What American Idol Viewers Show Us About Rising TV Sports Contracts

Posted: April 18, 2011 in Big East, Big Ten, College Basketball, College Football, Major League Baseball, NBA Basketball, NFL Football, NHL Hockey, Sports
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The Big 12 lost one of the best national TV draws in college football (Nebraska), the most popular college team in its largest and fastest-growing market outside of the state of Texas (Colorado) and its conference championship… and then signs a contract for a 350% increase for its second tier cable football rights with Fox.  Did Rupert Murdoch suddenly feel the need to go on a shopping free now that he doesn’t have to pay Glenn Beck anymore?  Is Dan Beebe getting a G5 and a pile of money so that Fox can cash in an insurance policy on Iowa State?  What gives?  Well, let’s take a look at some demographic shifts of the overall TV audience, how it has affected Fox’s most important property, American Idol, and how all of this explains why sports TV rights fees are generally going through the roof right now.

There are three massive changes to television over the past 5 years (and such changes are accelerating):

(1) More Old People Watch TV Than Young People – If you know anything about TV advertising, the overall Nielsen rating that a lot of networks like to trump in press releases is completely irrelevant.  The fact that CBS is the #1 watched TV network overall with top overall-rated shows in several categories has little bearing on what they are able to charge in terms of advertising rates.  Instead, the Nielsen number that really matters is what a show draws in the Age 18-49 demographic and, increasingly, the Age 18-34 demographic.  Historically, this emphasis on younger viewers has been justified with notions that older people are less likely to switch brands or purchase high-end products.  However, that really isn’t true anymore, as people over 50 generally have higher incomes and have shown to have more discretionary spending than their younger counterparts.

Now, the reasoning is a bit different: younger viewers are simply scarcer, therefore advertisers pay a premium to reach them.  Even though older viewers actually have more spending power than younger viewers, those older viewers watch more TV overall and can be reached throughout the day by placing ads on less expensive shows.

The difference between what advertisers will pay for a younger audience versus an older audience is massive – more massive than you probably could have ever guessed.  TVbythenumbers recently compared the ad rates for NCIS (which draws the largest overall audience of any scripted show on TV) and Glee.  It found that even though NCIS had 82% more overall viewers, the fact that Glee had 15% more viewers in the Age 18-49 demo and 92% more viewers in the Age 18-34 demo meant that Glee was able to charge 80% more than NCIS for every 30-second commercial spot.  It basically shows that viewers over 50 are effectively worthless from an advertising standpoint (and even viewers over 35 aren’t worth that much).  You can find a lot of shows that draw in the typical viewer of NCIS (even if that particular show brings in the most of them outright), while there are very few shows that bring in the demo that Glee delivers.  (For what it’s worth, I’m the type of person that enjoys dramas with deep and complex themes with subtle acting that doesn’t beat you over the head with blatant messages.  I can’t think of any show that provides less of what I’m looking for than Glee.)

With that type of advertising rate disparity, TV networks (both broadcast and cable) are continuously on the search for programming that attracts those younger viewers.

(2) More Women Watch TV Than Men – Here’s a fairly shocking statistic: out of the 63 prime time shows that were on the 5 major broadcast networks (for the purposes of this discussion, The CW gets counted as a “major network”) during the 2009-10 season, only 6 drew more male viewers than female viewers6 out of 63.  Three of those shows (The Simpsons, Family Guy and The Cleveland Show) are part of the Sunday night Fox comedy bloc that gets a lead-in from NFL games for half of the season.  Another one of those shows (24) is no longer on the air, a different one (Fringe) has been moved to a low-rated Friday night time slot and the last one (Chuck) has been on the cancellation watch list for a couple of years.  If you’ve ever wondered why ABC keeps churning out shrill high-budget prime time soap operas from Shonda Rhimes, there’s your answer.

Simply put, the TV networks are badly in need of a sausage fest and can’t seem to create any.

(3) More People Are Using DVRs – Nielsen recently reported that DVRs are in 38% of all U.S. households as of September 2010, exhibiting extremely rapid growth as that number stood at less than 5% in 2006.  Those users of DVRs are also younger and more affluent than the average television viewer.  While Nielsen argues that DVR users still watch commercials in decent numbers, the reality of it is that the attraction of the DVR is to be able to skip those ads (cutting down an hour-long show with commercials into around a 40-minute show without them).  As DVR penetration continues to grow (and frankly, I thought that current 38% number seemed fairly low), more and more people are going to be avoiding commercials like the plague.

These changes in who watches TV and how they watch it has had some fairly interesting implications in pop culture.  For instance, a couple of weeks ago, the American Idol audience shockingly voted off (or more accurately, did not vote enough for) widely-perceived front-runner Pia Toscano, meaning that she placed ninth and had a shorter run on Fox than The Heights.  It was enough to make J-Lo start crying uncontrollably while Steven Tyler rose from his crypt and started bashing America’s passion.  Now, seeing that Pia was clearly the top pure singer while also being the best-looking of the competitors, that typically indicates a Charlie Sheen bi-winning combination.  However, when looking at the demographics for American Idol, it reflects general TV viewing trends: its audience is getting older and skewing much more to the female side.  My impression is that these older women prefer the John Mayer soulful acoustic guitar-types as opposed to the hot young divas, which is the main reason why (1) soulful acoustic guitar-types have won American Idol for the past two seasons, (2)  5 out of the last 6 American Idol winners were male and (3) only 2 American Idol contestants left on this year’s show out of 8 are female (rose jacket Rod Stewart copy Paul McDonald became the first male eliminated since the initial public vote cutdown to the top 13).

What American Idol has going for it, though, is that people still generally watch it live.  In the latest week where figures are available, only 9% of American Idol Wednesday viewers watched it on DVR compared to 29% of the viewers of Modern Family and 28% of the viewers of Grey’s Anatomy.  Add in that it still draws a fairly good percentage of the younger demographics compared to most shows on television and it is a complete ratings cash cow for Fox.  Last year, American Idol was able to charge over three times as much per 30-second ad spot compared to Dancing with the Stars, the latter of which actually draws a higher number of total viewers but a lower number in the Age 18-49 demo.

So, when looking at how the TV audience has shifted, it has become clear what type of program obtains a premium greater than any other: the program that draws the age 18-34 male that watches it live.

Let’s take me as an example of the target demo.  I’m a professional 33-year old male that’s about a loyal to TV shows as Antonio Cromartie, can count on one hand the number of scripted TV shows that I watch regularly, and will purposely watch all of such shows on my DVR in order to avoid a single moment of watching any commercials.  I don’t know about you, but I put my DVR right next to food and water on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  The catch, though, is that I watch a lot of sports.  Even better, I actually watch them live with commercials.  There is no better vehicle to draw me, a member of the most valuable demographic of all (the male under 35), than sports… and there are tons of people like me in that respect.

Dennis Dodds, who has his own excellent write-up on theories on why sports TV rights are rising, stated the following:

Sports have become one of the safest and highest-grossing buys for media companies. There are no coked-up, petulant stars to deal with. Well, at least not a lot of them. The only “winning” is done on the field. Sports are somewhat cheap to produce.  Sports are true reality television, almost immune to being DVRed. Advertisers love that. There is a built-in following whose interest doesn’t wane with time. Even the strongest TV series are canceled. Try taking Alabama-Auburn off the air.

The success rate of new scripted TV shows has become abysmal – ABC may end up not renewing any of its new shows from this season.  In contrast, sports programs are considered to have “high floors” – ratings may not necessarily go through the roof for every single game, but there’s always a good base of viewers , that base includes a lot of members of the most valuable demo, and those viewers watch it live.  The Nielsen DVR report linked above stated that sports and news programs are watched on DVRs the least of any TV categories.

Sports programming also skews toward the younger demographic than the average show on TV.  During the week that ended April 10th, the only shows in the top 10 of the overall ratings that had more than 30% of their audiences under the age of 50 were the two editions of American Idol (approximately 40%) and the NCAA Tournament National Championship Game (47%).  This is consistent with the demographics for other major postseason sporting events, where the World Series, NBA Finals, BCS bowls and NFL postseason last year all had more than 40% of their respective audiences in the Age 18-49 demo.  (Note that if you were able to buy stock in a league, you ought to bet on the NBA.  It’s the only major sports property that draws over 50% of its audience from the 18-49 demo as well as being the most popular in the growing minority populations just using last year’s figures.  With the NBA now having legit contending teams in New York, Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles along with the Miami superteam, the viewership numbers have been record-setting this season across all of its platforms of ABC, ESPN and TNT.)

Does this necessarily mean that all sports rights fees will necessarily rise at such dramatic rates?  The Pac-12 is looking for even a better deal than the Big 12 (you can count me in as someone that’s more skeptical that they’ll hit those numbers) and the Big East is looking at a possible tripling of its current rights fees.  One ongoing negotiation that may be a better indicator of where rights fees might go for those two conferences is for the NHL, which is a league whose current deal was signed when it was at rock bottom in terms of popularity, has had a resurgence in a couple of key markets (Chicago and Boston), but still largely has a regional as opposed to a national fan base.  The NHL is looking for a substantial increase of around 2.5 times the current deal with Comcast/NBC most likely being retained as the broadcasting partner.

A rising tide lifts all ships in an outright manner, but where the conferences sit relatively each other will likely remain the same: the SEC and Big Ten at the top, the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 in the next tier, the Big East at the next level, and then everyone else.  Similarly at the pro level, the NFL stands alone at the top, NBA and Major League Baseball are in the next tier, and the NHL will be behind them.  Still, the circumstances are good for all sports entities.  While the rise of Internet streaming and mobile devices are going to complicate matters for sports leagues to continue cashing in on cable dollars over the next decade, they’re all getting the benefit of a revenue boom today.

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

(Image from Huffington Post)

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Comments
  1. greg says:

    Go Hawks.

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  2. Sports are the one TV program that you really run the risk of the ending being given away if you don’t watch it live. It’s rare someone will text you “Can you believe such-and-such happened on Gray’s Anatomy?” But even though I have almost zero friends who are NHL fans, I will still get shit-talking texts whenever someone sees an update on how my beloved Buffalo Sabres are doing.

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  3. Adam says:

    As a 25-year old male, DVR is probably below water but above food on my Maslow hierarchy. I think this statement is the most important to your argument. DVR penetration will continue to skyrocket as our generation starts paying more cable bills…just bought a year of it for my parents in Florida for Christmas. They’re hooked.

    I watch a 2-hour American Idol episode in about 30 minutes because I just want to a.) know if they’re singing a cool song and b.) see how my work bracket ends up because I’ve got a $200 pot depending on it.

    College football (all sports my friends and I follow, for that matter) has to be live because otherwise I’m getting texts and belugas about “GOOOOOAL” and “INTERCEPTION!” before it happens on the DVR.

    Excellent breakdown, Frank.

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  4. M says:

    “While the rise of Internet streaming and mobile devices are going to complicate matters for sports leagues”

    I realized at some point that the only television I watch are either shows and movies that I can get on Netflix/Hulu (often streaming onto my tv) or football/college basketball. I cancelled my cable after March Madness ended and haven’t regretted it at all. I’ll probably get it turned back on sometime in August. If I could get sports online, I would never have cable again.

    Now I don’t know whether I am the start of trend or just a cheap grad student, but this idea has to terrify cable executives. They may be overpaying in order to keep this future from happening, or at least stall it.

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    • @M – You’re not alone – I know a few people that have done the exact same thing that you have. As the quality of streaming to your TV has become just as good as cable, those within the cable TV industry are absolutely terrified. Now, one mitigating factor is that those same cable providers are generally the largest Internet service providers. Still, sports are premium content where Internet providers can’t give it away for free if they have any brains – they either need to put up a paywall (see MLB TV) or essentially replicate the fee per subcriber model on the Internet (which is what ESPN has done with ESPN3.com). The dying newspaper industry as a result of too many free articles on the Internet is certainly on the forefront of all of the minds of TV executives.

      Now, there’s an interesting psychological dynamic in play when we look at mobile devices and tablets. People have generally been conditioned that the Internet is supposed to be “free”. However, those same people generally have less objections to paying for content via apps on their smart phones and tablets. I think that same attitude could apply to streaming content on TV – paying a monthly fee to stream Netflix on your HDTV seems like a good value in terms of perception, whereas people make a huge stink for now having to pay for the New York Times on the Internet (which was previously free).

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      • M says:

        The fundamental difference between news and sports is that news is essentially a commodity (unlike some of the previous “everything should be free” fights over music and software). National and international events coverage from the LA Times is nearly indistinguishable from the Chicago Tribune which is nearly indistinguishable from the NYT. Investigative journalism wins awards, but if some some big public figure is caught auctioning a Senate seat, I’m going to be able to read about it whether the original source is behind a paywall or not.

        The only genuinely compelling reason to pay for a source like the NYT is for (ideally) thoughtful analysis and opinion. Unfortunately, too many thoughtful writers exist who will provide this service for free (e.g. this blog) or for whatever revenue comes from ads. There is a value to a source that provides a single entry location to a collection of such articles, but I don’t think the NYT’s current price point (five times the unlimited Netflix streaming cost) is close to that value.

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        • Richard says:

          The NYTimes runs a lot of great features (for instance, I’m currently hooked on their “Disunion” blog series where they analyze events and decisions and provide background daily as they occured during the Civil War 150 years ago) and have absolutely stellar maps. If they were smart, the NYT would institute a cafeteria plan and charge for each section ($2/month for their science section, which is as good as any general science magazine, $5/month for politics and economics, $2/month for arts & entertainment, etc.)

          BTW, what you described is why the Financial Times is one of the few papers that’s managed to make money from their online arm. Their actual news reporting is horrid (lazy copy’n’ paste efforts where they often get only one point of view and also mess up basic facts), but they have a stellar lineup of columnists who are influential enough to be referred to often by folks on the web and who’s columns you’d only be able to read on the FT.com (or in print).

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          • bullet says:

            I’ve noticed that overwhelmingly lately stories are based on one source. You will see 150 stories starting with, “The Orlando Sentinel reported” or The San Jose Mercury News reported”…. I’ve become very skeptical over the last year of anything coming from one source.

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      • Morgan Wick says:

        As Internet streaming of sports and “live-as-it-happens” news events gets better and more popular, I predict we’ll start seeing people deserting regular TV in droves. I actually think there’s a chance that the FCC will take control of the entire remaining TV spectrum by 2025, with a good chunk of it being devoted to streaming of live events.

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        • bullet says:

          The current administration is trying to take a bunch for wireless devices. The local TV stations are fighting. There are only 37 TV stations in the low band vhf (Ch 2-6) which does very poorly in HDTV, but it also doesn’t do that well for wireless, so they are trying to take prime spectrum in the UHF band(Ch 14-51, they already took 52-69).

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    • Playoffs Now says:

      Yep, I decided to try going without cable in the football offseason. So far not missed. Felt great cutting them off after their awful customer service.

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      • Gopher86 says:

        I haven’t had cable for a few years now. You end up going to a few bars, friends places or streaming justin.tv / ESPN3 online for some games, but I’ve been very happy without it.

        Order up Netflix streaming, get yourself some rabbit ears (all the major networks broadcast in HD) and internet. You won’t miss paying $30-60/mo. for cable.

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      • Morgan Wick says:

        Which makes it a GREAT time for the BCS to go all to cable and for the NCAA to sign a deal that will make the Final Four follow suit in a few years! Grr…

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    • bullet says:

      I would have dropped it after football season (maybe bb season now that cable has the NCAA tourney), but my family watches primarily cable.

      Cable is pricing itself out of the essential utility market and making alternatives more viable. There is satellite, but unfortunately I can’t get it where I am.

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      • Jake says:

        @bullet – Wait, you can get cable, but you can’t get satellite?

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        • bullet says:

          Its called trees blocking the view of the southern sky (and sometimes any sky). Gets a little clautrophobic sometimes here in Atlanta after the “Big Sky” in Texas.

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          • Jake says:

            Gotcha. I used to be in a somewhat similar situation, but with a building instead of trees. And I was stuck with Charter, which is probably the worst cable provider going. Couldn’t get ABC in HD, no matter how hard I tried.

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      • Morgan Wick says:

        There’s a part of me that’s rooting for Verizon’s and AT&T’s efforts to break into the TV market to succeed and create a little more competition, but they’re struggling at the moment.

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    • PSUGuy says:

      Going on 2 years now without cable tv (well I have the basic which does include ESPN/ESPN2) and not missing it much.

      Only problems arise when a show I actually care about (Mad Men) is nowhere to be found, but if I REALLY care I can iTunes or Amazon it.

      That being said, I actually find sports to be pretty easy to find on the web. In fact, just last weekend I streamed the Flyers game to my buddies 55in tv…picture wasn’t bad and considering neither cable nor DTV covered the game it was literally better than nothing.

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  5. Michael in Indy says:

    Compared to regular TV shows, sure, baseball is doing a good job of drawing in the younger demographics. It’s not doing a good job compared to other sports, though.

    The 2009 World Series featured the star-laden defending champion Phillies against the big bad New York Yankees… and not one game drew better ratings overall, among young viewers, or among African Americans than the championship game of a college basketball. Game 3 did worse than the Sugar Bowl, which was a rout by Florida over Cincinnati.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if baseball has anything other than the World Series on over-the-air networks in a few years. It’s just not a sport people watch on TV anymore. I remember hearing on the radio last year that even the A/NLCS were getting ratings less than ABC college football games.

    Like

    • SideshowBob says:

      “t’s just not a sport people watch on TV anymore.”

      Again with this. And again I’ll point out that national MLB ratings might not be great (especially in key demos) but local MLB ratings remain consistently strong — better than local NBA ratings in general. This may certainly hurt MLB in terms of their league/national TV contracts (hurt being a relative term, as they’ll continue to make good money on sch deals) but teams will be perfectly fine with high paying local TV deals especially as baseball games provide the backbone for many RSNs.

      Tons of people watch MLB on TV. They just tend to watch their local team as opposed to national games.

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      • ccrider55 says:

        Agreed. Not sure why, but I watch nearly every Mariner game, many times only as background “noise”. But there is always a chance until 27 outs…….

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      • PSUGuy says:

        And I’d say that is as misleading as the national comments before it.

        Facts are MLB is a conglomerate of a few good teams in high population areas making boatloads of cash and paying off bad teams in lesser media markets who make decent money because the “popular teams are coming to town”.

        This cannot be a sustainable model for long term growth and I expect MLB to be a “whatever” sport for quite some time.

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        • SideshowBob says:

          “This cannot be a sustainable model for long term growth and I expect MLB to be a “whatever” sport for quite some time.”

          I’m not even sure what that means.

          MLB certainly has a greater divide between “haves” and “have nots” of any American league. That’s pretty well established (though it’s really more a “Yankees” versus “non-Yankees” thing, but I won’t belabor the point). But even the poor teams in MLB are making a profit and having franchise values increase. Unlike the NBA and NHL which have had franchises on verge the bankruptcy.

          Furthermore, the league still collectively makes the second most revenue of any league in the work. IIRC it was collectedly something like $6.6 billion in 2011 and the gap between the NFL and MLB was smaller than that between MLB and the NBA. Baseball is doing fine and making tons of money and seeing attendance number at close to record highs despite ever increasing ticket prices. The idea that the sport is dying or in decline is just poppycock.

          I’m not disagreeing that the NBA is growing relative to MLB and has certain advantages, especially when it comes to national TV deals. But it’s a far cry to suggest that because the NBA performs better in certain TV demos and can potentially parlay that into good national TV deal that MLB is dying or irrelevant or whatever. MLB continues to remain the second most popular sport int he country and is by far and away the most attended sports league in the world. It’s not going away.

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          • PSUGuy says:

            Name me one sport it competes with in a head to head match-up.

            IMO, MLB’s ability to survive and even thrive despite an absolutely horrendous business model is based more on the fact there is literally no other major league sports on during the majority of its season.

            You even posted how its post season numbers aren’t that great…and isn’t that when it has to go “compete” against the NFL/NHL/BBall for people’s viewership?

            Again, they may make money, but don’t try and tell me the sport is in an amazing position.

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          • SideshowBob says:

            @PSUGuy…

            “Name me one sport it competes with in a head to head match-up.”

            I’m not sure what you mean by this, but for the majority of MLB’s season they are going up against either March Madness then the NBA/NHL playoffs and then the later half of the season and playoffs is against the NFL and college football and the start of the NBA/NHL seasons. The only months when MLB has no competition is during the end of June and July/August — months that are notoriously horrible for TV ratings (of any sort). I’m not sure that does MLB any favors.

            You could just as easily spin things to point out that the MLB playoffs have to go against the NFL and college football plus new airings of primetime TV shows which the NBA has reruns and no competition from America’s #1 watched sports league for their playoffs. In light of that, maybe MLB’s playoff ratings — typically higher than the NBA mind you — reflect the popularity of that sport even more.

            Anyway, my continued point is that using national TV ratings as a proxy for popularity of a sport is a disservice for MLB. People largely watch the local teams on local broadcasts — and do so in large numbers. The sport constantly polls as the clear second favorite among professional sports in the US. Attendance is far and away higher for MLB than any other sport. Revenues are higher than any other league save the NFL. IF all those things don’t mean a sport is popular and healthy than what does?

            Also, as a complete aside to those who want to argue that MLB lacks parity or has an unsustainable model, there have been 9 different World Series winners in the past 10 years. And 14 different teams have appeared in the World Series in the past decade. How do those numbers compare to the NBA or NFL or any other league with “parity” that MLB supposedly lacks?

            Like

          • Morgan Wick says:

            It sounds like the national ratings for MLB suck partially because national broadcasts (at least during the regular season) amount to local broadcasts for the Sawx and the Yankees. If MLB got serious about revenue sharing and instituted a salary cap we might see national ratings increase, at the expense of local ratings.

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        • Jake says:

          @PSUGuy – you could say the same thing about most college conferences. A couple of big draws and a bunch of also-rans waiting for them to come to town. MLB is the second most popular sport in America, IIRC, so I think they’re going to be okay.

          Like

          • PSUGuy says:

            And most conferences don’t make all that much money…

            Like

          • Jake says:

            I was actually thinking of the Big Ten, the top earning conference, which had two (then three, now four) big draws, and a bunch of teams that either did okay or desperately needed the big boys on their schedule to sell season tickets.

            Like

        • mb21 says:

          A whatever sport that generates nearly as much revenue as the gambling fueled NFL? Ratings for baseball like people always quote are meaningless. I don’t know why people haven’t figured this out yet. Ten years ago it was laughable to think MLB would ever even come close to matching the revenue of the NFL. Guess what. They are very close and some say they’ll pass them in the near future. They went from a difference of 6 billion to 1 billion to 7 billion to 6 billion in less than a decade.

          The so-called problems with MLB that people talk about always make me laugh.

          The good team support the bad teams? is that why the 2009 books showed the Pirates with a profit of $29 million while the Yankees made even less than that?

          For once I just wish people would either research the future of baseball or shut up about it. I’m sick of people passing along misinformation as if they know what they’re talking about.

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          • @mb21 – I agree that MLB is in good shape overall. However, the Pirates are making a profit by pocketing their revenue sharing and luxury tax distributions and not spending it on payroll, which bothers me way more than the spending by the Yankees and Red Sox. There ought to be minimum payroll requirement to be able to collect any luxury tax dollars.

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          • Gopher86 says:

            @Frank – Then we’ll see the Pirates’ staff’s relatives getting $20mm / yr contracts. You can lay incentives for that ownership, but they’ll find the easy moral hazard to exploit it. It’s just their culture.

            Like

          • mb21 says:

            @Frank – I agree with you. I actually don’t care how much a team spends to be honest. I was just making a point that even the Pirates after two decades of losing are still making a profit. MLB is just fine.

            The thing that some people ignore about baseball is its global appeal. Just yesterday MLB reached a deal to televise games in Vietnam and China. Baseball is a global sport. You’ve got kids in Japan, South Korea, Australia, China, all over Europe, and especially in Latin America who are huge MLB fans. Interest in American football extends almost nowhere beyond the United States and parts of Canada. The rest of the world cares about soccer and considers the version played in the US a bastardized version at best. There is very limited global appeal to American football.

            That’s just not true in baseball and soccer. There’s a reason soccer is the most popular sport in the world and there’s a reason baseball soon will be. MLB failed to take advantage of the global market for decades, but the last decade they have expanded the appeal of Major League Baseball beyond what anyone thought possible. On top of that, MLB.TV was revolutionary and the amount of money that each MLB team makes Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) is $30 million or more each and every season. MLBAM is in charge of mlb.tv, gameday, pitch f/x, hit f/x, field f/x and much more. MLB has led the way with these innovations while the NFL has relied on gambling to make more money.

            The MLB has beat the NFL in licensing revenue each of the last four years. More importantly than anything else is that 38% of the revenue the NFL generated in 2009 was from tv contracts. If they didn’t have better ratings than MLB it would be an absurd failure on their part.

            Also important is how much the NFL needs the gamblers. In 2006 42% of fans say they bet on the NFL at least once a month. Only 14% of MLB fans did. The incentive to watch NFL is in part driven by people’s needs to throw money away through gambling. Few people are silly enough to do the same thing on baseball, which actually tells us a lot about the fan bases too.

