t believe the conferences are required to put their rights up for bid. For that matter I imagine having to go with the highest bidder is a choice, too. Up until now it just was the best way. It may no longer be. The deal the conferences would need to make is how to share inventor. That may or may not necessitate a new network/channel. Do you wait for the ACC etc to catch up before starting? Or do you get started and reap some benefits? What if a conf/school doesn’t choose to join? Do they hold up the rest of CFB, or do you move on without them?

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Inventor = inventory

            Like

          • Brian says:

            I was thinking there would be potential legal problems with the conferences starting a group network and automatically getting the rights. There may not be any issues. I’ll leave that to the lawyers to decide. Just waiting for deals to expire will take roughly 20 years, though.

            Like

  28. Brian says:

    [audio src="http://media.790thezone.com/Podcasts/2445/Mike%20Slive%203-28-12%20for%20website.mp3" /]

    From a radio interview with Mike Slive, he clarifies the SEC’s position on 9 games at the end. He said up until recently there had been no interest in 9 games, but that no final decision has been made. He didn’t make it sound likely, but it sounded possible in the near future.

    Like

  29. cutter says:

    Emmert sees ‘momentum’ toward FBS playoff

    http://timesfreepress.com/news/2012/apr/01/emmert-sees-momentum-toward-fbs-playoff/

    While noting that he doesn’t get to make that decision — “That will be up to the university presidents and commissioners of the FBS,” he said — Emmert did sound like a guy who expects a playoff to occur relatively soon.

    “The momentum seems to be — and I’m just reading the tea leaves, pretty much like you — the momentum seems to be toward an eight-team playoff,” he said.

    “We’ll have to see how it works. I don’t know whether it will really occur or not. I think there’s a reasonable possibility it could.”

    ********

    Bloom admits there are no sure-fire fixes for what ails college hoops’ regular season, which has shrinking attendance numbers for almost every program, even as Final Four venues swell to 70,000 fans each spring, as is the case inside the Louisiana Superdome this weekend.

    But when it comes to a football playoff involving eight or more teams, Bloom is adamant.

    “We’ve certainly seen some momentum for a plus-one,” he said, referring to the concept that would basically create two semifinals as opposed to one BCS title game. “But I’m fearful of anything more than a plus-one format.”

    As for Emmert, he seems more excited than past NCAA presidents to give some sort of extended football playoff a try.

    “I suspect it would be a wildly popular event in terms of the fan base,” he said. “It would probably attract lots of attention, and I don’t think it would in any way conflict with or reduce the attention or enthusiasm people have for this [men’s basketball] tournament. This is still a pretty remarkable iconic event.”

    Then he added a line that would be hard to argue, at least in the short term.

    Said Emmert: “It would probably bring more attention to college basketball and make it even more popular.”

    Like

    • Brian says:

      Everything else I’ve seen says a 4 team playoff or a plus one is where we are headed.

      Also, why would a CFB playoff bring more attention to college basketball?

      Like

      • Playoffs Now says:

        Maybe as negotiations take place and ideas are evaluated previously rejected ideas are re-examined.

        Maybe nothing has been totally ruled out.

        Maybe those ‘sources’ have agendas and/or don’t represent all views.

        Maybe viewpoints change.

        Maybe the limitations and pitfalls of 4 get mostly resolved with less new pitfalls at 8.

        Maybe this is a reactions of the presidents, who were not at the negotiations, once the commissioners reported back from the latest round of negotiations. Perhaps many of them now have different takes on the whole thing than those the commissioners had going into the negotiations last week.

        Maybe Arizona’s President Crow was correct when he said there were many presidents, and not just in the P12, who were open to his 8-team proposal. Perhaps as the pro’s and con’s have become clearer Crow’s side has been able to win more over to considering 8.

        Maybe nobody still knows if we’ll ultimately end up with 4, 8, or something else.

        My guess is with the SEC wanting top 4 ranked, many other conferences wanting conf champs only, little guy confs wanting more potential access, the ACC and BigLeast feeling nervous, ND’s issues, the Rose Bowl likely to host 2nd placers more often than not, and comparative $’s involved, going to 8 may solve many of these problems and be a more appealing compromise.

        Even if it means playing a ‘late January’ championship on Jan. 15th. Oh, the humanity!

        So perhaps 8 is back in consideration.

        Like

        • cutter says:

          When balancing their overall interests, I suspect none of the major conference commissioners want to be left out of a post-season playoff while the minor conference commissioners see an eight-team playoff as a better scenario for their programs than one with four teams.

          Just look how last season would have panned out with a four-team playoff along the lines of the top three conference champions plus one at large team. The four programs selected would have been LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State and Oregon. That means the Big Ten and ACC would have been on the outside looking in along with a team (Boise State) from a minor conference that might have also qualified depending on how the playoff was set up. The SEC and the Pac 12 could have also put in and additional team apiece (Arkansas, Stanford) into the eight-team setup. Add Notre Dame and Brigham Young to the lineup as well–it’s much easier to get into an eight-team playoff with perhaps three at large teams than a four-team playoff with just one at large team (and since ND and BYU don’t have conference championship games, they could also be at a competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis the four major conferences that do have them).