            42% of the fans bet once a month. How many of those fans would even bother to watch if it wasn’t for the investment they made? Half? It’s a dirty secret, but the NFL needs gambling addicts like AA needs alcoholics. The only difference between the two is that the NFL needs to make money while AA is there to help people.

            Anyway, the idea that national ratings reflects on the popularity of sports is absurd as has been mentioned. MLB’s revenue stream is more solid, it comes from a more reliable base, and its appeal is global. MLB will never be the number 1 sport in this country, but it soon will be more popular than NFL just as soccer is. The more investments that MLB makes in others parts of the world the more global interest in baseball. MLB teams are investing all over the world every single day. There are American scouts in dozens of countries across the world.

            it seems odd to me that in the middle of what is likely to be a lost season in the NFL that people could say that MLB is somehow not on solid ground. If there is no NFL season, MLB generates more revenue than the NFL each year from this point forward. The unfortunate thing is that those gamblers will start betting on baseball. The revenue is nice, but I’d like to keep those fans away from the game because they don’t provide much intellectual value.

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          • Brian says:

            Baseball sucks. Deal with it, MLB fans.

            Maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll stop broadcasting in the US and just punish the rest of the world with it.

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          • Mike says:

            @Brian – Things you like suck. Deal with it.

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          • Adam says:

            What I don’t understand is that I argue that there is a moral component to how the Big Ten aligns its teams, that the league has an obligation to do right by its history and traditions irrespective of financial considerations, and I get ripped to shreds. Brian makes these ridiculously provocative and counterintuitive statements which seem almost designed to offend people (baseball sucks! playoffs are overrated!), and the response is, at its harshest, tepid.

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          • Mike says:

            @Adam – I think it comes down to effort vs trolling. You made an effort and your ideas were discussed.

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          • greg says:

            Agree with Mike that the tepid response is people wisely dismissing troll-like posts.

            Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            The biggest sports that are popular around the world right now are more popular because of history than because of their intrinsic qualities. Organized team sports basically started to take off in the early 20th century, and whichever sport hit your country first, is likely still dominant.

            When people say soccer is the biggest sport in the world, what they really mean is in Europe and most of Africa and Latin America. Population wise, that’s a lot of people, but not as big a portion of the world’s population as you might think

            In the US, Canada, New Zealand Australia, the ‘global’ sports of baseball, cricket, and soccer are present, but there are other, home-grown sports that are more popular (and yes, baseball is a US developed sport).

            In much of the Caribbean and parts of East Asia, Baseball, spread by Cuban workers and the US army, is dominant.

            What people forget is that Asia has well over half the population of the globe, and neither baseball nor soccer is huge in much of it.

            Any discussion of global sports must include cricket. It’s the focus of all of South Asia (according to wikipedia, 16.5% of the world’s population). It’s also popular in several other former British colonies.

            The chief sport in each these countries is mostly about history, and not about one being ‘better’.

            Many sports are now trying to ramp up there popularity in different countries, especially in China and some of it’s neighbors, which have recently opened up. Basketball certainly has an early lead in these countries.

            In any event, it is foolish to use the lack of international popularity as an argument against American football. First of all, it doesn’t have the history that other sports do; it continuously developed throughout the 20th century, after other sports had already been spread in other countries. Additionally, sports funding, and sometimes media coverage, is often determined by governments, not by individuals. American football is a sport where large international competition is just not possible at the elite level. The NFL will take the best athletes from around the world, and the athletes’ bodies can’t handle a second ‘world cup’ style competition; never mind the mental requirements of having to study a playbook for a second team + getting used to another set of teammates.

            This is a huge disadvantage. States (democratic and undemocratic) generally put money into Olympic sports for prestige purposes, and they want medals/trophies for the home country that aren’t possible in American football. This places American football at a huge disadvantage.

            As an aside, with the loss of Olympic status, baseball needs to hope the World Baseball Classic and other international competitions, keep foreign nations interested in funding the sport where it is not already popular.

            Football has steadily grown to the dominant sport in this country, and continues to convert 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants. It will continue to flourish here, but will likely only grow slowly elsewhere.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            To add to the global sports discussion, soccer is definitely the most popular sport in the world. Europe, Africa, and most of Latin America (other than a handful countries along the Caribbean), certainly, but also the Middle East and most of the rest of Asia outside of South Asia (in East Asia, it vies with baseball in SKorea and Japan & with basketball in China). There are really only a handful of (mostly ex-British) dominions where soccer isn’t either the dominant sport or one of the top sports in the country.
            After that, you could make a case for cricket, baseball, or basketball. By population, cricket is the clear second-most popular sport in the world due mostly to the Subcontinent, though it’s embraced in Australia, SAfrica, the West Indies and other places. Baseball is most popular or among the top in only a handful of countries, but among them are the 2 largest economies of the world (US & Japan). Other than those 2 places, it popular only in SKorea, Taiwan, Venezuela, and some Caribbean countries. Basketball is not the clear national sport anywhere (other than the Philippines(!) & maybe Lithuania) but shares with soccer the title in populous China and is the second/third-most popular sport in a lot of (mostly developed) countries.

            After that, it’s probably hockey or rugby. Hockey is the national sport really only in Canada (and maybe Finland, though they play soccer there as well; it shares with soccer in Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Russia). Rugby is the top sport only in tiny New Zealand & Wales, though it’s popular in other parts of the world (south of France, white SAfrica, & part of Australia–there’s actually a line by which you can divide Australia in to mostly rugby-following or mostly Aussie Rules-following).

            Finally, there are various codes of football that are followed generally only in its country of origin and virtually no where else: the aforementioned Aussie Rules, Canadian football, Gaelic football, and of course, American football.

            BTW, this is only team sports; auto racing, especially F1, is the second most popular sport in a lot of places around the world. Different individual combat sports are also popular around the world (Muay Thai in Thailand, etc.)

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Adam,

            That comment wasn’t designed to further the conversation so much as to distill one side of it. It didn’t really ask for a response (but I wholeheartedly believe every word of it, so it isn’t really trolling).

            Baseball fans are convinced it is popular, and will ignore any numbers that hurt their position while bringing up others that support it. That’s how most fans are about things they like, but it amuses me to watch them keep switching the discussion around until it supports them.

            “No, ignore those numbers. That measure of popularity doesn’t count (because it hurts my argument). Look at these numbers instead.”

            What I said is what baseball fans hear whenever any argument they don’t like is brought up. The fact that it is true bothers them. It’s OK baseball fans. You can like things that suck. That’s how bad movies become cult classics. If you want to watch the grass grow while grown men scratch themselves and spit, so be it. Don’t expect others to share your passion.

            As for your posts, they are not really similar to this one of mine. You are inviting discussion of a viewpoint that you hold. With that comes the risk that others either don’t agree with you or don’t understand you. The popularity of baseball is a somewhat factual argument (other than the lack of an agreed upon definition of what constitutes popular), but the moral implications of B10 division alignment really isn’t. Beyond that, I’ll leave other differences for others to note.

            And, playoffs are overrated. I’m not saying that to rabble rouse or offend, but because it’s true. They are held up as a panacea for all that is “wrong” in CFB, and it simply isn’t true. The NCAA tournament showed that yet again. UConn and Butler were clearly not the two best teams, but they played for the title. That does a disservice to the sport and further devalues the regular season. The last thing I want to see is CFB reduced to having the same sort of gimmicky finish that doesn’t reward the best teams. I understand non-AQs wanting a playoff as it may be their only chance for a title, but that doesn’t mean I think it is good for the sport. The money would be good for the sport in some ways, but not the playoff. I could find a plus 1 acceptable (depends on how it is set up), but not any 3+ round tournament.

            Reasonable people can disagree about these things, in particular because not everyone values certain things the same way. It’s not like we haven’t had long discussions about playoffs and their merits, or about baseball. Sometimes a short response is appropriate when advocates for a position start assuming their beliefs are facts rather than opinions.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            m (Ag) and Richard,

            An important aspect when discussing the popularity of sports in less developed countries is the competition. Many of these sports were introduced with virtually no competitor for print/radio/TV coverage so they became popular by default. After being a monopoly for a long time, it is hard for a population to shift gears. As the country develops with all the new media focused on that sport, it is really hard for others to compete.

            Look how long it took for football to grow in the US. Basketball is huge in China because of Yao Ming and the NBA and Chinese government working to promote the crap out of it. Would that naturally have been a major sport there without the outside influence, or would badminton be king (it is huge there along with table tennis)?

            My point is I’m not sure we really know what fans in less developed countries really like so much as what has been thrust upon them. If F1 is the only racing you’ve ever seen, it’s likely to be your favorite form. After seeing a bunch of different forms, maybe it is no longer your favorite.

            Like

          • mb21 says:

            Brian is right about all of the things he’s not wrong about, which is unfortunately most things.

            There is more than one way to evaluate popularity. I know that’s difficult to believe in the black/white world you live in, but the rest of the world knows this to be true.

            If baseball isn’t popular please explain to me how it generates nearly as much revenue as the NFL, how licensing revenue outsells the NFL, how local ratings are higher, and how it’s global appeal far surpasses anything the NFL could ever do?

            No baseball fan is changing the argument. We’re pointing out the argument as stated is flawed because, well, it is. That’s a fact. Ignore it if you want, but it doesn’t make you right. It just makes you ignorant.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            mb21,

            I think you screwed up your intended insult. As written, you complimented me (which I’m just guessing wasn’t your intent).

            Of course there are multiple ways to define and measure popularity. How convenient it is for MLB fans that all measures that look bad for baseball are apparently invalid and should be ignored while focusing on things that make baseball look better.

            How does MLB generate so much revenue? Try a 4000 game, 87 month long regular season.

            How does MLB sell so much merchandise? Try the Red Sox and NYY. How much are the Mariners and Marlins making on this? People buying popular gear doesn’t mean they actually like the sport, though. I’ve seen lots of people wearing NYY gear that aren’t baseball fans.

            Local ratings are high? Maybe they are, but that’s partly because the national ratings are so low. That doesn’t show that people like the sport, it shows they’ll watch the local team. And many people I know don’t actually watch the game so much as use it as background noise and occasionally check the score. Local NFL ratings would be higher if they didn’t have the blackout rule and larger stadiums.

            Global appeal has been discussed elsewhere, especially how it can be a false indicator based on lack of competition. Nobody disagrees that baseball is popular in the Caribbean, Latin America and a few other places. That’s not tremendously relevant in a discussion where the US focus was implicit in most posts, but it is certainly true.

            “the idea that national ratings reflects on the popularity of sports is absurd”

            Saying national ratings and demographics don’t matter because you don’t like what they say is changing the argument. Pulling out the straw man of gambling to knock NFL popularity while ignoring its influence on MLB (has anybody ever thrown the Super Bowl?), as well as other influences on MLB “popularity” is changing the argument. Discussing why a sport is popular is a a different conversation.

            “For once I just wish people would either research the future of baseball”

            If you know a way to research the future, you should be a multi-trillionaire by now. You can make predictions, but that isn’t research. Besides, you discredited things like demographics which would seem like an important avenue for “researching” the future. So we should research the future, but only using data you like. I’m sure that will provide meaningful insight.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Brian:

            You feel complimented when someone says you’re wrong about most things?

            Anyway, “baseball sucks” isn’t a factual argument outside of your own head.

            Finally, um, no, basketball was already one of the 2 most popular team sports in China (other than soccer) before Yao Ming came to the NBA. What did you think Yao Ming’s parents did?

            Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            “An important aspect when discussing the popularity of sports in less developed countries is the competition. Many of these sports were introduced with virtually no competitor for print/radio/TV coverage so they became popular by default. ”

            Yes, that’s what I meant when I said the popularity of sports like baseball, soccer, and cricket is because of history, not because they are intrinsically ‘good’.

            And basketball has history in China because it has been an Olympic sport for a long time. That gives it a big edge over baseball, and an immense edge over American football.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            You misread mb21’s first paragraph. Read it again. I’m right about everything I’m not wrong about (obviously), but the things I’m not wrong about are most things.

            Also, I didn’t say baseball sucking or not was a factual discussion, I said the popularity of baseball was. In the sense that there are numbers that can be used to evaluate the sport’s popularity (ratings, demographics, polls, attendance, etc) it has a factual component. The definition of what qualifies as popularity is not a factual discussion, unfortunately, but reasonable people might agree on a compromise as to what standards apply.

            As for basketball in China, I didn’t say it was unpopular before. I said it became huge (esp. NBA) with Yao and there are hundreds of NBA writers that have said the same thing. It may have been a popular team sport before, but he changed things. The nation’s love for badminton and table tennis is long standing. My understanding from media types is that those two sports have huge followings, but I don’t know of a good source for accurate numbers of Chinese sports allegiances.

            Like

          • Morgan Wick says:

            “My point is I’m not sure we really know what fans in less developed countries really like so much as what has been thrust upon them. If F1 is the only racing you’ve ever seen, it’s likely to be your favorite form. After seeing a bunch of different forms, maybe it is no longer your favorite.”

            I’d say this could also be the case in the United States, where the popularity of sports is largely the legacy of history and past media coverage. (See: the endless controversies over ESPN allegedly disrespeckin’ some sport or another.)

            Worth noting: Local NFL ratings are nonexistent because of the monopoly the national broadcasters have over all games. I’d like to see non-NFL team sports be given a “market-weighted combined local rating”, or an attempt to calculate the total local rating of all of baseball.

            However, it is not a good sign when even when the Yankees are involved, baseball’s national ratings do not approach even Monday Night Football until the World Series. (And YES isn’t leaching ratings away from TBS or Fox either.) Note that this past season, the NFL ended its long-standing practice of not butting up against the World Series, and an NFL regular season game beat a World Series game (that admittedly didn’t involve the Sawx or Yankees) in the ratings.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Aren’t all the regular NFL Sunday afternoon games really local broadcasts through the monopoly contract? Sunday night, Monday and Thursday are national, but the other games are local/regional.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            NBA writers are likely like most other insular Americans who have no clue how popular a sport (or anything else is) outside of this country’s borders before they first stumbled upon a certain country.

            Like

      • Michael in Indy says:

        @SideshowBob,

        I was thinking more of the national TV contracts, not local.

        Like

        • SideshowBob says:

          But the two are intertwinned. People don’t watch national MLB games because they tend to watch their local team… who are on TV every single night. And by the time the playoffs roll around, many baseball fans have been satiated enough by the 162 games of their local team that they don’t necessarily watch the playoffs unless the team they root for is involved.

          That’s not really a good or bad thing, it’s just how the sport is. At this point in time, MLB isn’t a great sport on a national level for TV (comparatively, it’s still perfectly fine in an absolute level and it’s more a demo issue than gross numbers as per the theme of this blog article). But the idea that people don’t watch MLB teams on TV is silly considering the constantly strong local TV ratings that MLB teams get.

          It’s not really a hard concept. MLB is a local sport far and away. The NBA has been much better at marketing their stars and making into a nationally appealing sport, but this tends to have a negative effect on local team — look at how Cleveland has suffered loosing LeBron, which is what happens when a league is too “star driven” and a local team fails to have such a player.

          Both leagues are going to do just fine in the future.

          Like

      • Where MLB has an advantage is with their local TV deals, which generally speaking are more lucrative than their NBA and NHL counterparts. The reason why the Yankees and Red Sox outpace everyone else in terms of revenue is the same reason why the Big Ten is ahead on the college level: they own their own regional cable networks and can name their price in their home markets.

        Like

    • SideshowBob says:

      Oh and here’s some data on local TV ratings for non-NFL sports: http://www.sportsmediawatch.net/2010/04/local-on-eights-ratings-for-nba-mlb-and.html (dates from the 2009-10 timeframe). MLB teams consistently are the highest ratings in most of the multi-team markets, often being the highest by a considerable amount.

      I’d be curious as to what the demo breakdowns are, but I anecdotal experience is that younger viewers are much more inclined to be fans of a particular MLB team (and ignore the league overall) than older viewers who view MLB as their #1 sport.

      Like

    • Michael in Indy says:

      One of the things I’ve noticed about MLB is that successful franchises require a larger than either football, basketball, or hockey. There’s a logical explanation. A team with stadium of 35,000+ seats needs to have a lot more people to draw on in order to sell out (or come close to selling out) 81 home games. Most of those 81 games are Monday-Thursday evenings, which are more difficult for the average joe to attend. Team success aside, New York, LA, and Chicago should have an easier time with attendance than, say, Cincinnati.

      Meanwhile, NBA and NHL teams have half as many home games as well as smaller venues than baseball, thus those leagues have far fewer tickets to sell. This makes it more possible for a franchise to survive in more modest-sized metros. The NFL has 10% as many home games as baseball, but the venues are less than twice the size and the ticket prices are not overwhelmingly more expensive than baseball. It’s all the more reason that NFL teams can thrive in New York and Dallas as easily as they can in Indy and Green Bay. (The revenue sharing model doesn’t hurt, either.)

      So it’s coincidence that the smallest metropolitan area with a baseball franchise, Milwaukee, is larger than 4 NFL metros (Jacksonville, New Orleans, Buffalo, and Green Bay), 4 NBA metros (Memphis, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Salt Lake City), and 5 NHL metros (Buffalo, Raleigh, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton), or that baseball has two franchises in four of the largest metros (New York, LA, Chicago, Bay Area) while the other leagues have two franchises in fewer metros.
      ————
      Recognizing baseball’s greater dependence on the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, baseball is unable to have a substantial number of franchises in one of the nation’s most highly-populated regions, the southeastern U.S. East of Texas and Missouri, south of the Ohio and Potomac Rivers, and north of Orlando, there is but one baseball franchise, the Atlanta Braves. In that same region, the NFL has five teams (Saints, Titans, Jaguars, Falcons, Panthers), the NBA has the four teams (Hornets, Grizzlies, Hawks, Bobcats), and the NHL has three (Predators, Thrashers, Hurricanes).

      I would be very interested in data that measures how popular MLB is in the southeast compared with the rest of the country. My impression is that MLB is extremely dependent on the Braves to carry a vast region, with nationally-popular teams like the Yankees, Cardinals, Cubs, and Dodgers to fill in the gaps. Seven of the nine largest states that do not have an MLB team are in the the southeast.

      Does the lack of presence in the southeast, outside of Florida and Atlanta, put MLB at a disadvantage? Having grown up in the southeast, I believe it does, but again, would be interested in data that measures its popularity in the region. That’s not to say that baseball isn’t doing well financially, but that it is never good when such a big part of the country has such a small presence from baseball.

      Like

      • Michael in Indy says:

        Error in the first sentence /rolls at self: should read “require a larger metropolitan area”

        Like

      • bullet says:

        Baseball seems to need metro areas around 3.0 million. Milwaukee, KC and Pittsburg are about the only ones significantly below 3 (Cincy is smaller, but has 1.0 million in Dayton just 50 miles up the road putting them over 3). Each of those have been struggling on the field after doing well in the early days of free agency.

        Some of the other leagues are having problems in the smaller markets. Charlotte already lost a team and the Grizzlies and Hornets are struggling. The Thrashers are likely to move out of Atlanta even in a big market. Bud Adams NFL cities have proven to be a mistake (Jacksonville got an expansion team since they helped him threaten Houston 10 years before he moved to Nashville).

        Like

        • bullet says:

          Baseball seems to be a more regional sport as far as attendance. I remember weekend games in Cincinnati with numerous groups from Indianapolis, Columbus, Louisville, Lexington, Huntington and even Nashville.

          Atlanta is connected throughout the SE, especially in AL, SC and much of TN. So you really just have NC among the heavily populated states not connected to a team (although there is some question as to whether anyone in FL follows the Rays or Marlins).

          Like

          • Brian says:

            A lot of this is based on where the high power AM radio stations are/were located. That provided the only access to baseball for many years and built up fan bases over large regions.

            Like

        • Michael in Indy says:

          The NHL teams who’ve struggled have more to do with the lack of a cultural connection to hockey in the South than with market size.

          Charlotte’s loss of the Hornets was not related to market size. It was not because of fan support; the Hornets were at or near the top of NBA attendance for about the first ten years. It was because of the owner, George Shinn.

          Shinn demanded Charlotte build him a new arena just 15 years after the Coliseum had opened, threatening to move the team to New Orleans if the city refused to do it. But, truth be told, Charlotte was completely willing to build a new arena.

          The NBA recognized Charlotte’s willingness to build a modern arena by immediately awarding them the Bobcats franchise. The city just didn’t want to build one for someone who had so much arrogance to make such demands while in the midst of a sexual harrassment suit.

          At least he’s shown some remorse for the way he handled it…

          “he made it clear in recent years that he mishandled the relocation of the Hornets and everything surrounding it – a debate over public funds for arenas, colored by a sex scandal that made Shinn a lead character on daily Court TV.

          “He told the Observer two years ago that the Hornets would probably still be in Charlotte if he had acted differently when his personal life became the center of controversy.”

          http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/12/09/1897392/shinn-finds-there-are-no-moves.html#ixzz1KC5WovnL

          So let’s not blame the Hornets debacle in Charlotte on the “small market” argument. Considering they’ve had the same owner in New Orleans, I’m hesitant to blame market size on the franchise’s struggles there, either.

          Like

        • Michael in Indy says:

          Awarding Jacksonville an NFL franchise was a mistake. The other southern NFL teams have been a success. The Panthers, Titans, Falcons, and Saints have all been to the Super Bowl or had their conference’s best record at least once in the past ten years, and they’re financially sound.
          —-
          There were once rumors in Charlotte that the Marlins might move there if Miami couldn’t get a stadium built. I’d be the first to say that it wouldn’t have worked out well. Charlotte is a growing area, for sure, but there still just aren’t enough people within reasonable driving distance.

          That’s the thing about North Carolina. It has almost as many people as Michigan, but it does not have Michigan’s one huge urban area. Instead, there are two metros with about 1.5 million (Charlotte & RDU), another with 1 millionish (G’bor/Winston-Salem), and a bunch of small metros with around 250K scattered across the state.

          My point is that because the NFL, NBA, and NHL aren’t quite as dependent on the huge cities, they can have a true home market in a state like North Carolina, or for that matter, Tennessee or Louisiana.

          Like

      • m (Ag) says:

        Football’s advantage is the games are once a week, 3+hour events with festivities before and after that can last much longer.

        Because the games are generally on a weekend, people are able and willing to drive for hours to make the 7-8 home games a year a NFL or big College team has. You can’t work and attend all the home games of a baskeball/hockey/baseball team that is 2 hours away from where you live.

        So as long as you can develop a regional fanbase, your football team doesn’t have to be near a big city. It does, however, need to be able to get sponsorships, so having wealthy companies in the greater region helps. A college team will also need supporters to donate and watch them on TV to be really big.

        Like

      • Morgan Wick says:

        From an outsider’s perspective, I understand the Braves dominated the Southeast for a long time because of TBS. It’ll be interesting to see, with TBS no longer doing Braves games, whether there will be a bigger push for a team to move to North Carolina or Tennessee (although there doesn’t seem to be a team in a market smaller than LA outside Florida in that much trouble).

        Of course, the Southeast might as well still be the Confederacy anyway, as Bullet points out – that’s SEC and NASCAR country.

        Like

  6. Playoffs Now says:

    spree

    Like

  7. Playoffs Now says:

    I take no glee in noting this

    Like

  8. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    GEAUX Tigers!

    Add

    Like

  9. bullet says:

    There is one point you didn’t address, Frank. Its been a while since I’ve seen this so I don’t have the link, but isn’t Univision #5 now? And I believe they may be #3 or at least very close to #3 in the 18-34 market.

    Like

  10. Ross says:

    On a semi-related note… do you know if the Big Ten will be able to negotiate new TV deals soon because of the addition of Nebraska? I’ve read that elsewhere, but wasn’t sure if it was true or not. If so, I’d imagine the Big Ten could get a nice little bump in rights fees given the insane money being handed out to the ACC and Big 12 lately.

    Like

    • SideshowBob says:

      Well, we at least heard a report that the Big Ten was able to get rid of ABC’s exclusive window for broadcasts, allowing the BTN to potentially use the 3:30pm window on Saturdays for football games. If true, that at least suggests the Big Ten and Disney have been discussing terms of their deal and potentially changing things.

      Like

    • Nostradamus says:

      We really don’t know. It was assumed and reported by a couple of sources that the Big Ten may have had an expansion clause in its contract. What that means is still up for interpretation. Is it a full re-negotiation (highly unlikely)?, a proportionate share i.e. each school was getting $9 million we will give $9 million more to account for the addition, a set lower amount?

      Like SideshowBob said, per someone who heard BTN President Mark Silverman speak a couple of months ago said he indicated negotiations were underway to get rid of ABC’s exclusive 2:30 window. That at least implies negotiations were underway. I’d doubt any additional compensation is a huge windfall as Nebraska all along will not receive a full share until 2017.

      Like

  11. Jake says:

    Nice write-up, Frank. I’ve figured for awhile that sports programming had to be growing in popularity with advertisers vis-a-vis other, more DVR-able, programs, but it’s nice to see the numbers. Hopefully the Big East can still pull in a nice new contract. TCU’s got to pay for a new/expanded basketball arena somehow.

    Also, there’s no reason I should like Glee, but I do. Yeah, I said it.

    Like

  12. Steve says:

    Dennis Dodds Rips Notre Dame Report.
    http://www.cbssports.com/#!/collegefootball/story/14962824/waiting-for-seriousness-of-situation-to-kick-in-for-notre-dame

    “losses to Michigan get you fired quicker than a student’s death”.

    Like

  13. frug says:

    It’s good to see that someone else here reads TV by the Numbers. One of my favorite sites on the internet despite the fact that, paradoxically, I don’t really watch much TV outside of news and sports (basically South Park, House and the occasional The Daily Show or Seinfeld rerun before going to sleep).

    Like

  14. ccrider55 says:

    FTT:

    “Historically, this emphasis on younger viewers has been justified with notions that older people are less likely to switch brands or purchase high-end products. However, that really isn’t true anymore, as people over 50 generally have higher incomes and have shown to have more discretionary spending than their younger counterparts.”

    Is it that advertisers have not yet come to this conclusion? Or is this a recent shift that has yet to make enough impact to alter TV advertisers target group? Or they banking (literally) on the 18-34 willingness to use credit for almost any purchase now, and worry about servicing the debt later. This presents a skewed comparison as to the amount of discretionary income they represent (not that TV cares where their $$’s come from).

    Like

    • @ccrider – The major broadcast networks have been pushing this argument for a few years to ni avail. Advertisers know that older viewers have more income better than anyone. However, they also know that they can reach those same older viewers for less money at other times of the day. Therefore, they’re not going to pay much for the over 50 demo during prime time.

      The younger demographic is still important for a number of high margin products such as financial services, credit cards and mobile phones. Soft drinks, beer and fast food are also large advertisers that are in a constant chase for the younger demo.

      Like

    • frug says:

      One other issue of course is the fact inertia is the natural state of things. Networks and advertisers are still using the same payment model they used when life expectancies were 10 years shorter, dual income families were almost unheard of and individuals’ options for visual media entertainment meant 3 TV channels and movies. Sure advertisers and networks will occasionally take into account “mitigating factors” (NBC, for example, used the fact that the average West Wing viewer had a household income north of $100,000 or something a year to leverage ad rates much higher than their ratings would normally justify) but despite the massive shift to demographic trends no one has really been willing to experiment with a new ad model.

      Like

    • Adam says:

      Isn’t there a potential cultural/trend-setting angle? I often hear this “wow, it sure is surprising that advertisers care about 18-34 when older folks have all the money,” but maybe that’s because older folks’ purchasing decisions are influenced by trends established by younger demographics.

      That sounds like the foundation for a Malcolm Gladwell article.

      Like

      • @Adam – Great point and this is very true. The Age 18-34 group is the most important “influencer” group on both ends – teenagers and older people follow the trends of that age group the most.

        Like

  15. Jake says:

    Also, those female viewers with their preferences for “soulful acoustic guitar types” didn’t help Fort Worth native and TCU grad Tim Halperin (who I apparently work in the same building as. Small world). That marked the first and only time I showed any interest in American Idol (not that I watched an episode).

    Like

  16. herbiehusker says:

    add

    Like

  17. Mike says:

    Actually, if you were going to buy stock in a league, it would be MLS. High growth, the crowd trends younger, and very popular with growing minority imminent majority populations.

    On top of that, it is extremely popular with higher-educated, urban males (e.g. the ones with the most money).

    Like

    • Mike says:

      Two halves of 45ish minutes with out a commerical. Doesn’t exactly lead to high advertising rates.

      Like

      • SideshowBob says:

        But the sport has pioneered and mastered the use of in game advertising — either by on the field adverts and jersey sponsors or with score bug adverts. This type of advertising is increasingly key for the DVR generation because you can’t just fast forward over them.

        Like

        • Mike says:

          Most of the time I don’t notice in game ads when they are there because I am watching the game. As a marketer, are you willing to pay for those on par as a 30 second ad during a timeout? Soccer just isn’t made for TV, and that limits it growth potential.

          Like

          • Mike says:

            You might not notice it conciously, but that doesn’t mean your mind isn’t retaining some information… advertisers love this – product placement is a similar concept.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Research shows that you do notice them, just not always consciously.

            Like

          • SideshowBob says:

            I don’t know for sure, but I’d expect people are more likely to watch an onscreen at during play than they are to stick around and pay attention to a commercial during a commercial break — that’s when I get up, go to the bathroom, etc. But I watch the TV when the game is going on.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            I’m not saying there isn’t value there, but what would you pay more for? A 30 second ad or a logo superimposed on the field?

            Like

        • Cliff's Notes says:

          Yeah… get ready for more of this. With more DVR usage, if sports is the ONLY destination for immediate and unavoidable advertising, this sort of thing will penetrate onto the field. Players jersey’s, officials jerseys, on-field advertising, The Coin Toss Presented by Batman 3, The Budweiser Star Spangled Banner, the Sprint Mobile Coaches Challenge, and the Dr Rahmani Lasik Eye Surgery Injury Time-Out.

          Like

    • ezdozen says:

      If I get one date with a supermodel, I will have an infinite growth in my “supermodel dating.”

      That is a trend we can all invest in.

      Like

  18. Brian says:

    Frank,

    I read an article that gave a different reasoning for the American Idol voting. It concluded that the teenage girl fans who vote 573 times each week vote to keep their crushes on the show while perhaps being a bit jealous of the women.

    Like

  19. Brian says:

    The NW/IL game at Wrigley was so successful that the Cubs and NW want to do it annually, renovating Wrigley to make room for the field.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/ct-spt-0417-wrigley-northwestern-foot20110416,0,109252.story

    Like

    • Tom says:

      I think this would be a great move for Northwestern and the Big Ten. I thought the atmosphere for the Illinois game was electric. Nothing like playing in a storied venue. The key will be rotating different Big Ten teams in, to keep it fresh. If it becomes Illinois every single year, then it could get old.

      Like

      • Jake says:

        I think it’s the part where they’ll be knocking down walls at Wrigley to accommodate a football game that might get people.

        Like

  20. Paul says:

    NHL Signs With NBC & Versus for 10 Years.
    Looks like ESPN lost out in the bidding.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=6389351

    Like

    • Nate says:

      NBC/Comcast spending money on the NHL and its improving ratings, but cutting back on the Olympics – http://nyp.st/dZRHGw – as they aren’t a money-maker. Is it known if Notre Dame is a money-maker or loser for NBC? It seems the sports programming is going to have to carry it’s own weight.

      Like

      • Morgan Wick says:

        Sports on broadcast television are in a paradoxical point right now. Advertisers love them… and yet they’re STILL a loss leader for the networks. This is partly because they have to take on all or most of the production expenses themselves, but it’s also a result of cable networks like ESPN driving up rights fees to the moon with their subscription fees (and with CBS dropping the C from CBS CS, the Comcast/NBC merger, Fox signing this Big 12 deal, and Turner trying to get more sports on TruTV, expect it to get tougher). That’s the angle that was missing from this article.

        Like

    • Mike says:

      Football only, BTW

      Like

      • footballnut says:

        What I find amazing is that with the loss of Colorado and Nebraska, the Big 12 has a footprint of only 5 states – Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Iowa. Kansas and OK combined probably have less population than the city of Chicago – yet – that league can still command that much money. WOW.

        I think TV folks also consider what’s happening demographically in the country. Everyone, especially the coveted young 18-39 bracket is moving OUT of Big 10 country and IN to Big 12, the West and SEC country. Detroit lost a person every 20 minutes over the last decade. All the rust belt cities are dying, (except Minneapolis), while San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, OKC, Houston and other B12 cities are booming.KC and STL are struggling, but as a conference, things are looking up, while B10 states struggle to survive.

        Like

        • @footballnut – I highly disagree with the characterization that “all rust belt cities are dying”. In addition to Minneapolis, the Chicago area is still growing at a rapid clip and so are places like Indianapolis, Columbus, Madison and Cincinnati. Waaaaaay too many people that don’t live in the Midwest make the mistake of projecting what they see with Detroit onto the entire region. Even Ohio, which is largely perceived by the nation as completely battered by the economy, still had decent population growth due to gains in the Columbus and Cincinnati areas. The population problems in that state are largely relegated to Cleveland and smaller industrial towns like Youngstown that had similar economic structures as Detroit. They might not be growing at the same rate as some of the major Texas cities, but even if Texas sustains the rate population growth that it has had over the past decade (which it can’t and even if it does, no one with any means would want to live there anymore with such overcrowding), the Big 12 footprint still won’t have more people than the Big Ten footprint until 40 or so years from now. At the same time, much of that population growth in the Sun Belt is due to mass amounts of immigration, which is a segment that isn’t a great target for college sports fans.

          Even if we take a dire assessment of the Midwest region, there’s a big-time silver lining for the Big Ten (and frankly, all Midwest sports teams) – they have much more nationalized fan bases because their fans live across the country. As a result, they have a combo of hardcore support in their home markets as well as a critical mass of fans that live outside of the Midwest. You can see this at the pro level, as well, where fan bases of teams like the Cubs and Cardinals for baseball and Bears, Packers and Steelers for football completely take over opposing teams’ stadiums in places such as Atlanta, Miami and Phoenix. I honestly think that this is where the Big Ten’s main advantage over other conferences lies – while it doesn’t have quite the same level of fan intensity in its home footprint as the SEC (although it’s a clear #2), it has large groups of graduates in every major market in the country that no other conference can point to along with overrepresentation in key influential areas like Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and the media itself (which is where the conference’s academic strengths come into play).

          The Midwest is a mature region, so it has slower population growth (and the Northeast is in the same boat). That is much different than actually *losing* population. At the same time, the Sun Belt is growing at a rapid clip today, but it is unlikely to maintain such growth as those areas mature and get filled in. The transportation infrastructures in Atlanta, Dallas and Houston are already at breaking points – they can’t handle endless 20% per decade population growth unless you believe that people want to live in exurbs 90 miles away from those cities’ downtown cores (which defeats any quality of life arguments in favor of moving to those regions).

          Like

          • Jake says:

            @Frank – I agree on a lot of that. Chicago is one of the world’s great cities, and after Fort Worth and Portland is one of my favorite in the country. It’s not that the Midwest as a region is declining, it’s just certain industries that are failing/leaving the country and happen to be concentrated in Midwest cities. DFW has it’s share of “rust” as well from run-down industries, but our economy is large and diversified enough to renew those areas pretty quickly. I just read this morning how Fort Worth is trying to force out an old scrap yard that’s been sitting just off of Main Street for around 40 years. If it had been in Detroit, someone would have pointed to it a sign of blight; here it’s an opportunity for urban renewal. Just depends on the narrative you’re following.

            As for the immigrants, that’s actually worked to TCU’s advantage. We have a much easier time getting displaced midwesterners to adopt the Frogs as their second team than we do with the multi-generation UT and A&M folks. We don’t have to win over their hearts, just their pocketbooks.

            And Dallas, at least, is facing its transportation issues head-on. DART is now the largest light rail operator in the U.S., with a whole lot more to come. Fort Worth … not so much. But I think we’re getting close, which is good since we’re currently the fastest-growing large city in America. At least we’re installing bike lanes now.

            Like

        • Michael in Indy says:

          You need to include Chicago, Columbus, and Indianapolis with Minneapolis as Midwestern cities that aren’t “struggling.” Just because a city isn’t booming with population doesn’t mean it’s struggling, and vice versa. For instance, Los Angeles has boomed with growth for decades but, for a while, was littered with headlines of gang violence and racial profiling by cops. That’s not struggling?

          Like

        • Richard says:

          Pitt’s also revitalized (though PA is one of the oldest states in the union). Still, outside of the tri-state auto manufacturing region that’s within a 200-mile radius of Detroit, no part of the Midwest is “dying”.

          Also, the B10 schools have massive student populations. For example, including the Commonwealth campuses, PSU has 80K(!) undergrads, almost all of whom become Nittany Lions fans because all of them have the choice of finishing at State College if in good standing (which most choose to do).

          Like

        • Michael in Indy says:

          @footballnut,

          Here’s the ranking of absolute population growth for Big Ten, Big 12, and SEC states, plus North Carolina and Virginia, from 2000-2010:

          1. Texas, 4.7M (Big 12)
          2. Florida, 2.9M (SEC/ACC)*
          3. Georgia, 1.5M (SEC/ACC)
          4. North Carolina, 1.45M (ACC)
          5. Virginia, 1M (ACC)
          6. Tennessee, 660K (SEC)
          7. South Carolina, 610K (SEC/ACC)
          8. Pennsylvania, 421K (Big Ten)
          9. Illinois, 412K (Big Ten)
          10. Indiana, 404K (Big Ten)
          12. Missouri, 394K (Big 12)
          13. Minnesota, 385K (Big Ten)
          14. Alabama, 333K (SEC)
          15. Wisconsin, 321K (Big Ten)
          16. Oklahoma, 301K (Big 12)
          17. Kentucky, 298K (SEC/Big East)
          18. Arkansas, 243K (SEC)
          19. Ohio, 183K (Big Ten)*
          20. Kansas, 165K (Big 12)
          21. Iowa, 120K (Big Ten/Big 12)
          22. Nebraska, 115K (Big Ten)
          23. Michigan, -55K (Big Ten)

          *Yes, there are Big East schools in Florida and Ohio, but their market penetration is next to nil compared to the other leagues in their state.

          What you said about people in the Big Ten leaving in huge numbers for Big 12 and SEC country was a big exaggeration. The only Big 12 state that has had major growth in the past ten years is Texas, which has grown by insane numbers. Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas do not stand out from the Big Ten states.

          As for the southeast, the vast majority of growth, save for Tennessee, is occurring on the coast, including the non-SEC states of North Carolina and Virginia. Otherwise, the interior of the SEC is not closing any population gap with the Big Ten states.

          I would also add that without North Carolina and Virginia, which in the past generation have had two of the healthiest economies in the southeast, it will be a very, very long time before the current SEC states catch up to the current Big Ten states in population.

          Like

          • Michael in Indy says:

            While I’m at it, these figures were the population growth of western states:

            California, 3.38M
            Arizona, 1.26M
            Washington, 830K
            Colorado, 728K
            Nevada, 703K
            Oregon, 410K
            Utah, 531K
            Idaho, 274K
            New Mexico, 240K
            Hawaii, 148K

            All other western states grew by less than 100K.

            Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            “it will be a very, very long time before the current SEC states catch up to the current Big Ten states in population.”

            Well, we used this well researched post often last summer:

            http://www.californiagoldenblogs.com/2010/3/29/1371535/demographics-and-revenue-a-revue

            Before the latest teams switched places, the SEC would be just past the Big Ten by 2030 in population, but the Pac 10, Big Ten, and SEC would all essentially be at the same level. The ACC would actually surpass them all by a bit, but if it’s the clear 2nd in Georgia and Florida it won’t be stronger than the other 3 conferences. Adding Colorado and Utah boosts the Pac 10 a bit, while Nebraska won’t boost the Big Ten much.

            Now those projections might change slightly with the new census numbers, but it’s clear the Big Ten’s population advantage, which has been significant, is dropping and will continue to drop.

            It’s also clear that the Big 12 is a property that is divided between a state growing like the Pac 10/SEC and a section that’s growing more gradually like the Big Ten. Except, of course, that section is much less populated to begin with. Even with the rapid growth of Texas, the conference will add less people than the SEC, Pac 12, or ACC.

            I think 20 years is a good horizon; moving between conferences should be done with this sort of timing in mind.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            m(Ag):

            That’s assuming straight-line projections will be accurate, which is, um, not quite realistic. For instance, they have California going to 70M by 2050 (while in the real world, California’s growth has already slowed so much that it will not gain a seat after the 2010 census) while both North and South Dakota have already surpassed their 2050 projections thanks to new energy discoveries there.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            What’s significant about the MW states is the aging of the population (good for college bb based on the aging of that fanbase?). Michigan lost population. PA and OH are projected to start losing population in the next 20 years or so. OH has already lost 25% of its under 18 population over the last 30 years.

            Outside the growing cities the MW is struggling. Columbus is doing well, but Dayton is losing people. Cleveland, Youngstown and Toledo are all struggling. Indianapolis is growing but Anderson just outside the metro area is dying. Chicago lost a lot of people to its suburbs while S. Illinois is losing population.

            The Big 10 states will still have plenty of people, but their edge is now and will diminish.

            Someone made a good point about the SEC. GA and FL have been growing like crazy but most of the SEC has slow growing states. TN and SC have been around the average the last 20 years or so, but the rest have been below.

            The population center of the US may well be in Arkansas or Oklahoma in the next census. Right now it is in Big 12 country in Texas County, Missouri whose county seat is Houston.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Bullet:

            Chicago has lost about 3% of its population over the last 20 years. In that time, Chicagoland has increased from 8M to 9.4M. Overall, Chicago’s doing fine.

            The Midwest and Northeast aren’t going to be growing much, and the industrial parts of MI, OH, IN, PA, & WI will suffer, but keep in mind that a lot of the growth in the sun belt was based on a Ponzi economy predicated on rising housing prices->more building->drawing in workers->increasing population. Thus I don’t expect AZ, NV, or large parts of FL or even GA to show the growth that they have in the past. Texas will do well so long as energy does well (same with the Great Plains with energy/agriculture). VA & MD as well because of the federal government. NC has hit upon a winning formula that was based on leveraging its universities & research. Mountain West and Northwest will grow as well. However, increasing population doesn’t automatically mean more money. The ACC and P12 are best positioned to see their footprint grow, yet since so much of that growth is due to outsiders migrating in (especially in the case of the ACC), the fervor for those schools is weaker. It’ll take at least a generation to translate all those people in to viewers, and it may never occur (it’s why I think the Pac-whatever punches below it’s weight when it comes to attendance/fervor).

            Like

          • @Richard – Some further context on the Chicago loss of population: the reason for that loss during the 2000s is very different from why there was a decline from 1960-1990. Starting in the 1960s, there was a massive amount of white flight and affluent residents moving out of the city. Now, it’s generally the opposite: the neighborhoods that lost residents in the last census period came from the poor areas on the South and West Sides of the city due to the across the board elimination of large housing projects. Professional and affluent people are moving in. Whether it is a good or bad thing that there’s a “Manhattanization” effect in Chicago is debatable (as housing prices have been driven up and those poor residents are simply moving to new ghettos in the South Suburbs), but the circumstances of the population decline are much different than what is happening in places like Detroit, Cleveland and St. Louis.

            Like

          • Morgan Wick says:

            “NC has hit upon a winning formula that was based on leveraging its universities & research.”

            A formula Detroit (and to some extent Cleveland) are cursing themselves for not hitting on themselves.

            Like

          • Michael in Indy says:

            @Richard,

            You’re right that NC has hit a winning formula with the way it has leveraged its universities to create successful research campuses, most notably Research Triangle Park, but that’s only part of the story. The other winning formula has been Charlotte as a financial hub.

            So is NC another case of bi-winning?

            Like

          • jj says:

            As perhaps one of the few resident Metro Detroiters on here, I can’t help but jump in. Detroit proper is in fact dying a slow death. I suspect its population will bottom out at about 500,000 or so. Sad to say, but anyone that can leave the boundaries, does. All the money has left for the burbs and it creats a spiral effect.

            That said Metropolitan Detroit is doing ok. There are a ton of large companies up here and a highly skilled and educated workforce. In some ways the loss of population can be a good thing, depending on who’s leaving.

            Here’s what did in Detroit in my view and in no particular order:

            (1) No major universities;
            (2) Geography – too large of a land mass (I think it’s biggger than NY, Boston and Baltimore combined) with no natural boundaries to contain it;
            (3) Horrible, corrput, racist city leadership for the past 40 years or so;
            (4) Pitiful school system;
            (5) Racism – blacks and whites mostly;
            (6) Big 3 outsourcing combined with influx of non-US auto buying and lack of leadership from Big 3 to face the challenge in a practical manner; and
            (7) Super liberal Michigan zoning and land-use laws that enable massive suburbs to develop.

            This is a good a place to live regardless of what “ruin-porn” the news likes to show. It certainly isn’t a dying region.

            If you’re in the market for a car, I’d ask you to at least give one of us a serious look. There are good people here that do good work even if consumer reports doesn’t think so, but wtf do they know anyway.

            Like

          • Morgan Wick says:

            @jj: Isn’t UMich basically right in Detroit’s backyard? Granted, Ann Arbor is more of a suburb, but…

            Like

          • jj says:

            UM is about an hour away by car and MSU is closer to two, but they are both a lightyear away in flavor.

            I meant that I think Detroit proper would be way better off if there was an actual big-tme school downtown to draw people and residents. I believe Ann Arbor wooed UM away from Detroit a long time ago and in the long run that was the worst thing for Detroit and best for Ann Arbor.

            I don’t know how to put this in a pc way, but there are hundreds of thousands of people, if not a million or two, that literally refuse to step foot in the city, except maybe on exceedingly rare occassions.

            I think they’re bafoons, but that’s how it is. I personally love it here, warts and all, but it’s pretty warty in some places.

            lol. I’m not like dirty harry, ice-t or robocop or anything, but I’ve gone to some other places in the US, Canada and Europe and people are all like “watch out this is a bad neighborhood” and when I get there, I’m like,really? This isn’t so bad. I mean there are people here. It doesn’t look like mad maxville or anything.

            In a nutshell, Detroit is large, very large and very empty. It has an weird isolation vibe in a lot of places. Downtown is fine, it’s cool. Head to the neighborhoods and prepare for shock. Think “I Am Legend” or something.

            The burbs are actually getting more diverse these days.

            There is just a big-ass hole where a city of 2 million+ people that had a lot of dough used to be. This used to be an exceedingly wealthy area, and still is in many regards. You can go see massive mansions that have been abandoned. It’s a trip for visitors to see; get a local to take you around sometime.

            I take back my first comment, the main problem has to be the schools. No one in their right mind with options sends their kids to the DPS.

            There are a lot of good folks down there, they are just outnumbered 1,000 to 1 by fools and desperate people.

            Adam can likely jump in on this anytime.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            I don’t know anything about Detroit other than its general reputation and what makes the news from time to time (e.g., an ex-Piston is the Mayor). But what you say sounds plausible to me — I suspect that many of the people who bag on a place like Detroit actually have no idea what it’s like.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Then again, I’d say being essentially a one-industry town where the industry is less competitive because the local titans became fat and lazy probably has a lot to do with it.

            Granted, not having big, respected research universities inside the city limits probably didn’t help either. Pittsburgh has definitely benefited from Pitt & Carnegie Mellon (though Case Western doesn’t seem to have helped Cleveland as much; granted Pitt is much bigger and Cleveland isn’t Detroit).

            Like

          • Kyle says:

            Pennsylvania doesn’t get listed as a Big East state, while Kentucky does?

            Like

          • Michael in Indy says:

            @Kyle,

            That was a blatant goof on my part. By all means, if I count Georgia and Florida as “ACC states,” and Kentucky as a “Big East state,” then I should have counted Pennsylvania as a “Big East state” as well.

            Like

  21. Mike says:

    New home of the College World Series, TD Ameritrade Park – Omaha, Offically opened last night. Nebraska 2, Creighton 1. 22,000+ braved temps in the 30’s. I’m still shaking off the cold this morning. I’m already looking foreward to the CWS in two months when it will be too hot.

    Like

  22. BigTenFan says:

    Frank –

    I’m intrigued by the way the future of cable TV may affect the Big Ten Network in two major ways:

    1. You would think that the rising premium placed on advertising during live sporting events would be a huge advantage for the BTN….I don’t know if there is a way for us “outsiders” to know what the BTN generates in advertising dollars, but if your presupposition is correct, it would mean that DVR’s should continue to make the Big Ten teams very rich. Further, you’d have to think that in the event of the Big Ten expanding to 14 or 16 teams, advertising money could become more important than subscriber fees. For instance, basketball schools (such as Duke/UNC) could become just as valuable as an elite football school, why? Because basketball simply has a larger inventory for the BTN than football does, and if advertising revenue continues to sky rocket, then the additional revenue could mean that an elite basketball school with a rabid national fan base could be a prized commodity.

    2. Conversely, I’m very anxious to see how cable TV continues to evolve. In the event that we move to a more al a carte TV subscriber service (where subscribers can choose the channels they wish to subscribe to), the BTN could potentially lose a butt load of money. I think that the BTN model is only sustainable so long as the basic cable packages continue to subsidize it….if the BTN were ever to lose the “basic cable packaging” model, not only would subscriber fees plummet, so too would the value of advertising spots on the BTN (due to fewer viewers).

    Like

    • Morgan Wick says:

      A la carte is the mortal enemy of ESPN, FSN, and Versus. If the FCC were to go that route, sports would probably rediscover broadcast (since all the cable networks would effectively be niche networks), and the playing field would be levelled between big, generic sports networks like ESPN and more niche networks like the NFL Network. Ten years into an a la carte world, I suspect ESPN wouldn’t be carrying subscriber fees as big as TBS or TNT.

      Like

    • Vincent says:

      Further, you’d have to think that in the event of the Big Ten expanding to 14 or 16 teams, advertising money could become more important than subscriber fees. For instance, basketball schools (such as Duke/UNC) could become just as valuable as an elite football school, why? Because basketball simply has a larger inventory for the BTN than football does, and if advertising revenue continues to sky rocket, then the additional revenue could mean that an elite basketball school with a rabid national fan base could be a prized commodity.