          I don’t know if they’ll migrate to an eight-team playoff, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it did work out that way. All these conferences with the exception of the Big XII have gotten larger and there are clear expectations that conference will eventually get to twelve teams as well. There’s every reason to believe that at least one team from each of the five major one would be “playoff worthy” in an eight-team field.

          The big question is schedule. If they play the first two rounds in late December/early January at on campus sites, then yes, two teams out of all of Division 1-A might be playing in mid-January while the other six would be done before or at roughly the same times the bowls finish up now. As Playoffs Now says, “Oh, the humanity!”

          There’s also one other thing that he didn’t mention–money. I believe the last meeting TPTB included some television experts and I suspect the revenue numbers caught a lot of people’s attention. I recall hearing $360M and $500M being mentioned for a four-team playoff or a Plus One. An eight-team playoff is very likely to be at $500M minimum and perhaps even more when all is said and done. It will be very hard to turn away from that money because it outstrips what the bowls/networks now offer them.

          Are the major bowls going to be made less prestigious? Sure, but that transition already began with the introduction of the BCS. While eight teams might mean that a couple of runners up may be in the Rose Bowl, for instance, it could have meant that instead of Oregon v. Wisconsin, it’d have been USC (if they were bowl eligibile) or maybe Oregon against Michigan or Michigan State. That’s not a huge step down and with the conferences getting bigger, the likelihood of getting a really good matchup in the RB is that much better.

          Like

        • Brian says:

          Playoffs Now,

          Maybe Emmert misspoke.

          Maybe Emmert doesn’t know where the momentum is.

          The people in the room have been saying otherwise. That doesn’t mean 8 is eliminated, but it’s hard for it to have momentum if the people discussing it say it’s been all but eliminated.

          Add in the presidents’ stated desire to have the NCG earlier and the clear preference for semis after Xmas, and 8 seems unlikely.

          Like

        • The first college football playoff proposal that I ever wrote on this site (nearly 6 years ago) was an 8-team playoff using the 4 BCS bowls with traditional tie-ins:

          http://frankthetank.wordpress.com/2006/07/28/the-best-of-both-worlds-a-modest-proposal-for-a-college-football-playoff-that-keeps-the-bowls/

          I’d still love this setup by taking the 5 power conference champs with traditional tie-ins and then the top 3 at-larges. I agree with Playoffs Now in being perplexed about why having a championship game that isn’t close to New Years Day is such a big deal at least under a new postseason system. In the context of today’s current “bowl fatigue”, I understand that having a championship game that is later in January isn’t desirable, but you’re not going to see that same fatigue in a 4-team or 8-team playoff. Out of all the items that the university presidents state that they’re concerned about, this one has always been the weakest to me. They don’t seem to mind that basketball practice started back in October and the season doesn’t end until tonight in April.

          However, I also agree with Brian that Emmert has a lot less to do with what’s going on than Delany and Slive, so I’d put more stock in the recent articles from the commissioners’ meetings that it’s going to be either a 4-team playoff or plus-one.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            Frank,

            I don’t know why you and others find it hard to understand the timing issue. The presidents hate multi-semester sports. They certainly don’t want to add more of them. Not to mention, anything after about 1/4 gets swallowed by the NFL playoffs. The only way to get any coverage for a NCG after the NFL playoffs start would require ESPN to have the rights, and even then they sell their souls to NFL playoff coverage

            Like

          • @Brian – It’s not that it’s a completely invalid issue, but I just think it’s the weakest argument compared to the other ones that university presidents often cite. Avoiding final exams, not wanting too many games because of player injury concerns, fans having to travel too much… all of those issues at least make sense to me (even if I think the university presidents don’t hesitate to be massively hypocritical all of the time in the name of more revenue).

            I’d agree that avoiding the NFL playoffs is probably the most direct disadvantage for pushing the college football postseason too far into January – that can be a detriment to a TV package. If the university presidents would just say, “We’d make less money if we overlap with the NFL playoffs,” then that would be honest and understandable. The fact that a sport might a one-semester or a two-semester sport, though, is very “meh” to me as a supposed negative when the other revenue sport of basketball spans almost 7 months when you include practice time.

            Like

          • Eric says:

            I’ve come back into the camp of not wanting any playoff, but if we do go for one, I can see the value in that type of approach and would probably vote for it over the one I think we’ll get (at least the Rose Bowl is preserved here). If they did it, I’d probably say set it up so the 5 locked in conferences remain and then guarantee the next 2 highest champions/independents a place (probably being the Big East and Alliance most years that Notre Dame doesn’t make it).

            That said, I think there are going to be too many worries (rightfully) about 8 teams diminishing national attention on a lot of regular season games (like with basketball, there just wouldn’t be a lot of reason to being rooting for big upsets early in the year). If they aren’t worried about that, I think the other worry will be the 2nd round games. In January you can’t really go back to home games in the north which probably means 3 neutral site games and 2 might be too many.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Frank the Tank,

            @Brian – It’s not that it’s a completely invalid issue, but I just think it’s the weakest argument compared to the other ones that university presidents often cite. Avoiding final exams, not wanting too many games because of player injury concerns, fans having to travel too much… all of those issues at least make sense to me (even if I think the university presidents don’t hesitate to be massively hypocritical all of the time in the name of more revenue).