      And don’t think Delany doesn’t know this. Suppose the SEC decided to take in Texas A&M…then, seeking a 14th member, snared Virginia Tech (with its name-brand football program) away from the ACC. That might be the time for the Big Ten to strike and add the quartet of Duke, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia, collectively turning the growing area from Baltimore/DC to North Carolina into Big Ten country and providing a hedge against Rust Belt exodus. Maybe not much addition for football, but Nebraska took care of that. Athletically and academically, those four as a group would do plenty for the Big Ten.

      Like

      • joe4psu says:

        I’d love that lineup. And I agree that adding Nebraska was enough for the football side of the conference. When considering new additions if the B1G got a school like ND they would need to add another “king” to keep the divisions even. That’s historically speaking. If Dantonio keeps MSU on par with Iowa and Wiscy you still have an uneven distribution but that won’t be known for another 5, 10 or 15 years.

        That said, I don’t think the core of the ACC is ever breaking up. If they would lose all or some combination of VT, Clemson and FSU I think they still stick together and probably raid the BE. Fun to consider though.

        Like

      • Gopher86 says:

        It’d be a tough sell without NC State and maybe Wake in the mix.

        Like

        • cfn_ms says:

          Would really depend on whether UNC can escape their NC brethren. I’m just guessing, but I doubt Wake has any meaningful influence. NC St could be hard to ditch, unless somehow the B10 could convince the SEC to take them.

          Like

          • BigTenFan says:

            If my memory serves correct, the ACC teams make about $12M per school in athletic revenue sharing. Going to the the Big Ten would increase their athletic revenue by over $100M over the course of a decade….I can’t believe that is something that Duke/UNC wouldn’t consider. Leaving behind NC State would be a hard sell, but money talks.

            On the Big Ten side….imagine getting Duke/UNC/Virginia into the CIC….those three schools have monster research endowments, and are three elite academic institutions. The Big Ten presidents would most certainly get behind the addition of UNC/Duke/Virginia.

            Also, NC/VA meet the requirement Delany had about getting a southern draw in the conference. NC/VA are two the fastest growing states in the country. NC has a population of about 9M today, but by 2030, their population is projected to be around 12M.

            The Big Ten can’t completely ignore subscriber fees though….the reality is that each school would have to add about $30M in revenue for expansion to 16 to make sense. I suspect that Duke/UNC could due to the combination of subscriber fees AND advertising dollars those schools could offer the conference. NC State would be an unacceptable addition because it would only dilute the subscriber fees from the state of NC and they offer no national cache that would generate a large amount of advertising revenue.

            After UNC/Duke, the two next best additions would be the obvious, Notre Dame, and Syracuse. Notre Dame for obvious reasons, and Syracuse to solidify the Big Ten as the best basketball conference in the country AND capture a good portion of the NYC market at the same time.

            In an ideal 16 school conference, this would be the divisional breakdown:

            The Great Plains Division:

            Iowa
            Nebraska
            Wisconsin
            Minnesota

            The Great Lakes Division:

            Ohio State
            Michigan
            Michigan State
            Illinois

            The Central Division:

            Notre Dame
            Purdue
            Northwestern
            Indiana

            The Colonial Division:

            Penn State
            Syracuse
            North Carolina
            Duke

            My personal preference would be for 7 conference games. I have two major reasons for this:

            1.) 5 non conference games creates a larger football inventory for the BTN, so it would stand to reason that a move to 5 non conference games would increase the advertising revenue for the BTN.

            2. 5 non cons would be an obvious draw for ND. Allowing ND to continue to receive scheduling flexibility that they could not get from any other conference would be a huge draw.

            3. Finally, it would eliminate the chance of ever having a rematch in the CCG. My guess is, rematch CCG’s probably draw worse ratings than new ones, and more importantly, the serve not competitive purpose. Why run the risk of having one?

            The scheduling would work out very easily: you’d play the 3 other teams in your division (and as you can see, this set up maintains rivalries very well – with the exception of Illinois/NW), then you’d rotate sister divisions every season. The team with the best record from each of the “sister couplings” would then play for the Big Ten Championship in Indy.

            I’d propose that the sister division rotate every season, with the full rotation completing every 6 seasons. What that means is, if the Great Plains Division played the Colonial Division, Iowa (for instance) would play @ PSU, UNC, @ Duke, & Syracuse, then rotate to the Great Lakes Division the next season and play OSU, @UM, MSU, @ Ill, then the third year Iowa would play the Central Division – ND, @ Indiana, Purdue, @ NW.

            After the first three years, the schedule replays as it did the first year of the series with the home/away games reversed. This system would allow every school in the Big Ten to play each other school twice every six seasons and guarantee that every Big Ten football player would end up playing every school in a 16 team Big Ten.

            One last note. Personally, I would prefer that UVA be added over Syracuse. For the reasons of being geographically contiguous and academics. Further, the state of Virginia does have a good base of potential subscribers for the BTN. Maybe most importantly, I think to get UNC/Duke to leave the ACC, you’d need to let them have as many familiar opponents as possible. Adding UVA to the list would make it much easier to convince UNC/Duke so long as UVA was on board. However, I do realize that the allure of getting into the NYC market may be too much for the Big Ten to pass up in further expansion scenarios.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            BigTenFan:

            1. It’s pretty clear that Syracuse by itself doesn’t deliver NYC (otherwise why would the B10 have passed on the eastern schools tot add UNL?). You’d need to add ND to add Syracuse (or Rutgers), however…
            2. ND isn’t joining the B10. Let’s stop beating that dead horse.
            3. The only conceivable way I can see the B10 getting UNC & Duke is if they also take UVa & Maryland (who also fit the B10 profile better than any BE school or even ND). Even that might not be enough. You may have to take NCSU instead of Duke.
            4. More OOC games means more inventory, but it’s the quality of inventory that matters, and conference games get higer ratings. Note that the BE had the most OOC games (and thus inventory per school) of any conference, but that didn’t help them any.

            Like

          • Vincent says:

            My thought for divisional setup was:

            Atlantic: Duke, Md., UNC, UVa
            Central: Mich., MSU, OSU, PSU
            Midwest: Ill., Ind., N’west., Purdue
            Western: Iowa, Minn., Nebr., Wisc.

            Rotate divisions for football so that everyone plays each other at least once every three years, with two other games against teams from the other division.

            For men’s and women’s basketball, 18 games — home-and-home against the three teams in your division and once against the other 12 teams.

            Taking the ACC four boosts the Big Ten in baseball and lacrosse, too, an added benefit for the BTN.

            Like

          • frug says:

            Those divisions would not work for competitive balance reasons. Can’t have one division with Mich, OSU and PSU and another with U of I, NU, PU and Indiana.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            You know what? If the divisions are not “competitively balanced,” the teams shouldn’t be in the same league. A league’s members should be similar enough in competitiveness (or willing to look the other way and disregard discrepancies in competitiveness) such that any alignment of the teams is acceptably “balanced.” If neither of those conditions is true, they shouldn’t be in the same league.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            frug:

            If Central and Western are kept in separate divisions, it would be somewhat balanced.

            I think Illinois, NU, IU, & PU are about as strong as Maryland, UVa, UNC, & Duke (or even NCSU).

            OSU, PSU, Michigan, and MSU is stronger than UNL, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minny, but it would be close.

            Those 2 divisions would always play there interdivisional games against each other, so you’d face every B10 school at least 2 out of 4 years.

            Like

          • Vincent says:

            The Pac-12 deal probably provokes some stunned reaction from ACC schools, and shows the difference between a media-savvy professional such as Scott and a promoted college AD such as Swofford.

            If the SEC picked off Virginia Tech as a two-pronged expansion with Texas A&M, and the Big Ten went in the superconference direction with the UNC/UVa/UMd/Duke quartet, the remaining seven ACC members might want to woo the nine Big East football members into a 16-team superconference of its own. FSU and Miami still have name value in football, and the remaining ACC members could hope Syracuse, Pitt and Connecticut can replace the hoop heavyweights who defected.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            No way the SEC would leave NCSU (and FSU) for the BE, IMHO. If they pick off VTech, they’ll add those 2 schools as well. Probably also Clemson (instead of TAMU).

            Like

  23. ohio1317 says:

    That may be the best post I’ve read from you yet (Frank). Maybe not as fun as some of the expansion ones, but you brought up several points I didn’t know/hadn’t considered.

    Like

    • cfn_ms says:

      It would be great if this was the final impetus for the AQ’s to finally wave goodbye to the NCAA for good. Then we could actually end up with a functional playoff.

      Like

      • M says:

        The more likely scenario is a return to the old bowl system. No university president will leave the NCAA. None will say “Wow we lost a lawsuit. Let’s put Dan Wetzel in charge.”

        Like

        • Morgan Wick says:

          I think as time goes on, the prospect of the big schools leaving the NCAA may become increasingly likely.

          Especially with FCS struggling mightily, I think we may approach a day when the NCAA gets out of the football business entirely (not necessarily entirely voluntarily) – and in fact, I often fantasize about a day when college football is arranged with a European-soccer-style system of promotion and relegation.

          Like

          • Michael in Indy says:

            I don’t see the European soccer-style relegation system being used in the United States. Any relegated team would see its support all but vaporize, similar to the way the way SMU’s support disappeared after it got the death penalty. Either that, or some rabid fanbase, most likely in the South, would literally start a riot if their team was relegated against its will just because of a bad season.

            Like

          • @Michael in Indy – I agree. The power conferences demand guaranteed bowl slots and TV payments, which is completely at odds with the relegation concept.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            The NCAA won’t go away. If the big schools left, they’d just have to create another governing body to do what the NCAA does for them now.

            Like

          • Morgan Wick says:

            Maybe I’m idealistic, but I don’t think a promotion/relegation system would cause as much doom and gloom as you might think, especially since making money is orthogonal and as a result detrimental to the ostensible true aim of college sports. I see it as more of a democratic system, where any team could compete for the national championship eventually without waiting for the whims of the powers that be. Even the big teams, if they get relegated, won’t find it the end of the world, since they can pop right back up again. Europe’s promotion and relegation system is largely propped up by devoted fanbases that have grown up with their teams and will stick with them through thick and thin. College sports, especially college football, comes closest to any part of American sports to this type of devotion. Even if Illinois is stuck shuttling between the 6th and 7th level, Frank will still be rooting for them to at least stay on the 6th level this time 🙂

            The big schools’ desire to rid themselves of the smaller schools has resulted in the creation of divisions and later the I-A/I-AA distinction. I think most of them not-so-secretly want to rid themselves of the little guy, and they may eventually decide “either they go, or we go.” They may also eventually decide they don’t want a lot of how the NCAA does what it does – for example, they may want to pay players and the small schools will resist in part because that would give an advantage to schools with big pockets – and decide they want something that’s less of a “governing body”, or one that’s more like a pro league.

            Like

          • cfn_ms says:

            @Brian: one of the big things the NCAA does is redistribute wealth from the big schools to the little ones. Presumably a new governing organization wouldn’t need to do this.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Another big thing the NCAA does is maintain rules for academic eligibility, recruiting, etc to maintain a level playing field. Someone will still have to do that.

            Plus, there are all the other sports that need to have championships run and be overseen, so the schools will still have to deal with the NCAA anyway. Why create 2 governing bodies that will eventually disagree with each other?

            One bureaucracy is enough. Besides, the NCAA only does what the schools ask it to do. If they want different football rules, they can do that. The threat of the top schools leaving would be sufficient to let the big boys split FBS into 2 separate groups with limited revenue sharing much like the BCS has now.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Morgan Wixk:

            Yes, you’re too idealistic. It’s not in the interests of the powerful schools to institute promotion/relegation so I don’t see what impetus would cause it to come about. Maybe if it was the norm from the very beginning, it’s still be maintained, but I don’t see it suddenly getting implemented. Note that promotion/relegation occurs in soccer due pretty much to an accident of history. The English, who invented the game, decided to do it when their league got too big and they decided to split it up this way. Back then, these were social sporting clubs; amateur, I believe, as the players didn’t get paid. In the same manner, you might see promotion/relegation instituted in your neighborhood softball league. However, now that the money’s so big, you can be sure that the moneyed interests would be against such a setup.

            Like

          • Morgan Wick says:

            I suspect the big boys don’t want a level playing field.

            It is a fantasy, but it may be the best long-term solution for college football’s many ills, especially the playoff question (which is why it’ll never happen). This comment thread has essentially given away a blog post I intend to write this summer anyway.

            Like

          • Jake says:

            Even if it were possible, I’m not sure I’d want a promotion/relegation system. Call me crazy, but I like playing the same long-time rivals every year. Not that TCU has gotten to do much of that for the last 15 years or so, but the idea of it is nice. And then there are the CIC-type relationships, plus the headache annual realignments would cause the marketing teams at each conference. Although it would be pretty sweet to see Baylor kicked down to C-USA, never to be heard from again.

            Like

          • Morgan Wick says:

            I’d have one protected game every year against a team from another conference, to protect against, say, Michigan getting relegated and ruining the Ohio State game.

            Also, several conferences would be centrally controlled by the same body, which would be a revival of the old CFA.

            Like

      • Brian says:

        I’ve seen nothing from the presidents that makes me think they would suddenly start a playoff if they left the NCAA. The NCAA isn’t preventing it, the presidents are.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          The Presidents are opposing it for a number of reasons. The biggest of those reasons is control. If they left the NCAA, that obstacle would be removed.

          The issues of the impact on the regular season and student-athletes wanting a piece of the pie would still remain.

          The Presidents have repeatedly proven that issues like study time, student-athlete wear and tear and everyone being a winner-or at least 36-in the bowl system are totally unimportant to them, despite sometimes using those arguments.

          There’s one unspoken issue, although Gee aluded to it, saying that the coach might fire him. A playoff increases the power of athletics vis a vis the administration.

          Like

      • Well Played Mauer says:

        I don’t think this antitrust suit will usher in a playoff at least not any meaningful one. Right now the power conferences are already of the mindset that they have given up to much to the mid majors. And of course the mid majors are of the mindset; thanks for the access and concessions, now we’d like to trade it all for a little more. In particular the Big Ten & PAC-12 already hate that they have the Rose Bowl screwed with so much.

        It is my understanding that The PAC, B10 & Rose Bowl signed onto the BCS in the first place because they thought they would get to keep their tie in and only have to give it up when they where hosting the #1/#2 Game. They seem though to have overlooked that the game would be effected more than once every 4 years because a lot of the time either the PAC or the B10 would be putting a team in the NC game. Also I do not know when they put in the “mid major every 4” rule. But I do not think the parties involved are happy about that either.

        All That being said the point I am rambling toward is that if there is some kind of quasi Congressional mandated playoff or hostile implementation of a tournament by the NCAA; I think it is very likely the PAC-12 & Big Ten pull an Ivy League and say the are abstaining from the tournament and will continue to send their champions to the Rose Bowl sans the BCS affiliation/implications.

        And I think the chances are better than average that people will still watch because it is the Rose Bowl, it is the PAC-12 & Big Ten Champs. And that means the two conferences will still be able to command $50 million a year in broadcast right & they will still put 80,000 butts in Pasadena. And now they no longer have to share with anyone or give up their champions to another Bowl. And if the SEC & Big 12 see that the PAC & B10 are doing okay not being part of the “NCCA Congressional Open” it is fair to assume they may say “you know what we are abstaining too”.

        The end result would be we would still have the BCS only it will not be called the BCS and no mid majors will have any access at all because these conferences are just abstaining from a tournament [just like the IVY & SWAC already do in I-AA]. They will say it is because of academic concerns [but it will be because of money].

        If the Mid Majors and Congress continue to push they are going to create the very thing they say they are against. The BCS conferences will not have to break away from the mid majors it looks to me like congress is going to do it for them.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          The Big 10 and Pac 10 refused to join the Bowl Alliance. They eventually caved. It would be disastrous long term to stay out of a playoff system the other big conferences were in. Remember, the SEC and ACC were for the +1. There is a lot of sentiment for a tournament of some sort in the Big 12 and Big East.–As long as the big conferences control the money.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            I think “caved” is too strong. They negotiated some serious concessions from the BA before joining. The Alliance only lasted 3 years and was under Congressional pressure when it morphed into the BCS.

            Like

        • bullet says:

          The new TV contracts are drastically increasing the gap between the AQ conferences and the rest. The little guys are doubling their money while the AQ’s are tripling. CUSA was only $5 or $6 million a year behind the big guys. Now they have improved their contract to close to $1 million per year per school ($42 million/5 years)and they are $12 million behind the ACC who is #4 in average revenue and will probably fall to #5 behind Pac 12 after their new contract.

          And that doesn’t include the non-TV revenues. The big schools can pay MAC head coaches more to be coordinators and sometimes simply assistants.

          Its going to be a lot tougher for Hawaii and Boise St. to repeat. TCU and Utah are now in the club.

          Like

    • M says:

      The more I think about this lawsuit the stupider it sounds. Basically, it says “The way you currently operate that exists by the collective agreement of all of your members but it isn’t as profitable as it could be, and I have a way to make it more profitable.” If it’s about money, why not sue the NCAA for not expanding the basketball tournament? If it’s about access, why not sue the SEC for not allowing undefeated South Alabama a chance to play in their championship game?

      The least likely result of this lawsuit is a widely accessible playoff. The more likely results are a return to the old bowl system or a “Big Ten/Pac-12/SEC/Big 12 Showdown Extravaganza Which Isn’t A Playoff Because Then We Would Have To Share The Money With NCAA”. Call it the “BTPTSECBTSEWIAPBTWWHTSTMWN” for short. It’s not quite as catchy as “BCS”, but it will sure confuse the hell out of anyone trying to google for Wetzel’s next book “Death to the BTPTSECBTSEWIAPBTWWHTSTMWN”.

      Like

      • Well Played Mauer says:

        M, I’m with you, I am no lawyer but it seems like the whole lawsuit is either A) a bluff just to force change or B) a genuine suit that appears at least to this laymen to be based on semantics. Mid-majors have access to the big money bowls which they never had before the BCS. Is it a harder road to hoe than having a auto-bid? Absolutely but its because no one wants a body bag game in a $36 million dollar bowl. I suppose one could argue that mid-majors don’t have realistic access to the 1 vs. 2 National Title Game. But if they stop calling it the NTG and just called it the BCS Bowl is there still a case?

        Otherwise it looks like the case is trying to be made that says because school x plays in conference y and has a tie in with bowl z it is unfair monopoly.

        So what is the answer the SEC & Big Ten have to merger with the Sunbelt and MAC. The Rose bowl has to let San Jose State play in the Rose Bowl because the WAC has crappy bowls? Or we should have a 16 team playoff where the majority of the mid-major champs get pounded into the ground in the first round 9 times out of ten?

        Right now even the Sunbelt & MAC place multiple teams in bowls. If there is a playoff the mid-majors will be 1 bid leagues just like they are in basketball and the power 4 conferences will suck up all the at large bids. There is no system that can be put in place that will not favor the bigger conferences. And it is because they have the big alumnus, political clout, the money and the fan bases not because of the bowls. If the Big 12 said tomorrow that they are droping their tie in with the Fiesta Bowl and sending their champ to the Cotton Bowl instead. Does anyone think the MWC or the WAC will get AQ status a Fat TV deal and 100,000 traveling fans just because they now have the Fiesta Bowl tie in?

        I know the “BTPTSECBTSEWIAPBTWWHTSTMWN” was proposed in jest; but really I don’t think it is out of the realm of possibility. Just like Frank says in regard to Big East expansion football does not in and of itself make more money. It only makes more money if there are big brand name teams involved. The same can be said of a playoff. I-AA, D-II & D-II Football all have playoffs and the general public could care less, because the average fan has no idea most of the schools that play at those levels even exist.

        I said before if there is a forced playoff I could see the Big Ten, PAC-12, SEC & Big 12 abstaining. The Big Ten & PAC-12 Champs play in the Rose Bowl, The SEC & Big 12 Champs Play in the Sugar Bowl. And a Week Later The Rose Bowl Champ & Sugar Bowl Champ play each other in The Triple Crown Bowl in Arizona.

        It would not be a National Title Game or a 1vs2 game or a playoff or a tournament. It would just be a series of 3 exhibition games between 4 conferences who choose to abstain from playing football games during finals for “academic concerns”. And if any other conferences want to abstain they can do so if they wish.

        And all the winner could say is they pulled off the “Triple Crown”. Said team would have won their conference title game, their bowl game and the triple crown game. The winner of the NCAA football tournament can say they won a National Title in a Tournament with out The Big Ten, SEC, Big 12 & PAC-12 Champs.

        If it’s a choice between the Rose/Sugar/Triple Crown and The NCAA Mid-Major Championship what do we think people are going to watch? And what system [the triple crown & playoffs or the BCS] would better serve the mid-majors not named Boise State.

        If I am misunderstanding the situation I ask that some of the law dogs on here shed some more light on this for us.

        Cheers-

        Like

        • Adam says:

          “Every agreement concerning trade, every regulation of trade, restrains. To bind, to restrain, is of their very essence. The true test of legality is whether the restraint imposed is such as merely regulates and perhaps thereby promotes competition or whether it is such as may suppress or even destroy competition.” — Bd. of Trade v. United States, 246 U.S. 231, 244 (1918).

          Some contracts are cool, some are not.

          Like

          • I’m likely going to put up a blog post on the potential antitrust case, but a few quick things to note:

            (1) A monopoly in and of itself is NOT illegal

            (2) A court isn’t going to force a playoff

            (3) Antitrust cases rely more heavily on economic analysis (applying the “rule of reason”) as opposed to legal analysis

            (4) Even if there’s an antitrust violation, the claimant has to show how why it was that antitrust violation specifically caused damages to them

            The last point doesn’t get discussed much in the context of the BCS, but it’s critical from a practical real-life perspective. There’s a pretty good chance that the non-AQ schools (via the Utah AG essentially stepping in their shoes) may end up with Pyrrhic victory just like the USFL in the antitrust case that it “won” from a pure legal perspective but lost in a real-life perspective because the Supreme Court only awarded them $1 in damages (which was tripled to $3 since Sherman Act violations have treble damages). Basically, the Supreme Court said that the NFL violated antitrust laws, but that had nothing to do with why the USFL wasn’t making money or getting good TV contracts, so they weren’t going to provide the upstart league with a windfall or force a merger (which was the real goal of a number of USFL owners, including Donald Trump).

            Likewise, a court may find that the BCS conferences are violating antitrust laws up the wazoo, but that doesn’t mean the non-AQ conferences lost any money as a result or should be entitled to greater access to bowls or some other postseason format. The non-AQ conferences would have to show that if the BCS system didn’t exist, then they would be receiving better TV contracts and bowl arrangements. That’s going to be a tough sell, as part of the whole point of the existence of the BCS was that there were 6 conferences that the TV people and bowls really cared about and they drove those money and access barriers as much as the conferences themselves. Also, even if there was a playoff instead and the non-AQ conferences argued that they would’ve received much more under NCAA Tournament-style revenue sharing, the AQ conferences could very easily find plenty of people in the media to testify that while a playoff might be worth a gazillion dollars, that value really lies within the prospect of having 4 or 8 power teams going at it for the national championship as opposed to the non-AQ schools.

            Anyway, I’m probably going to write a full post on this over the next few days.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            I don’t disagree; I just think that there is a much more colorable argument vis-a-vis the BCS than there would be on the part of some hypothetical independent professional team arguing that the NFL has monopolized the pro football industry.

            Minor quibble: the $1 award was not the Supreme Court, but the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The court’s opinion disposing of various post-trial motions has a good summary of how it went down. See U.S. Football League v. NFL, 644 F. Supp. 1040 (S.D.N.Y. 1986).

            Like

        • ccrider55 says:

          Pet peeve: you hoe a row, not a road.

          Like

          • Well Played Mauer says:

            “Pet peeve: you hoe a row, not a road.”

            I will be blaming that on the auto-correct gremlins, thank you. 😉

            Like

        • Jake says:

          @WPM – it wouldn’t be a triple crown for the Big 12 champ. The Orange and Fiesta wouldn’t be too thrilled about that triple crown plan (along with the Cotton), but those guys don’t have as much clout at the moment as they might have. Also, none of the serious playoff proposals I’ve seen suggest having games during finals; you could easily schedule a 16-team playoff within the current bowl season window. I’m open to criticism of college playoffs, but that one doesn’t hold water.

          You won’t find many bigger critics of the current post-season system than yours truly, but even I’ve never bought into the anti-trust perspective. My main complaints are that a) it’s a terrible way to pick a title game match-up, b) the mid-majors get treated like one big conference by the BCS on payday, without the AQ bid, and c) why do the bowls deserve a cut of college football revenue anyway? It grinds my gears to see those good ole boys in the blazers jetting around the country and collecting big paychecks for a rather limited amount of work when college athletics programs (not to mention higher education itself) is in such a financial state. If you think John Junker is the only bowl official who has been profligate with his game’s revenues, well, bridge in Brooklyn, land in Florida, etc. A playoff keeps the money with the schools, after the NCAA gets a taste to support tournaments for non-revenue sports.

          Like

          • Well Played Mauer says:

            Jake,

            Actually in the hypothetical I was kicking around I figured the Big 12 champ would play the SEC champ in the Sugar Bowl every year similar to the PAC-12 & Big 10 Playing in the Rose Bowl. Also I figured the Fiesta Bowl Would morph into the Triple Crown. The Cotton would be no worse off then they are now they would most likely still get the 2nd pick from the Big 12 & 4th or 5th pick from the SEC. But you are right the Orange Bowl & ACC not to mention the Big East would not like this setup.