            It may not be a strong argument, and it doesn’t bother me when people disagree with them about it, I’ve just seen too many people claim it’s all hot air and hypocrisy. I think the presidents take the issue very seriously, though. It was the first topic for change they mentioned.

            I’d agree that avoiding the NFL playoffs is probably the most direct disadvantage for pushing the college football postseason too far into January – that can be a detriment to a TV package. If the university presidents would just say, “We’d make less money if we overlap with the NFL playoffs,” then that would be honest and understandable.

            The NFL issue may be more understandable, but I think they are being completely honest when they talk about the game not being played after classes resume. They devoted their lives to education, so things like this matter a lot more to them than to regular fans.

            The fact that a sport might a one-semester or a two-semester sport, though, is very “meh” to me as a supposed negative when the other revenue sport of basketball spans almost 7 months when you include practice time.

            This may indicate you aren’t well suited to be a college president (I’m sure you’re crestfallen about that). It doesn’t mean it isn’t important to them. I’m guessing they’d greatly prefer to shorten hoops season and fit it in one semester, but it just doesn’t work logistically.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            One big difference between basketball (or any other sport) and football are the sheer number of students involved. You’d have about a hundred or more student-athletes who would be missing classes for travel and practice (vs. 15 for bball), a bigger cheerleading contingent, a bigger (I believe much bigger) band contingent, and a bigger contingent of student-managers/trainers. Plus, a football postseason generally gets a bigger chunk of the student body going. UK didn’t cancel classes for the Final Four, but you can be sure that if ‘Bama makes it to a football final four that conflicts with classes, Tuscaloosa will be a ghost town.

            I doubt very much that many university presidents are enamored with shutting down their entire university just to play football games in late January.

            Like

    • Playoffs Now says:

      Article buries the lede:

      “The momentum seems to be — and I’m just reading the tea leaves, pretty much like you — the momentum seems to be toward an eight-team playoff,” he said.

      Amazing how a concept that ‘nobody supports’ is now cited by the NCAA President as having the momentum. Guess he just doesn’t have the pulse of the university presidents and conference commissioners the way that some of our ‘experts’ around here do. C’mon, the presidents and commissioners couldn’t possibly compromise on a solution that doesn’t meet every single one of their initial goals, even though they’ve said from the beginning that so many of their initial goals conflict that nothing they approve will meet them all…

      Like

      • Brian says:

        Playoffs Now,

        Amazing how a concept that ‘nobody supports’ is now cited by the NCAA President as having the momentum. Guess he just doesn’t have the pulse of the university presidents and conference commissioners the way that some of our ‘experts’ around here do.

        The people in the room have been saying it’s headed for 4 or a plus 1. Emmert isn’t in the room.

        Like

        • That comment admittedly throws me off a little. I’ll definitely agree the talk is primarily between the conference commissioners and presidents, and that the NCAA president has little voice in this. All of that talk that’s filtered back to us seems to suggest a 4 team playoff being most likely, with a plus one a small possibility.

          At the same time though, it seems like the NCAA president would know enough people to have a pretty decent idea of what is being discussed, especially since the conferences are still planning on operating through the NCAA structure.

          I wonder if this is his way of pushing an 8 team playoff. I don’t buy that 8 teams in the leading candidate though. Too many other sources seem to suggest otherwise.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            Emmert isn’t in the room, but one president very pointedly said the commissioners (who are in the room right now and doing all the leaks) will NOT be making the decisions.

            Like

          • joe4psu says:

            Bullet,

            We can only hope…

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            bullet – don’t sell Emmert short. He knows what’s going on, but may not want you to think he knows what’s going on. He may be using 8 as a smokescreen, but I’d be willing to bet the house that he’s not in the dark. Before becoming NCAA President, Emmert was chancellor or president of UConn, LSU, and Washington. That’s half of the AQ conferences. I had many dealings with him when he was at LSU. He is a consummate politician and a very smart guy. Emmert is not going to get caught flat-footed by his former colleagues.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            Of course the commissioners won’t be making the decisions. But if they aren’t even really considering 8 in the room, then they won’t take 8 to their presidents as a recommended plan. The presidents don’t like to completely overrule their commissioners on too many items and I doubt they have the desire to come up with an 8 team plan on their own. The commissioners would basically have to go back to square 1 and start the discussions over with the sole focus on 8, and the details may end up killing 8 anyway once the presidents see what sacrifices it would require (season length, travel, etc).

            Like

  30. http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/blog/dennis-dodd/18246334/ncaa-task-force-conferences-could-take-over-bowl-system

    I don’t totally understand what this article means…but it sounds like the NCAA is putting more power into the hands of the conference commissioners, which is appropriate since they are the ones who more specifically control the money. He asserts that this does NOT directly impact the “playoff talks” but indirectly, it puts ALL the power (bowls AND playoff) under the commishes jurisdiction.

    If they want to maximize the post-season, eliminating these joke games that ESPN has instituted to fill TV timeslots between 6-6 teams is an important steps. You want the bowls to be more interesting again AND you want your new playoff to be the crown jewels of your valuable product.

    Like

  31. Playoffs Now says:

    Bottom line, 8 playoff teams solves a lot of problems, take the top 6 ranked conf champs and 2 wildcards. More conferences (and power conferences) included every year, pacifies the SEC’s concerns, would use on campus games for at least 1 round so spreads around the home field advantage, can use the BCS bowls if desired (and return Rose as P12/B1G champs only) or work around them, and of course more $.

    Using the BCS bowls results in only 4 teams max extending their season into the 2nd semester. Or start the first round on campus the weekend before or after Christmas, resulting in a max of only 2 schools extending their season into the 2nd semester. In fact many schools wouldn’t start back up before the title game was played. Would still be by far the lowest % of teams in any major sports making the playoffs and only conf champs could host on campus games so it still protects the regular season. In fact would promote more marquee OOC games, since a non-conf loss wouldn’t necessarily eliminate a team from the playoffs (can go the conf champ route) but quality non-conf wins would be desirous for the very limited spots of the wildcard option.

    8 is the best balance, all around, and it also is the number most likely to prevent future creep. 4 has too many problems/trade offs that will keep pressure on to tweak/expand the format. OTOH, 8 that includes 2 wildcards makes it much harder to argue any school or conference is unfairly excluded. Can’t win your conf by some fluke or crappy tiebreaker? There’s still the wildcards, and if you really are the best team (or even in the top 4) you ought to be able to earn 1 of the 2 slots. With 2 wildcards and the likelihood that at least 1 power conf will have a down year, the minor conferences have much more than a theoretical shot of making the playoffs, so the exclusion/lack of access legal arguments are pretty much gone. With 4 there’s still the risk that a team, through the luck of a draw, can get a fairly easy path to the title. With 8 all are forced to play 3 playoff games and truly earn it on the field. More legitimacy. Plus the biggest complaint many have with college football is the relative dearth of quality OOC games, so more than in any other major sports, the ability to discern the best teams is almost exclusively based on reputation and circular urban myths rather than actual games across divisions/conferences. 8 more than doubles the number of post-season OOC games, giving us a better measure, and on the field.

    Hence 8 is a natural destination point. If we start with 4 it will inevitably evolve to at least 8, let’s just do the right thing and go straight to 8. And again, far more $’s. Easily the biggest threat hanging over school presidents is the threat of reduced funding from states in tough economic times, which will only get worse for years in many cases. All of which is why 8 may be back on the table.

    Like

    • Phil says:

      I think taking the top 6 conference champions allows too much chance of a team getting in that is much worse than many better at-large teams. I think in an 8 team playoff, taking the top 5 ranked conference champions plus the top 3 at-large teams probably gets the best mix of rewarding champions while making sure a 20th ranked conference champ doesn’t get in over an 8th ranked at large.

      Even as a fan of a Big East team, I think the most fair would be for the ACC, Big East and MWC/CUSA champs to fight each other to deserve that one last spot.

      Like

      • Dave says:

        Taking the top 6 conference champs probably wouldn’t result in all that many ‘bad’ playoff participants (though current BCS AQ champs + 2 at-large would), though 2011 looks bad for that system (BCS #15 Clemson, #18 TCU, and #21 Southern Miss get in). 2010′s lowest-ranked participant is #10 Boise State. 2009 is #8 Ohio State in a year that sets up just about perfectly for that system (you got 7 conference champs and #5 Florida). 2008 is almost as good (#9 Boise is the lowest-ranked team). 2007 also bottoms out at #9 (with WVU, though undefeated — and untested — Hawaii is left out of the playoffs). 2006 has #10 Oklahoma as the final participant. So basically the only recent year that system looks really bad is… last year, and only because Houston and Virginia Tech were upset in their conference championship games and TCU upset Boise State a few weeks earlier. It probably nets a little better than five power conference champs + 3 at-large, though of course worse than a pure top 8 or top 8 with a two team per conference limit.

        Like

      • I know you’re a fan of the Big East, Phil, but do you really believe in your heart of hearts that the Big East deserves an automatic anything anymore? Really?

        I personally feel that a system that rewards the highest three conference champs (among the major FIVE conferences) and allows for one wild card (from a smaller conference like the Big East or MAC if they are deserving OR a second strong team from a major conference–like Alabama last year or Michigan in 2006 OR a fourth conference champ)…would be fair. I’ve linked this before, but I think this set-up seems fair. http://nittanylionsden.com/2012-articles/march/the-playoff-is-almost-here.html

        Like

    • Brian says:

      Playoffs Now,

      Bottom line, 8 playoff teams solves a lot of problems, take the top 6 ranked conf champs and 2 wildcards. More conferences (and power conferences) included every year, pacifies the SEC’s concerns, would use on campus games for at least 1 round so spreads around the home field advantage, can use the BCS bowls if desired (and return Rose as P12/B1G champs only) or work around them, and of course more $.

      8 causes at least as many problems as it solves. You just created a major one with your decision that it’s the top 6 champs plus two wildcards. Why not top 4 or 5 or 7 or 8? When do you play the extra round. Where do you play the rounds? When is the NCG? What other schedule changes are required, if any? How is the regular season impacted? What is the longterm impact on fan support? Does the format encourage or discourage further expansion, or is it neutral?

      On top of that, there are the issues like why team number 8 deserves a shot at the title. For 2011 you would have had LSU, OkSU, OR, WI, Clemson and TCU, plus AL and Stanford. BCS #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15 and 18. Why should #18 and #15 get a shot but not #6 or #7? Those teams couldn’t get one of the 10 BCS spots, but they get in the playoff? If you go the other way, why does the third place team in the SEC West (#6 AR) or runner up in the MWC (#7 Boise) get a shot?