            Would they be happy dominating a de facto mid major tournament? Would they file their own lawsuit? Could the Big 4 buy them off by sending the SEC #2 to the Orange Bowl every year to play the ACC Champ, and the Big Ten #2 to the Gator or Pinstripe Bowl to play the Big East Champ? Who knows?

            And I also agree the academic arguments against a playoff really do not hold water, but it would not stop the Presidents & Chancellors from using it as an excuse, which was more my point.

            I did not really mean to come off as bashing or supporting either a playoff or the BCS; I just more or less felt the merits of the lawsuit where/are lacking.

            Cheers-

            Like

          • Morgan Wick says:

            You can BARELY schedule a 16-team playoff within the current bowl window, if you designate exactly one week for finals for every team in the country AND ruin quarterfinalists’ winter break by playing Christmas AND New Year’s. Otherwise, you’re gonna have to shorten the season by a week (which may be a good idea anyway).

            Like

          • Jake says:

            @WPM – barely fits? You have the conference title games on the first weekend in December, a weekend off (except for Army-Navy) for finals, then start up the playoffs the third Saturday, which is when bowl season starts. Quarterfinals are fourth Saturday (around Christmas), semis around New Year’s, then the title game is the first or second Saturday in January, depending on whether December has four or five Saturdays that year. That happens to be when the BCS title game is held. Scheduling is not a problem, and I seriously doubt you’ll get too many complaints about holiday conflicts from the teams that advance past the first round.

            Like

          • greg says:

            Jake, your plan may work if you assume all universities have the same final exam week, which is not the case. You may have a hard time forcing all D-I schools to organize their academic year around the football playoffs.

            Like

        • Jake says:

          @WPM – no, I meant it wouldn’t be a triple crown for the Big 12 because they don’t have a title game. Their champ would only have to win two post-season games.

          Like

  24. frug says:

    Is it just me or is it a conflict of interest for Utah’s AG to file this lawsuit given that the University of Utah is now a member of an AQ conference?

    Like

    • m (Ag) says:

      He’s a politician. His chief interest is to get on TV. So there’s no conflicts in his interests.

      Like

    • Super D says:

      You’re kidding yourself if you don’t think a politician in Utah doesn’t have a vested interest in this issue because BYU is still one of the have-nots. Private school or not, their alumni and the church wield a huge amount of political power in that State. In fact, Utah getting in while BYU is still out in the cold may actually have aggravated the situation given the general unfriendliness of the rivalry. I seriously doubt they are pursuing this on behalf of Utah State.

      The fact that this is the AG saying he is going to file suit “in a few months” but hasn’t actually done so may be the State politicos trying to wield a club to get BYU the same sort of sweetheart admission deal that ND has since they are now an independent.

      Like

      • @Super D – I definitely agree that BYU is every bit as influential, if not more, than the University of Utah in its home state. Thus, a BYU on the outside looking in is always going to be a pressure point, especially now that the Utes are in the “haves” group.

        Now, I do think that defining ND’s BCS situation as a “sweetheart deal” is generally overstated. All that’s guaranteed for them is a BCS bowl bid if they finish in the top 8 and an annual payment that’s the equivalent of what it would’ve received if it was a member of an AQ conference. In practicality, this really isn’t that special of treatment for ND – if an Irish team finishes in the top 8, it’s a virtual certainty that a bowl would give them an at-large bid anyway, so that auto status is largely symbolic.

        Regardless, if giving BYU the same treatment as ND (which isn’t a big give at all) kills off an antitrust suit at the head, then it’s a cheap price for the BCS to pay.

        Like

        • frug says:

          @Super D

          I didn’t say he didn’t have a vested interested, I said he had a conflict of interest. While the AG does have legal standing to bring suit on behalf of Utah State, doing so would require him to sue another school he legally represents. It would literally be a case of a lawyer suing one his clients on the behalf of another one his clients, which is an ethical no-no (and I believe that is the correct technical term).

          @Frank the Tank

          I agree that the automatic BCS bid for a top 8 finish is unnecessary, but the annual payment of an AQ level BCS allotment is significant. Remember, even when an AQ conference qualifies a team it sill doesn’t get an equal share of the BCS payouts. While granting BYU the same payout would be the smart move in the short term if it keeps the current system in place, it could be enough for other teams to consider movements towards independence.

          On a semi-related note, the BCS may need to consider whether it is still worth continuing their arrangement with ND. While I don’t claim to be an expert on anti-trust law, it seems to me that the ND deal is one of the two clauses in the BCS contract that is most open to legal challenges (the other is the unequal payouts for non-AQs that qualify for BCS games). One of the justifications for the distinction between AQ and non-AQs is that AQ conferences have proven that AQ status is a reward for the most for the “best of the best” and that non-AQs can move up if they prove they are deserving on the field. However, the BCS has never been able to properly justify what makes Notre Dame different from every other school in the country nor have they provided any mechanism for other schools to earn the same privileges ND is entitled to.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            frug:

            The lawyers can step in here later, but I believe an AG has no “client” but the state (or, if you will, the citizens of that state). If we follow your reasoning, then no AG could sue a company based in that state (on behalf of citizens in that state), which would be pretty ludicrous.

            Like

          • frug says:

            Yes the AG’s only client is the state of Utah, the thing is, Utah State and the University of Utah are both public schools and, therefore, legally owned by the state of Utah.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            frug:

            Pretty certain that’s not the case. Each state university may be different, but from what I understand, most public universities aren’t owned by the state. They get state assistance (funding) and in return offer lower tuition to in-state students (and many offer some but not complete control to the state as well), but they aren’t actually owned by the state. That’s why some public schools have thought of dropping the state affiliation to go private.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            I think Richard is wrong about the status of (most) public universities,but right on the conflicts rule. Although there may be weird situations (I think of New York and Pennsylvania for starters), I think most public schools are considered arms of the state government. In some states, one or more public universities is specifically established by the state constitution, and I don’t knwo how you get much more “owned by the state” than that. Indeed, it isn’t so much that the school is “owned by the state” than that it is the state.

            I do not think that the Utah AG’s position could plausibly be described as a conflict of interest, although it raises kind of an interesting ethical question. Usually when an entity is the client, there is some body (board of directors or CEO or something) making policy decisions for the entity which the organization’s counsel is effectuating. In Utah, where the Attorney General is popularly elected in his own right, he doesn’t answer to anybody but himself as to what’s in the State’s best interest.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            frug,

            The AG doesn’t have a conflict because he believes that even the AQs are harmed by the BCS, just not as much. Part of his claims are the millions left on the table that a playoff could generate.

            Like

          • frug says:

            @Richard

            The relationship you are describing is what is typically referred to as a “publicly associated” university, the two best known being Pitt and Penn State. In this situation school’s accept a relatively small amount of public money in exchange for making certain concessions to the state, but otherwise essentially operate as private schools.

            Publicly owned schools on the other hand, are legally the property of the state just like the DMV or state police. Probably the easiest way to make the distinction is whether or not the school is subject to public disclosure laws. Utah and Utah State are, Penn State and Pitt are not.

            @everyone one else who replied to my post

            Did some digging and found this article from Sports Illustrated back in November. (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/andy_staples/11/05/bcs-antitrust/index.html) In it the AG addresses this very issue. Money quote,

            He also mentioned that because the University of Utah is about to join the Pac-12, the state could be in the awkward position of suing one of its own clients. He said this wouldn’t matter, first because Utah State is a client and also because he believes his cause is just.

            Now, the AG has yet to actually file his lawsuit so we don’t know yet who the target will actually be, but if he follows through with the plan laid out in this article, he seems to be admitting there is a potential conflict but that he just doesn’t care.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            Happens all the time. I think calling it a “conflict of interest” is raising hackles because that term is thrown around when a lawyer must withdraw from a representation because of conflicting duties owed to clients. That will not be the case here. For example, in any of the States where gay marriage bans have been put in place, if the flagship state university attempted to recognize domestic partnerships or gay marriages (perhaps relationships solemnized in other states), I have little doubt that the AG would be within his rights to sue (in the name of “the State”) the specific arm of state government (the university).

            Like

        • Brian says:

          Frank,

          ND has a sweetheart deal because they can perform like Rutgers or Duke every year yet get paid like UF or OU. When they actually qualify for the BCS, they get 2-3 times that much. Since the media sycophants will gift them a high ranking if they just show up, the problem is even worse.

          ND’s base payout should be less than what an AQ school makes when it doesn’t qualify, because ND doesn’t have any conference mates picking up the slack in those years. Likewise, they shouldn’t get paid that much more when they do qualify.

          ND should have to qualify under the same rules as any non-AQ.

          Like

          • Gopher86 says:

            Let the hate flow through you. It makes you stronger.

            Like

          • ohio1317 says:

            They bring a lot more to the table than the non-AQ conferences though. The BCS bowls all want Notre Dame and it brings them a lot when they can get it. It used to be all or nothing, Notre Dame would get the full $14 or $16 million dollars if they made it and nothing if they didn’t. They shifted the system so Notre Dame’s not getting anymore than the BCS conferences (#1 million if they aren’t there, $4 million if they are). Given what Notre Dame brings to the table, that’s certainly not a worse deal than say paying the Big East champ the same as the SEC champ.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Gopher86,

            I really don’t hate ND. I don’t feel strongly about them, it’s not like they’re a rival of my alma mater. It does bother me to see a system that singles out one school explicitly for special consideration. It’s worse with ND because they get every benefit of the doubt from the system anyway (easier to get rankings, most desirable at-large for each bowl, etc). ND will get picked in any year they are eligible, so why make a special rule to make their selection automatic? It sets up legal questions unnecessarily.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            ohio,

            ND brings more to the BCS than the non-AQs when they get in, but they get paid as much as some non-AQ conferences even when they don’t get in. What does ND bring in all the years they don’t qualify?

            They get $1.7M for not making it and $4+M when they do qualify. They may be worth the $4+M, but the $1.7M is too high.

            Like

        • bullet says:

          It would be a big deal for BYU. As you point out its irrelevant for ND. I still don’t like singling out a school. Even if its meaningless in real life, it has prestige and recruiting advantages there are no reasons for the 6 conferences to give away.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            I believe one change they made last time was that all wildcards get the lower payout (roughly $6 million vs. $21 million). So there are 6 full shares, 4 smaller shares and then the guaranteed payouts to the other conferences (about $18 million last year) and ND. That ND gets the wild card share was at least one stand the 6 conferences took.

            Like

        • Jake says:

          If BYU wants BCS status, the Big East is looking for a tenth team …

          But let’s say they make an exception for BYU. What’s to stop other schools from going independent and seeking the same deal? What if Boise State tried it? What if the academies demanded that deal? Their AG wields a little more clout than Utah’s. You could argue that BYU deserves special treatment because they have a lot of fans, but you aren’t going to win many people over with that one.

          Like

  25. ohio1317 says:

    On a side note, little in college sports drives me more mad than claims of anti-trust against the BCS. You have a groups of bowls that actually let in outsiders. It may not be what playoff proponents want, but it’s a heck of a lot less of a trust than any of the professional sports which are completely closed systems. You can start up your own professional baseball team, but you stand zero chance of making the World Series because your team isn’t in MLB. Same goes for every other major sport. The BCS is the only major entity of its kind that allows outsiders in and somehow it receives the most flack for anti-trust issues.

    None of this is to say people shouldn’t push for a playoff if that’s what they want. This just isn’t the way to do it.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      Some/many pro sports have an anti-trust exemption, however.

      There is also the issue of universities being tax exempt entities. How would minor league football compete with that tax break?

      Like

    • Robber Baron says:

      It’s true, the outsiders do have some access to the BCS bowls, and if an anti-trust argument hinges on the opposite being true, then it will probably fail. However, while the system may be offer access to a BCS bowl it most certainly does not offer access to the one that matters most, the “championship.”

      Like

      • R says:

        You are saying there is not any way for a non AQ to reach number 2 in the BCS pre-bowl rankings. That is almost certainly not true, as with, quite possibly an Auburn or, certainly an Oregon loss in the final pre-bowl game, TCU would have moved to number 2 and a spot in the championship game this past season. Just because it is more difficult for non AQs with respect to their schedules, doesn’t mean it is impossible.

        Like

        • Robber Baron says:

          Since Oregon and Auburn did not lose their late regular-season games we didn’t get to find out if TCU would have gotten a spot in the BCS title game. But I saw plenty of broadcasts and read plenty of articles that argued that should Auburn lose a game, they should still be ranked higher than TCU.

          Like

          • R says:

            That is why I said quite possibly with regard to an Auburn loss. The SEC media machine(Gary Danielson) spent 5 weeks pushing a one loss SEC champ over TCU, or Boise State, should they have gone undefeated. Personally, I am always on the side of undefeated teams that don’t get a chance to prove they are the best. I would prefer a four team playoff, after the bowls, which would almost always take care of the undefeated issue. But, since that starts us down the slippery road to a large playoff, I don’t see it ever happening.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            They start pushing a one loss SEC team getting in starting in mid to late July…..

            Like

        • ohio1317 says:

          Even if it’s true that a non-AQ will never make a championship game (and I suspect they will), it doesn’t matter. The BCS would have to prevent all access to the BCS bowls to the non-AQ just to be at the same level of a trust all of the major professional teams sports league are today.

          A team outside of MLB has zero access to the World Series. An professional football team outside the NFL would have not access to the Super Bowl.

          Like

    • Adam says:

      I think you’re comparing fruit and furniture.

      A league should be able to exclude non-members of the league from competing for the league championship. Nobody is stopping you from starting another league.

      The BCS, by contrast, is an agreement between leagues to restrain members of other leagues from participating in something that, by its own terms, is not a function of those leagues (indeed, it purports to be a “national championship”). Anti-competitive behavior involving multiple firms (what the Sherman Act calls “concerted activity”) “is judged more sternly than unilateral activity.” Copperweld Corp. v. Independence Tube Corp., 467 U.S. 752, 768 (1984). The Supreme Court has effectively said that the pro sports leagues will be treated as a single business (which cannot conspire with itself, and thus generally gets an anti-trust pass) for some purposes but not for others, as convenience and common sense dictate. Compare Am. Needle, Inc. v. NFL, 130 S. Ct. 2201, 2217 (2010) (NFL not treated as a single entity “when it comes to the marketing of the teams’ individually owned intellectual property”) with Brown v. Pro Football, Inc., 518 U.S. 231, 248 (1996) (“[T]he clubs that make up a professional sports league are not completely independent economic competitors, as they depend upon a degree of cooperation for economic survival.”) and NCAA v. Bd. of Regents, 468 U.S. 85, 101 (1984) (“[T]his case involves an industry in which horizontal restraints on competition are essential if the product is to be available at all.”).

      It is not true that only baseball has an anti-trust exemption, although baseball’s is broader. The Supreme Court has held that baseball is simply not controlled by the anti-trust laws: “The business is giving exhibitions of base ball, which are purely state affairs. It is true that in order to attain for these exhibitions the great popularity that they have achieved, competitions must be arranged between clubs from different cities and States. But the fact that in order [259 U.S. 200, 209] to give the exhibitions the Leagues must induce free persons to cross state lines and must arrange and pay for their doing so is not enough to change the character of the business.” Fed. Baseball Club of Balt., Inc. v. Nat’l League of Prof’l Baseball Clubs, 259 U.S. 200, 208-09 (1922). That reasoning has since been repudiated and described as an “anomaly” and an “aberration,” but not overruled because it “has been with us now for half a century” (at the time of writing) and “rests on a recognition and an acceptance of baseball’s unique characteristics and needs,” even though “[o]ther professional sports operating interstate . . . are not so exempt.” Flood v. Kuhn, 407 U.S. 258, 282-83 (1972).

      So, as noted, the leagues are not anti-competitive when it comes to the sort of thing ohio1317 speaks of. Moreover, baseball is completely exempt due to an anomalous historical artifact. The other leagues would have other major anti-trust problems, like their coordinated sale of (national) broadcast rights and granting exclusive broadcast and marketing territories — but they have been statutorily exempted. See 15 U.S.C. §§ 1291-1293 (2006).

      Like

      • Adam says:

        Frank, could you put an italics tag after the caption to the American Needle case there? Apparently I forgot and it got the italics all messed up.

        Like

      • Adam says:

        Oh, and if you could cut out the page reference that I left in from pasting the Fed. Baseball Club opinion, that’d make it look cleaner too. Sorry to ask you to do this cleanup.

        Like

      • ohio1317 says:

        Yes baseball does have an official exemption (although the NFL and NBA do not). I knew that so not sure why I went to them as the first example.

        My point does stand though. It would be far, far easier to argue in a court that the NFL, NBA, etc are monopolies than to argue that the BCS is. The NFL and NBA have so much effective control of the professional level of their sport that no viable competition outside their control is realistically going to emerge.

        The fact that this is deemed within the law would make bringing a case against the BCS, which is set up similar (teams/conferences setting-up a postseason set of events), but which actually has a much more open mechanism for including new teams, extremely difficult. How could a court consistently say that the NFL is not a monopoly, but that the BCS is?

        Like

        • Morgan Wick says:

          By claiming that the NFL and BCS are wholly different qualitatively.

          The NFL, a court could conceivably (from a layman’s perspective) claim, is actually an association of 32 teams, and membership in that association is a reasonable term of doing business unless it is controlled by a few members. (This was part of the argument in the American Needle case. Now, if a court ruled that way they might require the NFL to stop monopolizing TV contracts for all regular season games, but that’s another matter.)

          The BCS, however, is an attempt by so many number of teams to collude to actively restrain trade by keeping certain privledges (money, the national championship) to themselves, at the expense of other teams supposedly participating in the same market.

          In other words, if your attempt at monopoly is actually successful, it’s A-OK. 😉

          One result of this could end up being some sort of attempt to adopt a variant of my promotion/relegation idea. Again from a layman’s perspective, the courts might decide that if you brought in some outsiders into the cartel, you have to let them all in and turn it into a more NFL-like structure. The BCS would then have to get creative somehow, to squeeze more teams in on the one hand and send others out of I-A entirely on the other.

          Like

        • Adam says:

          It would not be easier to do that, because, given the authority I cited above, I am pretty confident that a court would view those leagues as a “single entity” for the purposes that you are describing. The NFL has been held to be an illegal monopoly before, in the USFL litigation — and in that case, it was the NFL (as an entity) arguably engaging in anti-competitive behavior against another, competing entity (the USFL). An organization cannot conspire with itself in an anti-competitive fashion. What you’re arguing is akin to saying that Apple has a “monopoly” on iPads or something. Well, true, but if you don’t want an iPad, get a Xoom or a PlayBook or one of the many other competing tablets. And anti-trust law is not necessarily concerned with “effective control” of a market, in that a monopoly due to network effects isn’t necessarily problematic.

          The distinction between a pro sports league and college sports is that the teams and the league in pro sports are symbiotic: for all intents and purposes, there are no teams without the league, and no league without the teams. This is why the courts have fudged on the “single entity” question, treating pro sports leagues as single entities for some purposes but not for others. By contrast, there is no symbiotic relationship in the college sports context: universities and their athletic programs exist a priori to the leagues they belong to (I think the famous example being Notre Dame). As a result, there is no reasonable argument that I can see for fudging on the issue of whether college sports leagues/organizations are “single entities” for some purposes but not for others, as at the pro sports level.

          Like

  26. Mike says:

    Q&A with Delaney

    http://www.omaha.com/article/20110420/BIGRED/704219837


    JD: “We’re in a good place. We’ve got a long-term BTN agreement. Then we’ll go back to market probably in ’14 or ’15. Our last year of our ESPN agreement is ’16-’17, but we’ll be out there again in the marketplace I think in the fall of ’15.”


    JD: “Well, I think you’re right that Ohio State has had a great program. They’ve got 100 players, they’ve got 10 coaches and they’ve been through a decade of success. I think they have to own up and man up to what happened in this instance. I think they will; I think they are.

    Like

    • ohio1317 says:

      Here is a prediction that goes against the grain right. The next round of contracts will be much smaller than the current round. This is not due to change in the sport itself, but changes in the economy.

      Like

      • Nostradamus says:

        When does the next round officially start? And how do you define less?

        Like

      • Brian says:

        Are you talking tier 1 TV only, or total value for all rights?

        Like

        • ohio1317 says:

          I’m talking everything. It’s the general economy I think that’s going to bring them down (and not by a little) and it will be interesting to see how the industry adapts. If I was wagering right now, I’d say there will be fewer I-AA teams in 2016 rather than more.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            I’ve thought the same thing for 5-10 years, but the number keeps going up. I thought the recession would drop numbers. But the only ones dropping lately are private schools in the NE who fairly recently re-instated. Commuter schools all over the south are adding football (last 20 years just off the top of my head-FAU, FIU, UCF, USF, GA St., Charlotte, ODU, Lamar, UTSA, S. AL, SE LA, UAB-with several more discussing it In GA and FL) and a number of private schools as well.

            A decline in FCS and lower level FBS may still happen, but the Presidents really seem to believe the investment of $3-$7 million a year is worth it. They haven’t hit the tipping point yet.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            I’ve wondered how MAC members Kent, E. Michigan, Ball St. and Akron survive, but they do. I thought Akron would fold the program due to their need for a new stadium, but instead they built a new one. And schools like Troy, WKU, AR St. and UL Monroe move up when they fit much better in FCS.

            I agree with your logic, but the results are the opposite.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            The MAC teams survive on student fees and institutional support, like most non-AQs.

            http://businessofcollegesports.com/2011/04/29/how-does-the-mid-american-conference-stack-up-financially/

            Like

      • Morgan Wick says:

        I think this is a very possible prediction, but not because of the sport or the economy, at least not directly.

        Rather, it will be because of people deciding to cut their cable on the one hand, making previous cable-heavy deals seem incredibly stupid and making broadcast a far more important component (meaning Turner will be less important – unless they put sports on the CW – and everyone else will have to make the numbers work for the broadcast side), and drop TV entirely in favor of internet streaming on the other, making the TV deal less important anyway.

        Smart leagues may decide they don’t need ESPN, Versus, or any other “network” in a wired future, and keep their digital rights in-house.

        Like

        • ccrider55 says:

          “Smart leagues may decide they don’t need ESPN, Versus, or any other “network” in a wired future, and keep their digital rights in-house.”…………The Pac 12 has already given all media (including digital) rights to the conference.

          Like

        • Richard says:

          For TV contracts, maybe, but not overall media contracts. If people want the content, the content-makers will get paid.

          Like

        • bullet says:

          The broadcasters are already including internet rights in their contracts. I don’t think its that big a threat to them. The question, as always with the internet, is how to cash in.

          Like

          • Morgan Wick says:

            It’s not that big a threat to them… until conferences and leagues decide they want to “cut out the middleman”.

            Like

          • PSUGuy says:

            I’ve been saying for a while…if the BTN created a program for the PS3 (or XBox/Wii, like Netflix does) or some other mass marketable online distribution method that allowed me to stream all its content and charged $50 – $100 a year I’d buy it in an instant.

            Now that’s one way to “cut out the middle man”.

            Like

      • Richard says:

        You see another depression-level crash on the horizon? Because that would be required, and even that may not keep down rights fees.

        Like

        • PSUGuy says:

          No, but right now interest rates are at ridiculous lows. The cable companies can afford to take out out VERY low interest loans, “invest” that money in large, long term deals with sports leagues/conferences, and bank on the fact that live sports’ ad revenue will be able to more than make up for the expenditures.

          IMO, in a couple years (say 5ish) people won’t be dropping cable to pay for bills like they are now, but I wouldn’t be expecting them to be adding ton’s of subscriptions either. At the same time, Fed types might be worrying about inflation and would have to bump interest rates up to compensate.

          ESPN, et al can afford to shell out a quarter billion to the SEC at 3% and still turn a nice profit. Can they do the same at 6%? 10%?

          That’s how conference (and all league’s) could start to see their rights fees be “trimmed back” because there won’t be nearly the demand for their product (at least at the prices they hope to get).

          Like

          • Richard says:

            However, the content providers would still get paid because viewers will still pay for content, and advertisers will still pay for viewers. This is even more true if the economy gets better, as advertising is a high-beta industry.

            The cable industry may not be able to take out low-rate loans in the future, but so long as viewers watch, the content-makers will get paid.

            Like

        • ohio1317 says:

          Basically. Trying to comment here without changing the subject much, but I see the world a lot different 3 years from now (5 at a maximum).

          Like

  27. bullet says:

    Since Frank is tweeting about 1919:

    Say it ain’t so Loki!!!

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/college/rice/7532371.html

    Even at Rice-4 in a week. At least a couple were just doing a Texas thing-packing a firearm.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      The Utah/Colorado value comments are interesting. Rights fees are getting so high, it makes the hurdle to further expansion that much higher. So some of the media experts doubt the ccg + Utah + CU was worth going from 10 to 12. If you are making $5 million a year on media rights, its easier to justify expansion. At $20 million its a lot tougher.

      The $ may mean the B1G and Big 12 may be stuck with their mathematically incorrect names for quite some time.