      8 is the best balance, all around, and it also is the number most likely to prevent future creep.

      No, 8 is your preference. In your mind it’s the bets balance, but that hardly makes it fact. I don’t think any number prevents creep, as every level of sports has had slow but steady bracket creep.

      Hence 8 is a natural destination point.

      No, it’s not.

      If we start with 4 it will inevitably evolve to at least 8, let’s just do the right thing and go straight to 8.

      The right thing is no playoff.

      And again, far more $’s. Easily the biggest threat hanging over school presidents is the threat of reduced funding from states in tough economic times, which will only get worse for years in many cases. All of which is why 8 may be back on the table.

      You are way out of touch if you think FB money makes a dent in state funding. After funding the rest of the AD, most schools are in the red. A playoff will help them balance their budget, but that’s about it. The total budget of a university is at least an order of magnitude larger than the AD budget, maybe 2 orders.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        “The total budget of a university is at least an order of magnitude larger than the AD budget, maybe 2 orders.”

        . . . well, except at ‘Bama, where total research expenditures ($33M, from http://blog.al.com/breaking/2011/10/times_watchdog_report_tuscaloo.html) is less than both football revenue and profit ($77M & $45M), and almost the same as football expenditures ($31.5M). (Maybe cancelling classes for football means they have their priorities in the right order after all; you shouldn’t shortchange your top profit center).

        In generally, you’re right, though. Most universities (and certainly all tier I national research universities) get and spend orders of magnitude more money on endeavors other than sports).

        Like

      • @Playoffs, Going to 8 teams would make ending the season on or close to Jan 1st pretty difficult. I have come around to the thought of playoffs; but no more than 4 teams. When was the last time the #8 team in the country legitmately had a gripe about being able to contend for the title? Keep it simple and keep it at 4 teams.

        Like

      • cutter says:

        Here’s some answers to your question as I see it:

        Q: Why not top 4 or 5 or 7 or 8?

        A: The general convention that advocates for an 8-game playoff like myself have said is that the ACC, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac 12 and SEC represent the major conferences in football. Those five major conferences should get autobids for their champions into such a playoff.

        Because the Big East was a BCS conference, there might be some consideration for giving them an autobid as well. But given the BE’s current composition plus the possibility more members may migrate to the ACC, Big Ten and Big XII, an argument can be made to the contrary.

        That argument also goes for the other five conferences in Division 1-A/FBS–Conference USA, the Mountain West, the Western Athletic, Mid-America and Sun Belt Conferences aren’t recognized as being on the same competitive level as the others. A team from one of those conferences would have to get an at-large bid.

        Q: When do you play the extra round?

        A: If this were 2011, then the first round could be played on 24 December, the second round on 31 December and the final game played on 14 January. That would mean two teams in the eight-team playoff would play in mid-January. The bowl games could be accomodated in their normal time slots, assuming that the playoff games were held at the home stadium of the higher rated team. The championship game could be at a traditional bowl location or at a neutral site.

        While the university presidents have indicated they want to wrap up the season as close to 1 January as possible, IMHO the prospect of two teams playing on 14 January shouldn’t be considered a deal breaker.

        Q: Where do you play the rounds?

        A: The first and second rounds are played at the home stadium of the higher rated team. By doing this, a team is rewarded for its regular season performance by getting the home field advantage in the playoffs. This also helps minimize overall travel for the teams and their fans.

        The championship game can be played at a bowl location, neutral site or even at the stadium of the higher rated team two weeks after the semi-final games are over.

        Q: When is the National Championship Game?

        A: The NCG will be played two weeks after the semi-final games are over.

        Q: What other schedule changes are required, if any?

        A: None. The conference championship games and regular season can end at the usual time, i.e, the first Saturday of December. In 2011, that date was 3 December. The first round then starts three weeks later on 24 December after exams are completed.

        Q: How is the regular season impacted?

        A: The regular season is improved because more teams have a stake at getting into the playoff at season’s end then in the current BCS system or in a four-team playoff. Conference championship games will grow in importance because they will decide (1) whether or not a team will get into the playoff and/or (2) where that team will be seeded.

        A team could lose a conference championship game and still get into the playoff as a wildcard, but it might well find itself as the visiting team in the first round against a higher rated opponent. That’s why winning the CCG will be at a premium in an eight-team playoff.

        Q: What is the longterm impact on fan support?

        A: Because more teams will in the running for the playoff, greater fan support will be maintained not only through the season, but also into the post season as well. Every game in the regular season will still count because those contests will help decide division champions plus teams that could be considered as possible wildcards (including independents like Notre Dame and Brigham Young).

        Q: Does the format encourage or discourage further expansion? Or is it neutral?

        A: It depends on the teams themselves. Programs might feel it makes sense to get into a conference with an autobid in order to get to the playoff. Others may feel they can get an at large bid if they go undefeated in one of the conferences that don’t get the autobid.

        Q: Why does Team #8 deserve a shot?

        A: If there was a cap so that a program had to be in the top 12 of the rating system used to rank the teams in order to get into the playoff, then the worst Team #8 could be is #12 in the rating system. This would be on rough par with the current requirement for a team to be in the Top 14 of the BCS to get into a BCS bowl.