      Like

      • ccrider55 says:

        I believe that was Wilners thought (knowing it would drive traffic to his blog) as the could just as well have commented that analysts had not once commented on CU and UU diluting the pool. All he says is that they made no comment. How does adding the Big 12ish’s second largest media market and the Salt Lake region not improve the conference’s media attractiveness? Not to mention the increased inventory of events, CCG, future growth, etc. CU and UU are in. Talk about “what if” in their case makes far less sense than speculating about future “what if’s” in other institutions cases.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          Its not just his speculation. In the last paragraph of the section he says, “Many media analysts are skeptical….”

          Its consistent with what the Big 12 found. Their TV consultants said that CU was no loss. They didn’t carry their weight.

          Colorado is a lot like California. They do lots of other things than watch college sports. And that is reflected in the value CU brings.

          Now if I was the commissioner, I would want CU an UU even if they were slightly negative in the short term. I think they add a lot of intangibles-exposure from the championship game, a different time zone creating more exposure, two of the fastest growing states in the country and ones that unlike AZ and CA don’t have serious water issues, increased stature of the conference relative to the competition and finally, adding Utah was a dagger in the heart of the MWC’s AQ desires. So the Pac beat off a potential serious competitive threat-BYU and TCU followed UU out the door.

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            I would argue that without the conference shakeups Big 12 has no change to current TV contracts until they are up, the Pac 10 winds up at maybe ACC numbers (this is the number that needs to be used in a comparison, not an arbitrary 200 mil that has only been talked of as possible since the Pac expansion) with no change to the revenue sharing structure, ESPN doesn’t need to back a dump truck of money up to Texas. The escalation of prices would ahve been much more modest.

            The forces that made Nebraska attractive to the B1G and Colorado to the Pac 12 were (and are still) real. Neither conferences are currently being governed by financial idiots. The moves by them, and others, have helped create the seeming feeding frenzy over live sports broadcast properties.

            The Big 12ish should thank the Pac and B1G for their fortunate position of being able to capitalize, even in a weakened position, on certain entities desire to delay/avert the formation of super conferences.

            Like

          • joe4psu says:

            I think it was a combination of the success of the BTN and Scott’s bold attempt to annex Texlahoma plus start a Pac-12 network which led to the current situation. I’m not sure that the realignment was even necessary for the pressures to exist which have created today’s situation.

            The success of the BTN led to the SEC’s monster contract, which at the time seemed to be over valued. I think it was the combination of the BTN’s success and Scott’s attempt to annex Texlahoma while pushing a conference network that led to the ACC’s huge contract, last years concessions to the B12 and this years B12 contract with Fox. If the B12 had remained intact we probably see the same results.

            Like

    • Morgan Wick says:

      Incidentially, CBS gets mentioned so little in these rights discussions. They’d better hope taking the C out of CBS CS gets them some decent contracts pretty quick, or they could find themselves in trouble with their sports division shrinking. (Or did I already say that?)

      Like

      • Morgan Wick says:

        Of course, shacking up with Turner like on the NCAA Tournament could help.

        Like

      • @Morgan Wick – The main reason is that CBS (the over-the-air network) is locked in with the SEC for late afternoons until the middle of the next decade, so they can’t really offer very much (as prime time games aren’t very realistic). I actually think CBS has a fairly good pace to its year-round sports schedule (NFL, SEC football, college basketball and NCAA Tournament, Masters and a full golf slate, US Open tennis) – it’s just going to be hard to build up the cable-based CBS Sports Network without many major sports properties available and limited time slots to offer on the CBS OTA mothership for those are are up for bid.

        Like

        • Jake says:

          They better not start showing football in Saturday primetime – there’ll be hell to pay if they touch my 48 Hours Mystery.

          Like

  28. Ron says:

    To be honest, the PAC needed to do something just to reach in and consolidate the Mountain time zone. Grabbing both Colorado and Utah weakened the influence of both the MWC and the Big 12 in those markets (and generally, with the loss of TCU and BYU for the MWC and the reduced overall size of the Big 12). Even if it turns out to be a break-even (or small short-term loss) financially for the PAC, there is a definite value in obtaining in territory gained for the long term. Frank rates conferences like the Big 12 and the ACC roughly at par with the current PAC12. That makes some sense as things stand now… but the PAC now has definite room to grow via expansion whereas the Big 12 and ACC may prove to be a little hemmed in and ultimately face a struggle to even hold the schools in place that they’ve got now.

    Like

  29. greg says:

    http://qctimes.com/sports/columnists/doxsie/article_d464f566-6e29-11e0-b086-001cc4c002e0.html

    If you’re one of those Big Ten football fans who despised the frequent 11 a.m. starting times for games, take heart. They might be a thing of the past.

    Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany reportedly is lobbying hard in negotiations with the television networks to do away with them. If Delany has his way, all Big Ten games next season will start at either noon, 3:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.

    Like

    • Adam says:

      The first part of this doesn’t make any sense to me. “[A]ll Big Ten games next season will start at either noon, 3:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.” Eastern or Central? Because if it’s Eastern, all Big Ten games already start at one of those 3 times. By contrast, basically no game starts at any of those times in the Central Time Zone. So this leaves me befuddled.

      Like

      • Adam says:

        Note that I am not defending 11am starts, which I think stink, but it would make more sense to say “If Delany has his way, all Big Ten games being played in the Central Time Zone will be in the 3:30 ET/2:30 CT broadcast window,” or something similar that also makes sense.

        Like

        • Mike says:

          At first I thought that was a misprint, but if you think about it, it leaves you with a triple header for all the second tier games with out a break. The “prime” game would still be on ESPN at 8ET. IMHO, 11 CDT Kickoff’s are too ealry.

          Like

      • greg says:

        Its a newspaper in the central time zone, so its referring to central times. Currently they are 11/2:30/7 (although BTN also has a 6pm timeslot, but I assume this isn’t being discussed since B10 already tells BTN what to do). This claims he wants 12/3:30/7.

        I like 11am start times. When I get up on Saturday, I’m ready for football to start. And when our game is early, the earlier I get home to watch other games.

        Like

        • Adam says:

          Yeah but he mixes and matches his references to Central and Eastern time. That’s what I found so confusing. He kind of careens between them with no rhyme or reason.

          Like

          • greg says:

            In my reading, all the times are central.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            So when he writes:
            “Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany reportedly is lobbying hard in negotiations with the television networks to do away with them. If Delany has his way, all Big Ten games next season will start at either noon, 3:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.”
            He means that all games will start at 1pm, 4:30pm, or 8pm ET?

            Like

          • @Adam – I had the same initial reaction as you where I thought Delany was confusingly mixing Eastern and Central time slots. I could see a push to move the early games to 1:00 pm ET/12:00 pm CT, but a 4:30 pm ET/3:30 pm CT time slot simply isn’t possible with ABC/ESPN. The late afternoon game has to start at 3:30 pm ET/2:30 pm CT no matter what as part of the ABC regional coverage and the network’s affiliates would go apes**t if they took away the 6:00 pm CT hour from them (where they usually show profitable local news shows or syndicated fare like Wheel of Fortune).

            Like

          • Mike says:

            If I had to guess the 1/3:30/7 ET windows would be the BTN start times. ABC windows would still be 12/3:30/8 ET.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            All of this is interesting speculation but we’re ultimately left guessing what the hell this article actually meant to report.

            Like

          • greg says:

            I also find it surprising that the Quad City Times is scooping the rest of the media world. Or maybe just incorrect.

            Like

          • Nostradamus says:

            @Mike,
            That would be my guess as well. It would also fit in with the information from about 2 months ago that the Big Ten/BTN was negotiating with ABC re: the 2:30 cst exclusive ABC window.

            In theory the BTN isn’t bound by the traditional network windows other than the fact they can’t currently show a game from 2:30 to 6:00 (which ironically does make them bound by the traditional windows in a way). Basically they can kick off at 11 or after 6 right now. If you combine the negotiations we heard about 2 months ago with this story it looks like they may want to delay the BTN kickoffs by an hour.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            ABC virtually never shows the 11AM CST/noon EST games. I think what Delany is wanting is for the BTN to show games at noon CST and ESPN to show B10 games at noon CST (infringing on ABC’s window).

            I think, if Delany gets his way, you’ll see ESPN show a B10 game at 1PM/noon, ESPN2 show an ACC/BE game at noon/11AM, maybe ESPNU show a B10 game at 1PM/noon, and the other early B10 games shown by BTN at 1PM/noon.

            This still allows ESPN2 to show the reverse mirror of the afternoon ABC game.

            The other alternative is that ESPN & ESPN2 pretty much never show an early B10 game (all on BTN or ESPNU at 1PM/noon) but ESPN/ESPN2 shows a B10 game at 3:30/2:30.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            This would seem to hurt exposure. General schedule seems to be 11 AM Central Big 10 on ESPN AND ESPN2. 2:30 Central Big 10 on ABC. Plus one on BTN or other channel and maybe a later game on ESPN. In both Houston and Atlanta we get at least 4 Big 10 games every Saturday without any pay channels.

            Big 10 is dominating that 11 am Central window on ESPN. For the Eastern teams that is noon, so its a reasonable time for them. Perhaps it is hurting the live gate on the central time zone schools (excluding UW who fills up no matter what).

            Like

          • bullet says:

            If the B10 doesn’t want the 11 am central starts, I suspect ESPN will start filling some of them with SEC schools. That’s not what the Big 10 wants.

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            bullet – the SEC runs its Tier-3 syndicated SEC-TV game at an 11:30 am kick-off and the ESPN/ESPN2 slots in prime time.

            Like

      • greg says:

        I don’t see how the 12/3:30/7 demand would work, as the 3:30 games would overlap the 7pm games by an hour.

        About the biggest complaint people have about 11am games is that they can’t get drunk enough, so I don’t think Delany should be worried about that.

        Like

    • Brian says:

      I’m hoping he means they just want to get rid of 11CT starts for games hosted in the CTZ. He can’t get rid of 12 ET starts as that is a prime window for ESPN.

      Like

      • Adam says:

        The noon/3:30 ET scheduling arrangement seems so deeply ingrained that, at the very least, it did not seem credible to me that Delany could be proposing that and this article would talk about it as casually as it did. This tends to suggest that when he talks about noon/3:30/7, he’s speaking in ET terms. If so, then it’s not clear what the change would be (as the article is worded, the status quo is already what Delany is supposedly pushing for), which is why I said “it would make more sense to say ‘If Delany has his way, all Big Ten games being played in the Central Time Zone will be in the 3:30 ET/2:30 CT broadcast window,’ or something similar that also makes sense.”

        Like

        • Adam says:

          I should say, did not seem credible to me that Delany could be proposing changing that and have the article author talk so casually about that.

          Like

    • 84lion says:

      The only solid thing I get out of this is that the negotiations between the Big Ten and ESPN/ABC (presumably resulting from the addition of Nebraska to the conference) are still ongoing. If start times are a topic of discussion it kinda tells me that either the Big Ten is angling for more money than ESPN/ABC has so far put on the table, or that they’re looking for some sort of “in-kind” consideration so it doesn’t appear they’ve added Nebraska and not enriched the contract.
      We are coming up on the end of April. Aren’t the Big Ten “designated night games” for the upcoming season normally published by now?

      Like

  30. Steve says:

    9 of 11 members of the Fiesta Bowl Review Panel were on Fiesta Bowl Junkets. What a joke! As the article says, “this is a jury of the bowl’s former freeloaders”. Where does this bowl nonsense end?
    http://detnews.com/article/20110425/SPORTS0203/104250418/1361/CMU-AD–ex-Michigan-official-attended-scrutinized-%E2%80%98Fiesta-Frolic%E2%80%99

    Like

  31. frug says:

    Hooray! The lockout is OVER… until the league is granted the stay they will inevitably seek.

    Like

    • frug says:

      Should note that some players have been begun reporting for off season workouts. Some are being allowed in the building but prohibited from the weight room. This could be an issue in labor suit since some players are entitled to significant bonuses if they participate in off season workouts.

      Like

  32. Wise Man says:

    There really is nothing new about advertisers paying a premium for 18-34, this has gone on for decades….

    You got the growth of DVRs as a key driver, but you really missed the biggest……TV ratings in general are dropping. Sports TV ratings have dropped too actually, over the last 25 years, but recently have bottomed out, or have seen a slight uptick.

    College Football in particular has seen some growth in the past decade……growth the NFL can’t even claim.

    Another point, it’s not so much people older than 34 don’t change brands…..it is just that people 18-34 are in a period of life where they largely choose brands for the first time of their life and many of these people will remain loyal. It is several times cheaper to add a new consumers than to get one to switch….the categories that see a lot of switching, those categories tend to be price driven and not at all premium products…more commodities.

    Like

  33. jj says:

    Anyone like to lay odds on the sweater vest’s survival rate? I’m thinking about a 20% chance he resigns.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      100% survival through the August hearing and this season. Depending on the sanctions, he’ll probably not resign. OSU will not fire him before going through the NCAA process as they’ve been burned by a lawsuit for firing a coach to quickly before.

      Depending on how bad the sanctions are, OSU may or may not end up firing him. There are rumors that some of the trustees want him fired (not the most powerful one, though), but the fans support him and so do some of the other power brokers.

      Like

    • Pat says:

      This will be Tressel’s last year, if he’s even allowed to resume coaching after the 5th game. Penalties from the NCAA will be heavy. Probably scholarship reductions that will really hurt the program.
      The other question that needs to be answered — Is Urban Meyer interested in returning to coaching in 2012? Assuming he’s healthy and motivated, Meyer is the obvious choice. He grew up in Ohio and worked as a graduate assistant at OSU so he would be returning home. And, he’s won two national championships. This is a no brainer.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        A lot of OSU fans despise Meyer and think he ran a dirty program based on the arrest numbers. He certainly wouldn’t get universal support. I would struggle to support OSU if they hired Meyer.

        Like

    • M says:

      I cannot envision any way that he is the coach in 2012. Whether that arises from a firing, resignation, or a show-cause penalty is up for debate.

      Like

    • PSUGuy says:

      Not that I think he shouldn’t get tossed on his ass like he deserves, but does anyone else think it hilarious how hard they are going after OSU when Auburn didn’t even get a slap on the wrist last year?

      Like

      • Nostradamus says:

        The situations are pretty different int terms of being able to actually prove something. Tressel made it pretty easy for the NCAA. There is a now public paper trail proving he knew about the issue, and then him essentially covering it up while telling everyone, but the University and the NCAA. It is about as cut and dry as can be.

        Auburn is a different story, because you still have to be able to prove the allegations. Unless some sort of off-shore banking account is discovered and turned over to the NCAA the situations aren’t really comparable. I’d bet the NCAA is still digging for information on Auburn though. Tressel is just out there right now, because it is so egregious.

        Like

        • PSUGuy says:

          Cam Newton’s father had a church that needed fixed up to bring it up to code. They didn’t have the money to fix it and had a contractor who was going to do it for free drop out because of the financial crisis…~9 months after Newton signs with Auburn the church has all the work done and is up to code.

          Seems like a pretty obvious “paper trail” to start digging into…

          Like

        • PSUGuy says:

          Oh and just to add, if anything I think the OSU situation is far less of a problem than what looks to have happened at Auburn.

          Tressel lied to the NCAA (and deserves to be punished) but is getting enough press to possibly force an early “retirement”.

          Auburn has, at the very least, called into question the entire college recruiting system and at worst flat out bought players for sums of money most of us won’t see ever and didn’t even get a slap on the wrist to show for it.

          IMO, its a joke.

          Like

          • Adam says:

            This is why I had a hard time getting so worked up about Tressel. It’s not that what he did was OK or something, but when you get caught lying to the NCAA, I had little doubt the chickens would come home to roost eventually, and because of the dynamics you mention, I just was prepared to accept whatever outcome the stakeholders (many of whom have reason to go after Tressel hard) produced.

            What bothers me about Auburn is that almost all of the stakeholders have an incentive to look the other way, precisely because it “call[s] into question the entire college recruiting system,” which is a box nobody wants to open. That is why I find the Auburn situation more vexing.

            Like

    • Gopher86 says:

      He brings up some excellent points. He certainly has leverage over the bowl system from a mud raking / fear of transparency stand point.

      Like

    • Brian says:

      Is anyone surprised that Wetzel would take that stand? He is in no way objective on this issue. A suit may force an end to the BCS, but that just means the old bowl system returns. Nobody can force a playoff but the presidents and they show no inclination to pursue it.

      Like

      • Adam says:

        Wetzel’s theory is that the bowls are afraid of transparency. If they are afraid of transparency, then it may be more along the lines of a playoff or no postseason at all.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          But as usual, Wetzel has no evidence. The Fiesta may be in trouble, mostly for the election laws violations, but even it may survive just fine. Maybe the Orange and Sugar have some issues too. The lesser bowls don’t have anywhere near the money involved or available, so I doubt they have the same issues.

          Like

          • Adam says:

            Well, nobody is going to be really all that excited to find that bowl executives are blowing significant amounts of money on either (a) nothing or (b) odious expenditures (strip clubs and so forth). The scale may not be Fiesta-esque, but since most of the institutions involved are public schools, it’s outrageous no matter what the scale (government waste always infuriates people).

            Like

      • joe4psu says:

        I’m not surprised Wetzel take’s that stand but it doesn’t matter if he has a good point.

        If the BS schools return to the old system it will hit the fan. If they think they’ve taken heat the last couple of years it will be nothing compared to the outcry from fans that will come.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          It’s not clear that he has a good point, though. A lot of people seem to assume killing the BCS (which is questionable with a suit) would lead to a playoff, but the presidents don’t want one.

          Fans can complain all they want, but until people stop donating, buying tickets and/or watching on TV nobody is listening to them.

          Like

          • Adam says:

            I think this objection confuses two things. I think that winning an anti-trust suit would have this effect — it would just mean that the old bowl system was resurrected. But Wetzel’s point here is that, totally separate from the merits of the lawsuit and whether, even in victory, the suit provides adequate remedies, the litigation process itself may put unsustainable pressure on the bowl system (not the BCS as such, but bowls generally), since it will bring to light practices that the public is unaware of and over which it will be rousted to anger/outrage. That, it seems to me, is plausible. A court may not be able to order a playoff to remedy the anti-trust violation, but if bowls themselves go extinct, it is doubtful that they would tolerate no postseason at all, and at that point you’ve given them an incentive to voluntarily create a playoff.

            Like

  34. Pat says:

    Excellent article in SBJ on how Versus beat ESPN for NHL contract. NHL didn’t have to give up future interna
    http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2011/04/25/Media/NHL-media-rights.aspx

    Like

    • Adam says:

      Now that Comcast owns NBC, I am hopeful that they will be able to leverage the combined NBC/Versus array of properties to turn Versus into something closer to a must-have network for general sports fans. It’s probable that nothing will ever match ESPN. But, watching the NHL playoffs, I have seen lots of ads for them promoting Versus coverage of stuff like the draw for the Kentucky Derby, and that has just had me ruminating on the possibility of Versus being a way to amplify NBC’s sports properties on the cable side in a way that cable subscribers want badly enough to get it added to expanded basic cable in more places.

      Like

      • Gopher86 says:

        I see it being a non-regional version of FSN. NBC should have some good spill over premium content, mixed with hockey and perhaps some second tier games from college and pros.

        Like

    • Richard says:

      I have to say, drawing an audience that is roughly a third of what truTV’s regular programming draws isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement.

      Also, international rights worth more than domestic rights? Are they counting Canada as part of international rights?

      Like

  35. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    The Sporting News post-Spring Top 25.

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/story/2011-04-27/post-spring-top-25-lsu-oklahoma-top-rankings

    By Conference:

    SEC (6) – #1 LSU; #3 Alabama; #11 Arkansas; #15 Auburn; #18 South Carolina; and #20 Miss State.

    Pac-12 (5) – #4 Stanford; #5 Oregon; #21 Utah; #23 Arizona State; and #25 USC.

    B1G (5) – #8 Ohio State; #10 Nebraska; #14 Wisconsin; #16 Michigan State; and #24 Penn State.

    Big XII-2 (3) – #2 Oklahoma; #9 Okla State; and #12 Texas A&M.

    MWC (2) – #6 Boise State and #19 TCU.

    ACC (2) – #7 Florida State and #13 Virginia Tech.

    Independent – #17 Notre Dame.

    Big East – #22 West Virginia.

    Like

  36. Mike says:

    Kind of slow here today so I went looking for something to liven it up a bit. Found this:

    http://www.onthebanks.com/2011/4/27/2134170/plotting-a-big-east-coup

    Just your standard Big East expansion/split stuff. But it had a link to this:

    http://mysite.verizon.net/fethrs/Minutes%20July%202003.pdf

    It appears to be notes of a Big East football schools meeting after the ACC Raid. It includes information about inviting Penn St., addressing Notre Dame’s future, and a threat by the Syracuse AD to resign if the league went to 16 teams. Neat.

    Like

  37. Brad W says:

    If Nebraska were to say be stripped of their AAU Membership this year. How would this effect their Big 10 membership? Because rumor is they did.

    Like

      • frug says:

        The Big 10 won’t revoke their membership now in the conference or (probably) the CIC, but if this had happened 8 months ago they never would have been admitted in the first place. While it was never official policy, the Big 10 made it pretty clear that AAU membership was going to be a necessary condition for admission for any school besides Notre Dame. What I find particularly interesting is this statement,

        Perlman said most of the 11 other Big Ten universities supported UNL’s efforts to remain in the AAU, as well as all of the Big 12 universities.

        Who in the Big 10 voted against NU and why would they? NU was approved unanimously for CIC membership so who changed their minds since July? And why in the world would any Big 10 school vote against NU’s AAU membership since it cost the conference its big academic trump card (trust me the insiders in the conference loved to point out they the Big 10 and not the Ivy League was the only D-I conference with universal AAU membership) and hurts the reputation of the CIC.

        Frankly this really sucks for everybody in the Big 10.

        Like

        • M says:

          “Approved unanimously” doesn’t mean that everyone was in favor, just that they weren’t willing to publicly go against it.

          I’m guessing that the higher-ups in the conference knew that this was at least a possibility.

          Like

          • frug says:

            Yeah, but if they could live with NU in the Big 10 and CIC, then why not the AAU? Whichever Big 10 teams voted against NU simply damaged themselves.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            It is funny that Perlman is characterized as saying “most” of the Big Ten schools supported UNL. Why not “all”? Even if it’s 10 out of 11, who was the 11th and why weren’t they supporting UNL?

            Like

          • @Adam – It’s asinine to me that any Big Ten school would’ve opposed Nebraska. This was the one conference that went out of its way to make AAU membership into a key factor (except for the special case of Notre Dame, who any conference would make an exception for), so any Big Ten member going against Nebraska was doing itself a great disservice as this puts a chink in the armor of the Big Ten academic brand. It would’ve taken 21 votes to have retained Nebraska in the AAU. Since the 6 Big 12 AAU members (Texas, Texas A&M, Iowa State, Colorado, Missouri and Kansas) supported Nebraska, if the 11 other Big Ten members stood unified, then Nebraska would’ve only needed to find 4 other supporters to save itself. Syracuse and Brandeis perform very little research in comparison to the other AAU members, so one would think that they would’ve been persuaded to support Nebraska, too, meaning that NU would’ve needed only 2 others votes IF the Big Ten had stuck together. So, every anti-Nebraska vote from the Big Ten was definitely magnified here as this was probably a very close vote.

            Like

          • frug says:

            @Frank

            My thoughts exactly. I seriously can not imagine why any of the Big 10 schools would vote against Nebraska. Ejecting Nebraska from the AAU hurts the Big 10/CIC’s reputation much more than it helps the AAU. I was seriously floored when I read that “most” Big 10 schools voted in NU’s favor, while all the Big XII’s AAU members, 5 of whom have major grudges against NU in this post expansion world, stood with them. If the 12 CIC schools had stood with the 6 Big XII schools (I assume Nebraska didn’t get a vote) then that would have put NU only 3 votes from survival and I’m sure they could have found them somewhere. (Maybe the CIC schools promises to look after Syracuse and Brandeis or the Big 10 promises the Big East AAU members they will be “protected” during the next round of expansion).

            Like

          • Ross Hatton says:

            I’m curious how the voting actually occurs though. It wouldn’t surprise me if my school, Michigan, and say, Northwestern, voted against AAU for Nebraska when they realized the votes weren’t there for them to maintain AAU status regardless of the Big Ten’s 11 votes.

            That would require some knowledge concerning how the vote is carried out and whether or not schools were aware of pre-vote counts.

            Like

          • frug says:

            But if they did know in advance that NU was going to lose it still wouldn’t make any sense for Big 10 members to vote against them. Why breed acrimony if it won’t change the results?

            Like

          • Adam says:

            If that’s the way it happened that’s still shameful. Big Ten ought to stick together. One for all and all for one. Better to vote for Nebraska than try to end up on the winning side.

            Like

        • frug says:

          One last thought on why a Big 10 school might have voted against Nebraska at the AAU before I head to Champaign for the night; someone may be trying to block Nebraska from joining the CIC. You always got the feeling that some of the current members (especially Northwestern, Chicago and maybe Michigan) were a little leery of admitting the Cornhuskers to the club since they would be a net negative to the current schools, and stripping Nebraska of its AAU membership may have been the ammunition they needed to stop admission before next months vote for final approval.