        If we used 2011 as an example, ACC champion Clemson would be disqualified because the Tigers were ranked #15 in the BCS. In a 5 + 3 type of championship with a Top 12 requirement to get into the playoff, that would open up a fourth at large bid for a more deserving team. Here is what the first round would look like using the BCS rankings:

        #10 Wisconsin (B10 Champion, 11-2) at #1 LSU (SEC Champion, 13-0)

        #5 Oregon (Pac 12 Champion, 11-2) at #4 Stanford (Pac 12 At Large, 11-1)

        #7 Boise State (MWC At Large, 11-1) at #2 Alabama (SEC At Large, 11-1)

        #6 Arkansas (SEC At Large, 11-2) at #3 Oklahoma State (Big XII Champion, 11-1)

        Kansas State (10-2) and South Carolina (10-2) were the #8 and #9 teams in the BCS, but would not be in the playoffs–they would participate in the major bowl games along with programs such as Virginia Tech, Baylor, Michigan, Oklahoma, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan State and TCU. As conference champion of the Big Ten, Wisconsin would get the last place in the playoff.

        Q: Will an eight-team playoff prevent future creep?

        A: Yes, as long as the conference leadership wants to maintain the bowl system. Taking more than eight teams reduces the inventory of high-level programs available for the major bowls. The ten teams I listed above (Kansas State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Baylor, Michigan, Oklahoma, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan State, Texas Christian) could all be slotted into the the major bowls–Rose, Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta, Orange.

        If a playoff were to go to twelve or sixteen teams, that would put a serious crimp on the attractiveness of the bowls, who need high profile teams to attractive television viewers and fans to the game sites.

        Q: Is an eight-team playoff the right thing to do?

        A: Yes. It provides an opportunity for teams that win major conference championships or have exceptional seasons to have an opportunity to win the national championship. In the recent past, we have seen situations where (1) undefeated programs have no chance for the BCS national championship because they weren’t from a major conference and (2) teams that were undefeated from a major conference not be selected to the BCS NC game.

        An eight-team playoff allows the championship to be decided on the field and not by the pollsters. It’s inclusive enough to include teams that are national championship worthy while allowing for a large enough inventory of quality teams to be available for the major bowl games.

        Q: Will a playoff help balance athletic department budgets around the country?

        A: Yes. I do agree with you that the money a playoff would get is fairly small vis-a-vis state funding for a university. But the extra funds could be used to help get a number of athletic departments out of the red when it comes to their budgets.

        The most recent figure I’ve seen published for a four-team playoff or Plus One is $360M. Assuming an eight-team playoff would be $500M and the bowl games would kick in another $100M (down from $180M in the current system) and that’s $600M for the entire post-season. Divided evenly among approx. 120 team in Division 1-A and that’s $5.0M per team.

        In all likelihood, the major conferences will get the lion’s share of the money, so the 60-plus programs in the five major conferences could be looking at $7.0 or $8.0M per year. Michigan had $2.2M in its budget from bowl games for FY 2012 (this is the same share all the Big Ten teams gets), so whatever figure you use ($5.0M, $7.0M, etc.) would be an improvement over the current situation.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          And I disagree with most of your answers. Some are just opinions, and others I think you are truly wrong. I’m sure I won’t change your mind, and I know you won’t change mine, either.

          Playoffs are bad in any sport. They are the absolute worst in CFB. I won’t advocate for one, I won’t support one and I won’t watch one (maybe even not if my alma mater is in it).

          Like

    • cutter says:

      I agree with the eight-team playoff setup, but I’ll add one caveat to it. If you go with the top five or six conference champions along with three or two wildcards, then require the conference champions to be in the top 12 or 14 of the rating system used. If a conference champion like Clemson from last year is ranked higher than 14 (Clemson was #15 in the BCS), then the ACC doesn’t get the autobid and another wildcard team is added to eight-team setup.

      Like

  32. joe4psu says:

    More on the Fox’s plans.

    Will Fox launch all-sports network? – John Ourand & Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Daily | SportsBusiness Journal

    http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2012/04/02/Media/Fox-channel.aspx

    …The channel, which goes by the working title of Fox Sports 1, already has been contemplated in the network’s deals with the Pac-12 Conference and FIFA. In fact, sources said that one of the reasons Fox hired John Entz from MLB Network in November was to help launch such a channel. Entz has since taken a bigger job at the network, as executive producer (see related story).

    Executives close to the talks said plans to switch Fox’s motorsports channel Speed into an all-sports channel are still in their infancy and not set in stone. There’s a good chance that nothing happens and no switch is made.

    But a new multisport Speed also has been part of early discussions Fox has had with MLB. Sources said MLB executives have told Fox that it needs to establish a better cable sports presence to help it compete with ESPN’s cable channels and NBC Sports Network for rights. Fox’s MLB deal is up after the 2013 season.

    …The plan gained steam last year, as Fox Sports negotiated deals with the Big 12, FIFA, Pac-12 and UFC.

    At first, Fox looked into the possibility of flipping Fuel TV or Fox Soccer. But those larger, more-established properties did not want to entrust their rights to a small niche channel like Fuel TV, which is in 37 million homes, or Fox Soccer, which is in 41 million.

    They’d be more willing to commit to Fox’s motorsports channel, Speed, which is in 82 million homes.

    Such a switch makes sense for Fox. The network’s NASCAR deal ends in 2014. The channel already has an infrastructure and better distribution than NBC Sports Network or CBS Sports Network, which should help convince rights holders to put their content on the channel.

    Like

  33. Huge story on the final 4 college football postseason options today from USA Today, complete with a leaked internal document that was presented to the commissioners:

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/story/2012-04-04/bcs-focuses-on-four-postseason-plans/53996360/1

    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/331003-status-4-3-12.html

    If option #4 (“Four Team Plus”) sounds familiar to you, here’s why:

    http://frankthetank.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/the-halfway-there-compromise-a-bcs-plus-one-proposal-that-the-big-ten-and-rose-bowl-could-live-with/

    Like

    • Brian says:

      And shockingly, no 8 team playoff made the top 4.

      They still have major conflicts to resolve. The four team plus would seem ideal to get the B10, P12 and Rose bowl on board, but it has the same calendar problem as a true plus one or the current system. Is the Rose willing to move up a few days? Are the presidents willing to live with a NCG on 1/8 or later? The true plus one might be even harder to fix since more bowls would have to move up.

      Like

    • Brian #2 says:

      Option 4 sounds absurd to me. Option 2 – a plus one game after the traditional bowl games have been played – sounds like the best and most realistic option.

      Very happy to see that it appears they are only considering a four-team playoff.

      Like

      • frug says:

        I hate any system that tries to use the current bowls as part of the playoffs. Take the top 4 teams (however they are selected) and just return to the old system for the bowls. If it means B1G #2 vs. PAC #2 so be it. It will still be a good matchup and I will watch it.

        Like

        • Brian #2 says:

          I don’t want the bowls to be used as a playoff. I want to return to the old system for bowls – B1G/PAC champs in Rose, SEC champ in Sugar, etc – but have a plus one BCS-type national championship game featuring the #1 and #2 ranked teams.

          This would enhance tradition, maintain the integrity of the regular season, and increase the odds that the two best teams will meet in final championship game.

          Like

          • Eric says:

            At the very least, I’ve decided I want the bowls used. If it’s set-up so that we go back to always having Big Ten and PAC-12 champs in the Rose and the SEC champ always in the Sugar, it’s a lot harder to break that system in the future. Right now, it’s very possible though given the ties have weakened through the BCS era.

            Like

          • frug says:

            If you want to do a single NCG after the bowls have been played, then I don’t have a problem with putting the B1G, PAC and SEC champs in their bowls, but using them as a formal semi-final is just dumb. It will create an unseeded playoff which is even worse than the current system.

            Like

    • jj says:

      Let me know if you need counsel frank. Those dudes who pitched the taco bell dog made a bucket of cash. Yo quiero dinero.

      In all seriousness though, it looks like the BCS formula in some manner will stand, which sticks in my craw. I would hope there is a rule that a non-champ from a conference cannot jump a champ from that same conference.

      Like

    • Eric says:

      I wouldn’t mind your #4 at all at this point. Only change I’d probably make would be to set it up so that the #2 and #3 team always have a chance to be in championship game. You could do this by guaranteeing that #2 plays #3 or #1 each year. For instance, if you had the following:

      #1 Ohio State
      #2 Florida
      #3 Texas
      #4 Florida State
      #5 USC
      #6 Alabama

      Then you’d have
      Rose Bowl: #1 Ohio State vs. #5 USC
      Sugar Bowl: #2 Florida vs. #3 Texas
      Orange Bowl: #4 Florida State vs. #6 Alabama

      The Florida/Texas winner would be guaranteed a spot in the championship game. Ohio State would be in with a win. If Ohio State lost, Florida State would be in with a win. If both lost, USC would be in.

      Like

  34. Andy says:

    I’m much more interested in the 20-team-event listed at the bottom:

    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/331003-status-4-3-12.html

    Sounds great. I would love to see the bowl participants selected by committee in order to find the best match up and best geographic fit instead of some of the shenanigans we’ve seen over the last few years.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      Andy,

      I’m all for better bowl match-ups, but this seems a little contrived to me. No matter what they say, they can’t make the game between #19 and #20 seem very important. How do they make it work with all the Bowl sponsors, the preferred conference match-ups, TV ratings, the preferred destinations for each conference, etc? The bowls sort of have a pecking order now. Does that stay, or do they rotate the order of matchups within the region or what? How they would balance rank versus brand versus geography versus storylines would be huge. Do they pair higher ranked teams even if they are small brands and fans won’t watch? Or do they pair them each with a lower ranked team with a bigger brand? Or do they keep them together and demote them to a lesser game?

      It seems like opening Pandora’s box for fan complaints. I’m not against eliminating all the tie-ins, but it would take a very complex system to make this work well.

      Like

      • Phil says:

        This attempt to manage the second tier bowls may be an attempt to get buy in from the majority of schools. Let’s face it, a four team playoff is almost always going to involve teams from the same 4 conferences.

        One way to make the other conferences comfortable with that is the thought that in the years their champs have a really good year, they can still have a really nice bowl home even if they don’t make the playoff. The current situation, where the big conferences have so many tie-ins that the MWC champ missing the BCS drops to the Las Vegas Bowl, is probably tough to swallow.