          Like

          • ohio1317 says:

            That’s would definitely be a possibility but if I remember right, Nebraska is already in the CIC. I think that was made official very shortly after being invited to join the Big Ten.

            Like

          • frug says:

            That’s what I thought, but apparently they still face some vote for final approval that was suppose to essentially be ceremonial, but could actually keep NU out.

            Like

    • Michael in Indy says:

      Wow. What a shame. I feel bad for them.

      Like

    • Brian says:

      If academics were the prime consideration, Rutgers would be the new Big Red in the B10.

      MO’s academics aren’t significantly better than NE’s, and the football is no match.

      Like

      • @Brian – I’ve always looked at academics as a “first cut” criteria for the Big Ten – either you meet the standard or you don’t. That’s why in my Big Ten Expansion Index, I made academics into an all-or-nothing category. If you clear Step 1 of the academic hurdle, then you go onto Step 2, which is essentially solely based on what you can bring in terms of athletics.

        It’s instructive to see all of the Big 12 schools supporting Nebraska because a number of them (Missouri, Kansas and Iowa State in particular) are probably encountering the exact same risk of getting kicked out with similar research funding and general academic reputations. The lack of credit for agricultural research in the eyes of the AAU was definitely news to me. The land grant institutions can’t possibly be happy about that. Syracuse needs to step it up, as well, since a number of the readers here pointed out last year that they were well behind all of the other AAU members in terms of overall research funding levels.

        Like

        • Adam says:

          What principled reason is there to exclude agricultural research? Grant money that goes to historians or legal academics or whatever, I could understand if the AAU kind of wrote that off (which is no knock on those professions — that’s what I do, after all). But agricultural research produces, you know, actual, tangible things which are (or can be) useful to real people.

          Like

          • @Adam – It’s certainly strange to me that ag research would be excluded. If the AAU gives credit for funding for liberal arts projects, then it makes little sense that ag gets treated differently. This might be more of creating criteria to justify a predetermined conclusion. The Chronicle of Higher Education noted that when Georgia Tech was voted into the AAU last year, the group also placed Nebraska and one other unidentified member under review:

            http://chronicle.com/article/U-of-Nebraska-Lincoln-Is/127353/

            This certainly indicates that the Big Ten was well aware of the risk of Nebraska getting kicked out of the AAU when the conference invited the Huskers last June.

            Like

          • Jake says:

            @Adam – it didn’t say that all ag research was excluded, just research funded by the USDA. Maybe they feel that research is too biased? I don’t know.

            So, what does this mean for UNL? It’s a bit of a blow to their reputation, but won’t joining the CIC more than make up for that? Do they not get to go to the secret meetings? Do they have to turn in their decoder ring?

            Like

          • Brian says:

            According to the AAU Membership Policy, there are 2 sets of criteria for admittance in stage 1 (stage 2 is more subjective).

            The primary set includes the amount of “competitively funded federal research,” which is defined as NSF – USDA, as well as several measures of the quality of the faculty. I wonder where NASA, DoD and other government funders fit in their scheme.

            USDA funding is generally non-competitive according to the AAU so it is included in the secondary set of criteria as “USDA, state, and industrial research funding.” The other secondary criteria look at PhD’s granted, post-docs and undergrad education.

            http://www.aau.edu/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=10972

            It amuses me to see industrial funding listed as non-competitive. Tell that to the schools fighting to get on projects with major corporations like GE. I don’t think geography is nearly the barrier it used to be for corporate research, plus many of these companies are spread all over the country.

            What they are showing is a bias for NSF research as somehow “better” than work done for anyone else. There isn’t a lot to base that on other than reputation. The world has changed a lot, and I’m not sure their criteria are really keeping up with that.

            Like

          • M says:

            @Frank

            The type of academic in charge of this sort of organization takes a dim view on any applied science/engineering. It’s why Georgia Tech and Carnegie Mellon took so long to get an invite.

            In the long tradition of wild speculation on this blog, who is the other school under review?

            By my count, 51 of the AAU schools are ranked in the top 100 in the world by ARWU.

            The others are:

            100-150
            Georgia Tech
            Iowa

            151-200
            Iowa State
            SUNY-Stony Brook
            Nebraska

            200-300
            Brandeis
            SUNY-Buffalo
            Kansas
            Missouri
            Oregon

            300-400
            Syracuse
            Tulane

            For the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 56 are in the top 150. Beyond that,

            160 Arizona
            170 Colorado
            188 Iowa
            193 Florida
            194 SUNY-Stony Brook
            198 Texas A&M
            208 Michigan State
            216 Rutgers
            227 Indiana
            239 Tulane
            275 Iowa State
            280 Brandeis
            451-500 Syracuse

            For total research dollars spent:

            Nebraska-216,032
            Nebraska Medical Center-111,751,000

            Tulane-137,107,000
            Kansas-134,906,000
            Tulane-137,107,000
            Indiana-109,567,000
            Rice-69,772,000
            Oregon-61,694,000
            Brandeis-56,831,000
            Syracuse-36,396,000

            Smallest Endowments for Private Schools in the AAU:

            Brandeis-712,446,000
            Syracuse-984,779,000
            Tulane-1,035,771,000
            Rochester-1,730,772,000
            Case Western-1,766,478,000

            Fewest National Academy Members
            Tulane 1
            Nebraska 2 (+1 at Medical Center)
            Syracuse 4
            Missouri 6
            Kansas 6
            Buffalo 6
            Oregon 7
            Michigan State 8
            Iowa State 9
            Stony Brook 10
            Indiana 10
            Brandeis 10

            Fewest Faculty Awards:
            Tulane 0
            Brandeis 3
            Syracuse 4
            Rutgers 4
            Nebraska 6 (+3 for med center)
            Iowa State 6
            Stony Brook 7

            Fewest PhDs conferred
            Brandeis 84
            Tulane 134
            Oregon 151
            Syracuse 163

            Nebraska 255 (Med center 72)

            Fewest Post docs
            Syracuse 36
            Rutgers 42
            Oregon 81
            Tulane 87
            Brandeis 101
            Nebraska 103 (+108 from med center)
            Stony Brook 114
            Kansas 127
            Rice 135

            I would be willing to a sizable amount of money that Syracuse, Brandeis and Tulane will all be under the gun at some point. Nebraska was near the bottom in a number of areas, but those three were consistently worse in almost every measure.

            If the purge continues after those three, Iowa State and Kansas might be a little nervous.

            Like

        • Brian says:

          I view it as a sliding scale (academics + football) much like the NCAA does eligibility with test scores and grades. The better your football, the weaker your academics can be. That’s why NE got in but MO didn’t. At best NE scraped over the bar for academics, and not being AAU would have hurt.

          Like

          • frug says:

            I think you are making a bit more complicated than it needs to be. Based on statements of the participants and the actions taken, it was clear that AAU membership was a necessary condition for Big 10 expansion for any school not located in South Bend, IN. Beyond that, academics could have been at most a sort of tie breaker between otherwise comparative institutions.

            Like

        • John says:

          I don’t think it’s fair to lump the other Big 12 schools into NU’s category Frank. There’s just no evidence for that. NU’s been on AAU probation for years and Pearlman mentioned this nearly happening back in 2000. I think it speaks volumes for the other Big 12 schools that this wasn’t a “bitter” vote due to the nubs exit from Big XII. Fact is that this is purely a Nebraska issue, and whatever Big 10 schools voted against them took a stand for the academic integrity of not only those institutions but the ideals that the AAU is suppose to represent.

          Like

          • Nostradamus says:

            I get both sides of the argument. Nebraska has a unique situation where the Medical School, while still part of the state University system is located in the larger city of Omaha and not directly on the main campus in Lincoln. If you put the Med Center in with the UNL research funding, according to the National science Foundation Nebraska ranked 51st in research spending (right behind Michigan State at 50th). It would’ve been 12th in the Big Ten right ahead of Iowa.

            In the Big 12 the only schools higher are Colorado, Texas A&M, Texas, and the Baylor College of Medicine. I understand the Nebraska Medical Center is seperate from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln the soon to be former AAU member, but I also understand Nebraska making the argument the medical funding is propping up other AAU institutions.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Baylor College of Medicine has nothing to do with Baylor University and hasn’t for 40 years. In fact, they almost merged with Rice last year.

            While a lot of schools research are propped up by medical schools, Texas and Texas A&M are among those who don’t have medical schools. Texas Tech, however, does, and jealously guards it as part of its system while the other medical schools in the state are separate components of the UT system.

            I looked up Nebraska and AAU and most references cover what you would expect sports discussions to cover-basketball and the Amateur Athletic Union.

            Like

  38. Nostradamus says:

    UNL has released its “defense” to the AAU. Interesting to note that Perlman BCC’ed Gordon Gee on one of the last emails on page 78/79.
    http://ucommxsrv1.unl.edu/downloadables/pdf/UNLAAU.pdf

    Like

    • @Nostradamus – Thanks for posting. It looks like PSU president (and former NU chancellor) Graham Spanier was on the BCC line in that email, as well. The messages from Harvey Perlman were progressively more defiant over time. Also note that Wisconsin’s chancellor was on the Membership Review Committee that recommended Nebraska’s removal.

      Like

      • joe4psu says:

        Where does PSU fit in? (he said too lazy to do the research right now) The associated medical center, Hershey, is not on campus. PSU was originally an ag school and that is still an important part of the whole.

        Another thing I noted from the article was that the vote was 2/3s against NU. That is a very strong statement.

        Like

    • bullet says:

      As someone pointed out, the Big 10 actually has 12 votes with Chicago. So UNL only needed 3 votes outside of Big 12 and Big 10. It was clearly almost unanimous outside those groups. Pearlman ignored what Faulkner asked for and probably ticked everyone off. Instead he made “subtle” arguments and used a number of specific stories instead of hard data. He manipulated data by throwing in the medical school. He also tried to tell them their criteria were wrong in a ham handed way. No wonder even some of the Big 10 schools voted against him.

      Like

    • M says:

      That document says that the AAU Membership review committee unanimously recommended that Nebraska be put to vote. The chair of the committee was Larry R. Faulkner, president emeritus at… University of Texas at Austin.

      (Also on the committee was the Chancellor of Wisconsin.)

      Like

      • bullet says:

        Just FYI, the President of the AAU, Berdahl, is a former UT president (and I believe he was at Illinois prior to Texas).

        Like

        • Joetx says:

          Berdahl was at U of I prior to becoming UT president. He was a member of the admin, but not president/chancellor (whichever is the head position at UIUC).

          Like

    • Brian says:

      While the committee completely rejected them, I think NE made some valid points in their presentation. The division of research funding is questionable, and the normalization process seems biased towards a certain type of school (but maybe that is what the AAU wants). It says something that the top 2 schools by their rankings are ineligible for membership, and the newest member is #31. NE is on the edges in a lot of categories, though (as is school #105, which is the other school under review I assume).

      Is this the beginning of a fundamental change in AAU membership, as several schools at the bottom could be at risk? Is the AAU changing their vision?

      Like

      • M says:

        The normalization seems to be a bit of a distraction. If you look at the chart Nebraska doesn’t come off much better in the non-normalized rankings in anything except total number of doctorates.

        #105 has to be Syracuse, noting the lack of medical school and that their normalized rankings are about the same as their absolutes. Most of the larger schools seem to do noticeably better in the absolute rankings.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Normalization is a questionable practice, though, when comparing different groups. It doesn’t greatly hurt NE, but being slightly higher would have helped their case. The bigger question, which NE raised, is why do you discount certain types of research but normalize including faculty who can essentially only do those types of research (and consider that a negative)?

          NE says most of their USDA research was competitively funded, but that still doesn’t count although all their ag and extension faculty do count. That doesn’t seem like a fair metric. Likewise, I don’t think all corporate research should be ignored as schools are being pressed to commercialize their work faster and more often than in the past.

          Like

          • Adam says:

            Especially when research that produces actual, tangible things that people can actually use seems at least as worthwhile as the abstract primary research that the AAU appears to be preferring.

            Like

      • bullet says:

        Those top two schools are medical schools (UCSF,JH), not all-purpose universities. That goes to the fact that medical schools tend to have massive amounts of research.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Is it not a clear flaw in their methodology that it doesn’t account for the breadth of a school (this is the result of normalizing)? If pure medical schools top the list, that indicates a bias in the system. Yes, they do consider breadth in some subjective way, and thus exclude schools that are too narrow, but their methods favor narrow over broad.

          #1 is Rockefeller University, which is solely devoted to biomedical research (and thus ineligible). Their non-normalized rankings for the 4 primary criteria are 81, 23, 47 and 52, but they are 2, 1, 1, and 1 after normalization. Since AAU ranks based on the average normalized ranking, RU is #1.

          Like

      • bullet says:

        It looks like they are getting rid of the grandfather clause. And Syracuse, Brandeis and to a lesser extent, Tulane (Katrina gives them a little more time), seem to be at risk.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          In general, I think it’s a good thing that schools don’t get a lifetime membership. The AAU loses meaning if you only have to be elite until you get in. However, I’m concerned if they are being as conscientious about keeping their membership criteria relevant as the higher education and research worlds are changing.

          Like

  39. frug says:

    Just thought I would throw this link up:

    http://mup.asu.edu/research2009.pdf

    It is most recent report from The Center for Measuring University Performance at Arizona State and probably the most comprehensive publication on American research universities. It ranks school’s based on how many top 25 and top 50 ranks it has in these nine categories Total Research, Federal
    Research, Endowment Assets, Annual Giving, National
    Academy Members, Faculty Awards, Doctorates Granted,
    Postdoctoral Appointees, and SAT/ACT range as well as giving the top 200 schools in each category.

    Anyways, based on this NU is about the 64th best public research school in the country and probably isn’t even in the top 110 amongst all schools (that’s not exactly how the report gives its ratings, but that is the basic result.) It is 127th in country in the number of faculty who are members of the National Academy and 78th in total research funding (though if you include the med school they are better).

    For some perspective, the 12 CIC schools all rank in the top 60 overall and the average AAU school is probably ranks in the top 70 or so.

    Other observations,

    – Oregon and Syracuse need to be on watch.

    – Notre Dame manages to rank in the top 40 despite doing very little overall research.

    – In terms of total research funding, the difference between number 1 Johns Hopkins and number 2 UC-San Fransisco is greater than the difference between UC-San Fran and number 113 Georgetown.

    Like

  40. Richard says:

    Well, I don’t know what maintaining the sanctity of the AAU does for its member schools, but please do realize that for all of the original B10 schools, research & academics is more important to the school than athletics (Gordon Gee’s quip not withstanding). Is strengthening the AAU at the expense of weakening the B10 a net positive? Probably not, but I do see the logic.

    Like

    • jj says:

      Not really adding anything, but it’s horseshit that any b10 school voted against neb here. oh, and gee can suck it; I hate that guy.

      Like

    • jj says:

      I’m just frustrated with all the rep damage we’re taking.

      Also, toronto would never be booted from AAU. Just sayin.

      Like

  41. Adam says:

    Totally unrelated to this blog post, but something I’ve chatted about with a few of the regulars here, is this: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/special/nhl/Winnipeg-only-option-for-Thrashers-sale-120815069.html

    Reading this and a few of the other articles in the Free Press in recent days, and it sounds like the favorite to relocate to Winnipeg is (once again) Atlanta, not Phoenix.

    Like

    • Jake says:

      I just hope that whoever relocates to Winnipeg picks up the old name. The Sharks-Jets rivalry must live again.

      Like

    • @Adam – From a purely selfish standpoint, I’m hoping that Nashville gets sent to the Southeast Division, Minnesota gets moved to the Central Division to almost resurrect the old Norris Division, and the new Winnipeg Jets are moved to the Northwest to create an almost pure Western Canadian division (except for Colorado).

      Like

      • Pat says:

        Red Wings should be moved to the Eastern Conference swapping with Atlanta/Winnipeg. All of us in Michigan are tired of watching playoff games at midnight and beyond (Phoenix, San Jose, maybe Vancouver). Overtime games go till 1:30am ET. Totally ridiculous!

        Like

        • Adam says:

          I have to believe that Columbus will be moved to the East before Detroit. Columbus, I think, would get far more of a shot in the arm playing other nearby teams like Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Detroit, by contrast, is going to be economically successful regardless of where they’re placed. Although Frank’s suggestion of Nashville is also thought-provoking. Either way, in my opinion there’s no chance of Detroit being the team that’s shifted East if Atlanta goes to Winnipeg.

          Like

        • @Pat – There’s no way that the Blackhawks and Red Wings are going to be split up. Those are the 2 main national draws in the Western Conference in a league where there’s already an imbalance in terms of coverage towards the East. If anything, in addition to moving Nashville, swap Columbus and Toronto, too, and then we can have a full resurrection of the Norris. Plus, each conference would have 3 Original Six teams (like they were before the late-1990s realignment).

          Like

          • jj says:

            that would be the bomb.

            Like

          • Pat says:

            One of the Red Wing beat writers said the team requested a move to the Eastern Division last year after the Stanley Cup finals, but the league either rejected or postponed the request. Frequent travel to the west coast, especially during the post season, is a major drag on the players, even with the Little Caesers’s corporate jet. Also, many fans turn off the televison for west coast games after 11:00pm on weekdays. The advertisers don’t like that.

            The other problem with the Wings division is the fans are not passionate about the rivalries with Columbus and Nashville. Even the St. Louis rivalry is lukewarm. I went to a Nashiville game each of the last two years and the fans just sat on their hands, didn’t get into the game, even though the score was close. Very boring. But, I go to a “preseason” game in September with Toronto and the fans from both sides are fired up outside the arena, chanting and yelling before the doors open. (Lot’s of Toronto fans come across the river from Windsor,Canada for the Red Wing games. The hockey arena is right on the riverfront almost next door to the tunnel to Canada.)

            I would love to see the NHL contract about four southern teams and move some of them to Canada. Fans in Winnipeg, Hamilton and Quebec City would be passionate about their teams and true rivalries would flourish. In prior years the currency exchange rate was a problem for the Canadian teams and players. But now, the Looney (Canadian Dollar) is 5 cents more than the American Dollar. Time for the NHL to make some major changes.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            It would surprise me if Detroit made a request like that. Not saying they didn’t or this guy was wrong, but I have no personal knowledge of it and I’d find it surprising if I worked for the league office. Detroit seems like a savvier and more well-run organization than that. Detroit being realigned into the East is just not happening (at least, not with the current franchise layout), so making that request is an obvious waste of everybody’s time.

            Like

          • Paul says:

            Columbus and Detroit want to move East.
            http://themajors.net/detroit/?p=2594

            Like

          • Adam says:

            It surprises me that Detroit would be pushing this. It has zero chance of happening. It isn’t even about Detroit’s effect on other franchises. To my mind, it is simply this: Columbus needs to be in the Eastern Conference in a way Detroit does not. For any given team in the Western Conference, Detroit is only coming to town 2 or 3 times out of 41 home games. Not enough to make or break your business. The focus (in my mind) is which team needs the move for its own 41-game home schedule. Columbus needs it, Detroit does not. That really seems like the end of the debate for me.

            Like

          • @Adam – I agree. This would be like the Cubs asking MLB to join the Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East while the Rays get moved to the NL Central. The Cubs don’t need to get games with Yankees and Red Sox to draw fans, but the Rays definitely do.

            Now, as a Blackhawks fan, I certainly sympathize with the Red Wings fans not really being very interested in our division opponents (besides the Chicago-Detroit rivalry itself), as I’ve stated the exact same thing on this blog a number of times. Seeing the Blackhawks play Blue Jackets and Predators 6 or 7 times per year and the Rangers or Penguins only once per year is insomnia-inducing. However, that’s exactly why the NHL wouldn’t dare move the Wings. The league is already way too Eastern Conference-centric with 4 of the Original Six teams, the 2 biggest star draws (Crosby in Pittsburgh and Ovechkin in Washington) and another huge fan base in a top 5 market (Philadelphia). That’s why, if anything, it ought to be the other way around with Toronto swapping places with Columbus to get at least one other marquee franchise into the Western Conference. I doubt Toronto has any desire for that, though, so the most that I think would happen is what I originally thought with Nashville moving to the Southeast Division (which is where they should’ve been from the beginning).

            Like

          • Adam says:

            If Atlanta moves to Winnipeg and Columbus does the switcheroo (which is what I had always presumed), it does create an awkward situation in the Southeast Division. Who is the 5th team? Columbus? You just slid them over so that they could be in a division with Pittsburgh — that seems unlikely. Pittsburgh? Don’t think so. Philadelphia? That’d be more than a little weird. Your suggestion of having Nashville be the swapped team solves that problem. On the other hand, it’d be weird to move a Central Time team into the East with two Eastern Time teams in the West — that time zone thing matters, especially to a team like Columbus. Plus, although it is no longer on the media radar (at least as much), it’s my sense that Nashville is a vulnerable team as well (e.g., the last time their attendance was better than 20th in the NHL was 2000-01). Would the league be willing to realign with Nashville as the pivot point, only to have to reshuffle the deck again when Nashville peters out?

            I think that there is a sufficiently non-trivial argument in favor of Detroit in the east that if enough teams went east-to-west, Detroit would be in play to go to the east. It’s just that that is not being proposed — there’s talk of Atlanta moving to Winnipeg and that’s it. If, say, Florida moved to Kansas City and Carolina moved to Portland (just making things up) along with Atlanta moving to Winnipeg, that would be different.

            I’m not 100% sure that the league being eastern-centric is a problem. It is an annoyance for anybody living in a western market, certainly, but that doesn’t mean it is bad for business. It was my sense that the NBA never had more buzz than during the ’90s when the conversation was dominated by Chicago, Boston, the Knicks, and the Pacers (due to the charismatic Reggie Miller). The West was routinely an afterthought, and yet I think most people look back on that as something of a golden age. So I don’t know that the league can’t put Detroit in the East, or “wouldn’t dare,” but they certainly won’t if there’s only going to be one team sliding east.

            Like

          • Jake says:

            Speaking of late West Coast games, is there any chance the Texas (baseball) Rangers ever get out of the AL West? If the Rays are contracted, doesn’t that screw up scheduling with an odd number of teams? Will they start a new franchise, or move the Rays somewhere else?

            Like

          • Adam says:

            Contraction by only 1 team would cause substantial scheduling in any of the pro sports, and MLB is certainly not exempt from that.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            Er, substantial scheduling problems.

            Like

          • Paul says:

            NHL has tried to create a Detroit/Columbus rivalry including home-and-home games around Thanksgiving in past years to try and take advantage of the intensity of the Michigan vs Ohio State football game. Hasn’t caught on. Not sure why. Maybe it’s because Columbus usually sucks.

            Like

          • Pat says:

            @Jake
            Here’s an article from February on MLB realignment. It talks about contracting Oakland and Tampa leaving 28 teams. Not sure it will ever happen, but it made for interesting reading. As a Tigers fan, I happen to like the divisions.
            http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/2011/02/26/2011-02-26_realignment_may_be_coming_to_major_league_baseball_and_heres_how_it_could_look.html

            Like

          • Jake says:

            @Pat – yeah, that Midwest Division looks pretty soft. But I don’t think contraction is happening – the MLBPA would raise holy heck, and it might cost more to buy the owners out than they’re costing the sport in revenue sharing. It’s probably all just a ploy to get new stadiums for the A’s and Rays, anyway. Worked for the Twins.

            Maybe if the Raiders and 49ers build their new stadium, the A’s can renovate the (Insert Sponsor Here) Coliseum and make it more lucrative. At least convert it to a permanent baseball configuration. Not much you can do about the Trop, though.

            Like

          • Eric says:

            I hate that baseball realignment on several fronts.

            a) I love the history of game, with two seperate leagues the American and National Leagues basically agreeing to (eventually) work together. I don’t want to throw that away for a geographic alignment. I didn’t even like it when they moved the Brewers to the National League.

            b) If you eliminate the As, you are eliminating a franchise that dates back past the modern World Series (American vs. National League).

            c) For similar reasons to above, I love the variety in baseball. Stadiums are different, the DH is in the American but not the National League, etc.

            I wouldn be OK with doing something about interleague play though. If necessary drop it or reduce it to just one rival.

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Regarding MLB realignment, they ought to keep the NL and AL in tact, but eliminate the divisions and balance the schedules. The four best records from each league making the playoffs. I’m ambivalent about inter-league play, but it would still work under this plan.

            Like

          • Michael in Indy says:

            I think a switch back to two divisions in each league would be good. Four teams could continue going to the playoffs (division winners plus two wild cards), but there’s less of a chance that a team that goes to the playoffs with an 84-78 record. Instead, the two best teams not to win a division would go, whether it meant three teams from one division or not.

            AL East

            Toronto
            Boston
            NY Yankees
            Baltimore
            Tampa Bay
            Detroit
            Cleveland

            AL West

            Minnesota
            Chi. White Sox
            Kansas City
            Texas
            Seattle
            Oakland
            LA Angels

            NL East

            NY Mets
            Philadelphia
            Washington
            Atlanta
            Miami (as of 2012)
            Pittsburgh
            Cincinnati
            Milwaukee

            NL West

            Chi. Cubs
            St. Louis
            Houston
            Colorado
            Arizona
            San Diego
            LA Dodgers
            San Francisco

            In the NL, each team would play 12 games against its 7 division rivals, totaling 84; 8 games against the 8 non-division teams, totaling 64; and 14 games against AL teams. Grand total = 162 games.