        Like

    • wmtiger says:

      Currently I only care or watch about 8 – 10 bowl games; mostly a few of the BCS bowls that I find interesting (Orange, Rose, Sugar, Fiesta, NT), whatever bowl my team is in. Plus whatever B10 bowls I can watch on New Years Day; which seems like all of them are fighting for viewers at the same time slot, so I end up only watching two other B10 bowls other than my Wolverines
      .

      Like

  35. Eric says:

    I posted this in an earlier thread, but here it is again if anyone is interested in how #4 might look (there are a few different ways you can structure it).

    Basic rules for this list
    1. Highest ranked winners move on to the national championship.
    2. Rose Bowl is always Big Ten vs. PAC-12
    3. Sugar Bowl always has the SEC champion
    4. The #1, #2, and #3 teams are always set-up so that they will go to the national championship game with a win.

    Potential national championship bowls by year

    2011:
    Sugar: #1 LSU vs. #4 Stanford (Stanford wasn’t PAC-12 champ)
    Fiesta: #3 Oklahoma State vs. #2 Alabama

    2010:
    Sugar: #1 Auburn vs. #3 TCU
    Rose: #2 Oregon vs. #5 Wisconsin
    Cotton: #4 Stanford vs. #6 Ohio State

    2009:
    Sugar: #1 Alabama vs. #4 TCU
    Fiesta: #2 Texas vs. #3 Cincinnati

    2008:
    Fiesta: #1 Oklahoma vs. #4 Alabama
    Sugar: #2 Florida vs. #3 Texas

    2007:
    Rose: #1 Ohio State vs. #7 USC
    Sugar: #2 LSU vs. #3 Virginia Tech
    Fiesta: #4 Oklahoma vs. #5 Georgia

    2006:
    Rose: #1 Ohio State vs. #5 USC
    Sugar: #2 Florida vs. #3 Michigan
    Cotton: #4 LSU vs. #6 Louisville

    2005:
    Rose: #1 USC vs. #3 Penn State
    Fiesta: #2 Texas vs. #4 Ohio State

    2004:
    Rose: #1 USC vs. #12 Iowa
    Sugar: #2 Oklahoma vs. #3 Auburn
    Fiesta: #4 Texas vs. #5 California

    2003:
    Sugar: #1 Oklahoma vs. #2 LSU
    Rose: #3 USC vs. #4 Michigan

    2002:
    Sugar: #1 Miami vs. #3 Georgia
    Rose: #2 Ohio State vs. #4 USC

    2001:
    Orange: #1 Miami vs. #5 Florida (Florida wasn’t SEC champs)
    Fiesta: #2 Nebraska vs. #3 Colorado
    Rose: #4 Oregon vs. #8 Illinois

    2000:
    Fiesta: #1 Oklahoma vs. #5 Virginia Tech
    Orange: #2 Florida State vs. #3 Miami
    Rose: #4 Washington vs. #16 Michigan

    1999:
    Sugar: #1 Florida State vs. #4 Alabama
    Orange: #2 Virginia Tech vs. #3 Nebraska

    1998:
    Sugar: #1 Tennessee vs. #5 Texas A&M
    Orange: #2 Florida State vs. #3 Kansas State
    Rose: #4 Ohio State vs. #5 UCLA

    Through these years, the top 3 teams always would advance to the national championship with a win (regardless of other games).

    Effect of the Rose Bowl (all of this is based on ranking alone)
    1. In 3 years, the Big Ten/PAC-12 champ was less likely to make it to the national championship because of being the #4 team and not getting to play a top 3 team (in other words, they need the #1 team to lose).
    2. In 1 other year, the Big Ten/PAC-12 champ is less likely to make the national championship because of harder competition (2005).
    3. In 4 years, the Big Ten/PAC-10 champ was more likely to make it to the national championship because of easier competition.
    4. In 3 years, both the Big Ten and PAC-10/12 champ was in the top 4 with one of the Big Ten/PAC-10 champs getting easier competition than they would otherwise had, while the other had harder than they would otherwise had.

    Like

    • Eric says:

      Edit to last post:

      On effects of the Rose Bowl scratch #2 and add one more to #4.

      Like

    • I actually like it quite a bit. But it’s still confusing. I think that the PTB need to be careful with this new system so that it’s EASY for common fans to understand. Every other playoff is easy to understand you win the game (NFL and NCAABBall) or series (MLB and NBA) and you advance…you lose the game or series and you are done.

      In all of the years where three games matter, it’ll be very confusing for Aunt Sally on mid-winter’s eve.

      Like

  36. [...] No conference right now would want to remove itself from the “mainstream” of sports programming by leaving ABC/ESPN, CBS, NBC, or FOX. The Big Ten and SEC, regardless of how powerful each is, still are just a part of the larger sport of college football. To break off completely would mean that certain regions and demographics might never see a game from your conference. (This point was made in March by my favorite blogger.) [...]

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  37. [...] even mentioned and in what it implies MLB is looking for.) In any case, while Frank the Tank suggests that big-time sports leagues like MLB would rather be on a network with other draws, whether other [...]

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  38. [...] Competitor to ESPN Instead of Comcast (Because That’s How ESPN Wants It) – When I wrote this post on potential challengers to ESPN back in March, I was fairly skeptical of anyone being able to step up to create a full-fledged [...]

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