            In the AL, each team would play 14 games against each division rival, totaling 84 games; 9 games against 6 non-division teams, totaling 54; 8 games against a seventh non-division team; and 16 NL teams. Grand total = 162 games.

            Like

      • Adam says:

        Moving anybody to Winnipeg has some interesting problems for the NHL’s scheduling format. Currently, everybody plays 18 games against the 15 teams from the opposite conference: 12 of them once, and 3 of them twice. Currently, the 3 western Canada teams and the 3 eastern Canada teams are each others’ twice-a-year pairs. Adding Winnipeg breaks up that symmetry. I wonder how they’ll handle that.

        In a vacuum, I’d probably split the 4 Canadian teams into 2 divisions (2 and 2), except I have to believe that the Edmonton/Calgary pair is sacrosanct, and keeping them together and putting Vancouver/Winnipeg in a different division would make no sense.

        Like

        • jj says:

          current scheduling is horrible.

          Like

        • jj says:

          i can remember when leafs / wings games were literal bloodbaths.

          now it’s just an weird exhibition when they’re around. it’s like, oh look the “maple leafs” are in town, how curious.

          i blame it all on gary b

          Like

        • Jake says:

          @Adam – Atlanta relocates to Winnipeg and joins the Northwest Division. Move Vancouver to the Pacific. Move Dallas to the Central. Move Nashville to the Southeast. Check. Mate.

          Or, since they’re interested, move Columbus to the Eastern Conference. Not sure how that one works out exactly, though. I guess you’d put them in the SE.

          I have a bit of a beef with DFW sports teams being stuck in mountain/western leagues/divisions. Sucks to try to watch weekday night games on TV. One of those problems was corrected lately, but the Rangers and Stars still need to get into Central/Eastern time zone-based divisions.

          Like

          • Jake says:

            @Frank – and wouldn’t putting the Stars in the Central Division be a truer reincarnation of the Norris Division?

            Like

          • @Jake – In terms of the franchises themselves, yes, that’s true. It would probably be hard to move Dallas to the Central over Minnesota, though.

            Like

          • Jake says:

            @Frank – Dallas certainly has the bigger beef – everyone in their division is two time zones away. And if you move the Canucks to the Pacific, the Wild don’t have much to complain about, since their new division would have two Central teams and three Mountain teams.

            Unfortunately, this is a bad time for the Stars to be asking for anything. They stink, and the league may be running the team soon enough. Stupid Tom Hicks wasn’t satisfied ruining just the Rangers, apparently.

            Like

          • @Jake – It is rough with where Texas is located as most teams seem to get stuck with Western time slots even though they’re in the Central Time Zone. In particular, the Mavs always seem to be playing nationally-televised games that start at 9:30 pm Central Time even when they’re at home (so it’s not even a matter of being on the road in the Pacific Time Zone). For baseball, I’d really like to see MLB move one NL team to the AL so that there are 15 teams in each division. (I know that a common complaint about this setup is that this would require at least one interleague series to be played at any given time throughout the year, to which I reply, “So what?”) Ultimately, it’s tough since no one seems to want to move and MLB doesn’t appear to want to force it. One possible solution is having the Astros switch over to the AL West so that gives the Rangers at least one other divisional opponent located in the Central Time Zone (not to mention heating up that state rivalry), but I doubt the Astros want that situation. The Brewers certainly aren’t ever going back to the AL – Bud Selig basically steamrolled that process to get the team that he technically didn’t own anymore switched over the NL Central so they could have about 1/3rd of their home schedule enjoying sellouts from traveling Cubs and Cardinals fans.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            Jake, I suspect that Minnesota would be put with those Central teams before Dallas would. Minnesota is paired with Detroit and Chicago in the NFL and MLB. It just seems more sensible to me, your (valid) beef about DFW notwithstanding.

            Otherwise that is a sensible arrangement, and Frank’s point about Nashville is well-taken, but it feels odd to me to send a Central Time team to the East (however geographically appropriate) with an Eastern Time team of Columbus’ caliber still in the West.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            If we could contemplate splitting up the Alberta teams, you could put Dallas with Colorado, Phoenix (assuming, in this hypothetical, they don’t move), Winnipeg, and one of the Alberta teams. That would resolve your time zone issue.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            Resolve is the wrong word. Palliate, perhaps.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            That may make less sense than I thought. I didn’t realize Phoenix was on Pacific Time. I always think they’re on Mountain Time for some reason.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            Oh, even more complicated, Arizona is on Mountain Time, but doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time.

            Like

          • Jake says:

            @Frank – the Mavs get off light; at least their division games are at a reasonable time, and against in-state teams, to boot. The Rangers and Stars have been held back by regular late starts against West Coast teams for years.

            And yeah, I wouldn’t mind seeing more inter-league play. Rangers-Astros games have been a lot of fun the last few years. People say that it takes away from the World Series, but what are the chances of Texas and Houston making the Fall Classic at the same time? And if it happened, it would still be huge in Texas and irrelevant everywhere else, no matter how many times they’d met in the regular season.

            @Adam – I still like my idea better, although I don’t really care which misplaced Central Division team ends up in the Eastern Conference (as long as it isn’t Detroit). And yeah, most of Arizona is effectively in Pacific time half the year because they don’t observe Daylight Saving Time. Apparently they feel that they’re pretty well stocked up on daylight as it is.

            And why is everyone hung up on helping Minnesota? Under my plan, they no longer have to play on the West Coast, and they get frequent games against Winnipeg, which should be a good rivalry up there.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            While the Canadian cities may have more passionate fans, they just can’t generate the local revenue through ads and sponsorships. A metro area of 600k will rarely be able to match one of 5,000,000. Winnipeg and Quebec may fill their arenas but still be a drag on the league. And I don’t think Toronto wants Hamilton.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            Jake’s remarks remind me: what has gone wrong with Dallas? They were in the top half of the league in attendance the whole last decade, until the last 2 seasons things really declined in a hurry. Granted, they weren’t very good last year, but this year they made a spirited playoff push, and that’s 2 down years after a lot of “up” years, so I would figure they would have a decently established season ticket base and so forth.

            Like

          • Jake says:

            @Adam – Tom Hicks is what went wrong. The same guy who almost destroyed the Rangers last year (and then tried to jack up parking prices this season, since he apparently owns that) is still bankrupt after selling the baseball team and can’t afford to pay for decent/exciting players. Also, fans hate him and don’t want to give him money. The Stars can’t find a buyer fast enough.

            Oh, and he also owns Liverpool, which he is also trying to sell, and those people hate him even more than we do; they never liked an American owning the team to begin with (although aren’t almost all Premier League teams foreign owned now?).

            Here are some relevant links:
            http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/mlb/news/story?id=6345689

            http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/texas-rangers/headlines/20100805-In-just-a-decade-Tom-8776.ece

            http://network.yardbarker.com/nhl/article_external/brad_richards_gets_caught_in_the_stars_financial_crisis/4271632

            And it’s true: just ten or twelve years ago he was the most beloved sports owner in DFW, if not the state. There’s some debate over who holds that title now, but it ain’t Hicks.

            Like

          • jj says:

            I want Hartford back.

            Like

    • bullet says:

      The Thrashers to Winnipeg has been discussed in Atlanta for several months as a possibility.

      Like

    • jj says:

      Either way is great & I totally agree with Frank about the movement.

      Like

    • jj says:

      good lord.

      Like

    • M says:

      Tidbits from the articles:

      The vote to evict Nebraska passed by two votes and received 44 votes in favor. Assuming that Syracuse and Nebraska were not permitted a vote, that means that only 17 votes were against the removal. There are 18 AAU institutions in the Big Ten and Big 12, so the vote was unanimous or nearly unanimous outside of those groups.

      It also draws an amusing point that while these same presidents constantly criticize university rankings, their last three collective decisions (inviting highest ranking non-members Georgia Tech, removing lowest ranking members Syracuse and Nebraska) appear directly based on their own ranking scheme.

      From the article, most seem to think that this sort of process has caused enough bad blood to not happen again. However the article also has quotes such as:
      “At 100 members, it’s no longer a private group. The advantage of this association, compared to others in higher ed, is that we’re all supposed to be alike. If that’s no longer the case, then we lose the benefits of membership”
      That statement should terrify presidents of the marginal schools.

      Speaking of which, the next lowest AAU member on the list (#94) has a huge dropoff between their absolute and normalized numbers, indicating that they are likely a large state university with a high undergraduate-to-graduate ratio. It also has a medical school(so not Iowa State or Oregon). My guess is that #94 is Kansas, though possibly Buffalo or Missouri.

      The next lowest rank is #87, which has a profile more like a smaller private. It also has a medical school, eliminating Brandeis and leaving Tulane as the most likely candidate.

      Like

      • Gopher86 says:

        It does sound like they’re getting railroaded a bit here.

        Kansas has similar statistics to Nebraska in research dollars, endowment, etc. I think Kansas has less ag. emphasis (K-State fills that need– same Board of Regents, though), and that their Med. Center is included in their research dollars pool.

        I can’t remember the exact ratio, but I think KU has about a 21:8 undergrad:grad student body ratio.

        I hope my alma mater isn’t in the cross hairs. However, if the leadership is determined to trim up their club, then there isn’t much KU can do. At least Nebraska had the confidence of the B1G and BigXII members voting for them.

        Like

        • Gopher86 says:

          And just like clockwork, the chancellor releases a statement:

          http://chancellor.ku.edu/messages/2011/may2.shtml

          Apparently, KU has been lagging in areas like student retention and research efficiency.

          Like

          • M says:

            A link in that article gives KU’s rankings compared to “126 Research Intensive Institutions”: http://www.provost.ku.edu/enews/20101102.shtml

            Presumably these are the 126 on the list from the Nebraska report. Comparing the rankings for KU to #87 on the chart:

            Federal Expenditures, 102, 85
            Academy Members, 82, 79
            Faculty Awards, 60, 68
            Citations, 91, 93
            Doctoral Degrees, 68, 67

            I think it’s safe to say that Kansas is #87.

            #94 remains a mystery. It has to have a very large number professors. It’s 23rd in doctorates but 73rd after normalization. It also has a medical school which eliminates a few others. The school has to have a large agricultural part as it’s #15 in USDA money. My guess is UC-Davis, which fits all those points except for that it’s not quite as big as I would like.

            If it is, that’s probably good news for KU as I can’t see a UC school being kicked out and at least in theory they would have to go before Kansas.

            Like

      • ChicagoRed says:

        I see that only 17 of 76 land-grant schools are in the AAU, and of those only 3 are western schools-Arizona, Texas, and California.

        The great plains and mountain states, which are lightly populated and farming-ranching based economies, simply don’t fit in with the modern AAU, especially the land-grant schools in those regions. This underscores the issues that UNL chancellor Perlman raised.

        I’m not arguing in Nebraska’s defense, I’m no academic and wouldn’t presume to understand what drives them. But it doesn’t seem that schools with a agriculturally focused mission get much respect.

        Like

        • Gopher86 says:

          It sounds like they’re moving from colleges that support more mature industries and embracing schools that support the more R&D intensive industries.

          It seems like a logical move for the AAU from a survival/vitality stand point, but it takes away that ‘cross pollination’ aspect. A lot of Ag. Science is the comingling of Bio-tech and other burgeoning research fields.

          Like

    • Tim says:

      It is apparent that the AAU is in the middle of a full blown witch-hunt/purge of its members.

      As a fan of Syracuse University I find this highly disturbing. I can only hope the AAU’s actions come back to bite them in the ass. I can see this having significant ripple effects leading to the potential creation of “rival organizations” or just an overall de-emphasis on AAU membership.

      It will be interesting to see how this affects Collegiate Athletics and future expansion (if at all)

      Like

      • M says:

        Viewed over the last 15 years, the AAU first removed Clark University and CUA, two founding members whose profiles were nowhere near the AAU criteria, not even appearing on that list of 126 schools. Now they’ve taken out two schools who while on the lower end of the spectrum were at least within the same region as a number of other members. It will be interesting to see if they continue to go after the lowest ranked members (Kansas and Tulane?).

        For college athletics, I think recent events re-emphasized that no one really cares about academics. The Big Ten chancellors/presidents must have known that Nebraska’s departure was a definite possibility, yet they invited them anyway. The Pac-10 was willing to take Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. The ACC took Virginia Tech. If a school makes enough financial sense for a conference athletically, they will overlook academic considerations.

        Like

        • Gopher86 says:

          I disagree with your second notion. A B1G membership includes a CIC membership. That pool of resources is much larger than any TV contract, and the addition of any University isn’t taken lightly. It’s probably why all the B1G members voted in Nebraska’s favor– it shows that their conference affliations go beyond purely athletic considerations.

          Nebraska was on track to improving their AAU status over the last decade, but still on the lower end of the criteria. Sure, Perlman is painting a ‘woe is me’ picture, but I don’t think that this exit was legitimately on the radar given their progress since their last serious review (a decade or so ago). There isn’t much precedent for exits like this, either.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            According to Pearlman, “most” of the B1G schools voted for UNL and all of the Big 12 schools did. So not all the B1G schools voted for them. Since the committee vote was 9-1 and UT and WI were both on the committee, it seems likely at least WI voted for removing them.

            Like

          • Gopher86 says:

            @bullet – Good catch. Wonder why Wisconsin voted them down?

            Like

    • bullet says:

      Pearlman sure likes to burn bridges. Skipping all the functions as discussed in the article may have been more comfortable for everyone, but a different personality type would have been working the room. Not surprising that his comments are that AAU is not that important, but he said just the opposite before they kicked him out.

      I wonder if the Pelini’s behavior over the last couple of years impacted the vote, discouraging institutions from giving them the benefit of a doubt. They apparently got almost no support outside the B12 and Big 10.

      As for SU, I’ve read-probably on this board- (and the stats support it) that their current President has de-emphasized traditional research. I suspect their case was pretty clear cut and their President knew it. She also knew how to avoid negative publicity. SU did not want to be the only university kicked out of the AAU.

      Like

      • Michael in Indy says:

        Nah, Pelini’s behavior had no impact on Nebraska’s AAU status. The conduct of employees in the athletic departments have nothing to do with eligibility in the AAU. Otherwise, Bob Knight’s behavior would have gotten Indiana in hot water a long time ago.

        I agree with you about Pearlman, though. He didn’t play the political game very well.

        Like

      • Mike says:

        @bullet – LOL! I seriously doubt this had anything to do with Pelini.

        Like

      • Tim says:

        Syracuse’s current Chancellor has definitely changed the admissions and research profile of the institution, but she claims that overall research dollars are higher. I can see where the AAU is coming from if they use a super narrow scope, but SU is a very unorthodox school that is well respected overall, but doesn’t have a similar profile to most other big schools.

        What strikes me as odd is Nancy Cantor was previously Chancellor/President at Michigan and Illinois before Syracuse. You think with her past experience she more than anyone would know the direction SU would have to go to get a CIC/Big 10 invite or how to retain AAU membership.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          May be hard to believe, but I doubt that’s on the top of her to-do list (especially considering how unlikely a B10 invite for SU would be in any case).

          Like

      • jj says:

        I thought the same thing about Harvey. Tough spot to be in for sure, but it seems to me that he needed to get out there and find some friends.

        I also think it’s disturbing that Ag research seems to get short-shifted. Food & Ag work is, along with water, the most important basic need of society. I’m a city man, but I can’t stand it when people think farming/ag is for idiots.

        Like

        • glenn says:

          no biggie, jj, but fyi, the term would be ‘short-shrifted’.

          if you know that and a finger just didn’t hit right, i apologize.

          Like

      • bullet says:

        I’m not saying the Pelini’s did influence it. But academics tend to be anti-sports and this group would be more so than most. If, particularly the non-FBS schools, had the Pelini’s rantings in their mind as their latest memory of UNL, it sure wouldn’t help. Of course, maybe those people don’t follow sports news enough to even know about that.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          I honestly doubt most of these people have any idea who Bo Pelini is. They know their coach and probably any other famous coach in their conference and that’s about it.

          Like

        • Jake says:

          If Pelini’s behavior was a factor, wouldn’t Big 12 schools have been less supportive?

          Like

  42. glenn says:

    lemme see if i have this straight.

    the nebraska chancellor wanted the game over while the aau said there was still time on the clock.

    is that right?

    Like

    • Gopher86 says:

      Correct. The AAU wanted to extend the voting period to allow members whom were traveling overseas to vote. If they were absentees, their votes would default into Nebraska’s favor. Those two votes ended up sealing Nebraska’s fate.

      Now Nebraska is crowing that extending the voting period was an intentional move by the leadership (that had voted 9-1 in favor of divesting Nebraska, previously) made with the intent to kick Nebraska out. The AAU response is that it wanted to allow all members the opportunity to vote.

      Like

  43. Brian says:

    Barry Alvarez is in favor of going to 9 games, but says it won’t be considered seriously for several years and that 2017 is the earliest date it would happen. He seems to favor adding a second protected rivalry (no shock there).

    OSU/

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/badgers/121008209.html

    Like

    • ohio1317 says:

      That it’s not coming in 2015, I think speaks of an opposition to the move overall.

      Not sure I see two permanent crossovers in the cards. They could conceivably make Iowa-Wisconsin protected for just those two though (similar to how the PAC-10 is going to protect the California rivalries). If they did do a second round of permanent crossovers, what would it look like? My guess would be:

      Wisconsin-Iowa
      Ohio State-Nebraska
      Penn State-Michigan
      Illinois-Michigan State
      Indiana-Minnesota
      Purdue-Northwestern

      Like

      • Brian says:

        I don’t think it reflects a resistance to the idea so much as wanting to adjust to NE and the CCG first. Also, the TV deal runs through 2016.

        Like

        • Cliff's Notes says:

          It would make more sense to have a balance in the cross-over scheduling between the “historical” upper tier and lower tier programs. For both more equality in scheduling, but also more equality in ticket sales. Indiana and Purdue and Northwestern would rather have a bigger name brand on their home schedule.

          Like

      • Richard says:

        ohio:

        It’s more that OOC games are set far, far in advance, so they need to get to a point in time when the schools have the flexibility to hold 9 conference games and still allow 7 home games (for the major schools).

        Like

      • Richard says:

        As for second protected rivalries,

        Split up Iowa-PU

        Iowa-Wisconsin
        Iowa-Illinois
        Nebraska-OSU
        Michigan-PSU
        Minnesota-IU
        Northwestern-PU
        MSU-PU

        Like

        • Brian says:

          I don’t see those pairings being approved. OSU, MI, PSU, NE, IN and MN all have good reasons to vote no. Several other teams might not be enamored with them either.

          Like

  44. Brian says:

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/badgers/121008209.html

    Barry Alvarez is in favor of going to 9 games, but says it won’t be considered seriously for several years and that 2017 is the earliest date it would happen. He seems to favor adding a second protected rivalry (no shock there).

    For TV purposes:

    OSU/NE, PSU/MI, WI/IA, IL/MSU, PU/NW, IN/MN

    Problems:

    The top programs face much tougher schedules, likely forcing everyone towards the middle in terms of records. It could be hard to keep top ranked teams, reducing chances at a NC. The CCG will more often feature a rematch. Forces three rivalries nobody really cares much about.

    Other choices:
    1. No 2nd locked rival except IA/WI (doesn’t force harder schedules on top 6 programs)

    2. Only lock OSU/NE, PSU/MI and WI/IA (doesn’t lock bad rivalries)

    3. OSU/MN, PSU/MSU, WI/IA, IL/NE, PU/NW, IN/MI (doesn’t force harder schedules on top 6, keeps some rivalries)

    Like

    • bullet says:

      The schedule difficulty an influence in the SEC dropping to one protected game. Auburn reluctantly decided to give up their annual FL game as they were playing UGA and FL every year. Noone else was playing more than 1 of UGA, FL, TN.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        Yeah, that’s why I made the second list of possible games. It would balance difficulty while keeping WI/IA. I’m not sure anyone other than WI and IA would want a second locked rival anyway (maybe IN or NW for attendance reasons).

        Like

    • Well Played Mauer says:

      @Brian

      “The top programs face much tougher schedules”

      This is true but Ohio State as played both Penn State and Michigan every year since Penn State came into the conference, and it has not hurt them. In fact the year they played Florida for the NT they played those two schools plus Texas OOC and they still made it to the NT. Also 2 years ago I believe tOSU played UM, PS, USC and a not bad Navy OOC lost 2 games and still made it to the BCS. Nebraska = Texas/USC in the new scheduling.

      Plus if both the PAC-12 and Big Ten go to 9 conference games, it may force the SEC & ACC Hands to do the same. At That point 9 conference games are the new normal and any “tougher” schedule will be relative.

      “The CCG will more often feature a rematch”

      I whole heartily agree with you on this point. However I think this is exactly what the conference fathers want. If they DIDN’T want rematches in the CCG then they never would have split up Ohio State & Michigan and we would not have the pretentiousness idiotic names for our divisions.

      One last thing I would add; [and this is just a gut feeling I have] but depending on the sanctions that come down on Ohio State and how the BCS lawsuit shakes out I think the Big Ten’s whole philosophy may undergo a fundamental shift.

      Right or wrong the Big Ten Presidents “MAY” view Ohio State’s sanctions and the resulting black eye on the conference’s reputation as a result of tOSU trying to keep up with the SEC. It’s not likely but with the Rose Bowl as their ace in the hole, and the large fan bases they have to draw on, the conference as a whole could just reemphasize the importance of the Rose Bowl and leave the NT game to those “unscrupulous programs” south of the Mason-Dixon. After all the ACC still got paid even though they have not had a whiff of the NT game in almost 2 decades.

      I don’t know; I just get this feeling that the powers that be are getting sick of buy games, and revenue sharing with mid-majors, the tOSU/USC style scandals, Anti-trust lawsuits, etc and they may be positioning them selves to be more insular and less dependent on other conferences for TV revenue. If that is the case then ohio1317 may be right on with that secondary rivalry lineup because the TV execs will love it.

      Cheers-

      Like

      • Michael in Indy says:

        “After all the ACC still got paid even though they have not had a whiff of the NT game in almost 2 decades.”

        FSU played in the national title game after the 2000 season. 11 years is a far cry from “almost 2 decades.” They also won it 1999, played in it in 1998 and 1996, and won it in 1993.

        Let’s not stretch the crap out of the truth just to make our arguments sound stronger.

        Like

      • Brian says:

        Well Played Mauer,

        “The top programs face much tougher schedules”

        “This is true but Ohio State as played both Penn State and Michigan every year since Penn State came into the conference, and it has not hurt them.”

        I disagree. It has hurt OSU, but OSU has still done well.

        OSU B10 losses since 1993:
        WI 5 (worst W%)
        MI 7
        PSU 6
        IL 4
        PU 3
        MSU 2
        NW, MN & IA 1
        IN 0

        I ran the numbers, and if OSU had played every team equally over that span and kept the same winning percentages, OSU would have lost 28 games instead of 30 (1 more loss to WI, 2 less to MI and 1 less to PSU with rounding).

        Losses to MI in 1993, 1995, 1996 and 2003 cost OSU slots in the Rose and/or NC game. Losses to PSU in 1994, 2005 and 2008 cost OSU slots in the Rose Bowl. Losses to both in 1997 cost OSU another Rose/NC shot. If Cooper doesn’t lose to MI in 1995 or 1996, he gets 2 shots at a NC and may have stayed at OSU much longer. The point is, OSU has paid a price for playing MI and PSU every year. Adding NE every year would ruin even more chances at special seasons.

        While the details would change, MI, PSU and NE would all have similar stories. Right now everyone has to play 2 of the 4 elite programs every year and sometimes will get 3 of 4 and maybe even 4 of 4.

        Forcing more elite/elite match-ups will help the middle compete for more titles, but will hurt the B10’s national reputation by reducing the elite programs (look at the effect of MI being down recently, or when WF won the ACC). It would be good for TV ratings but bad for the conference overall, in my opinion, to lock another set of elite/elite rivalries.

        “Plus if both the PAC-12 and Big Ten go to 9 conference games, it may force the SEC & ACC Hands to do the same. At That point 9 conference games are the new normal and any “tougher” schedule will be relative.”

        There is no way the SEC would feel pressured to play 9 games just because other leagues do. They might choose it eventually for financial reasons, but they are immune to peer pressure on something like that.

        “The CCG will more often feature a rematch”

        I whole heartily agree with you on this point. However I think this is exactly what the conference fathers want. If they DIDN’T want rematches in the CCG then they never would have split up Ohio State & Michigan and we would not have the pretentiousness idiotic names for our divisions.

        In my opinion, the B10 would like to see OSU/MI rematches and would be OK with NE/PSU, OSU/NE and PSU/MI rematches (those last two aren’t quite as sexy nationally I don’t think) for TV/$$$ reasons, but they don’t want rematches otherwise. Rematches usually hurt ratings, especially if the first game wasn’t close.

        As for your gut feeling, I think it is wrong. Nobody likes what happened at OSU, but it’s not buying players in the SEC tradition. It certainly isn’t going to change the direction of the whole conference in terms of wanting to compete with the best.

        Like

        • M says:

          I actually did this out a while ago for all the Big Ten teams 1993-2010 if everyone played each other an equal numbers of times:

          Illinois +1.36
          Indiana +1.04
          Iowa +1.77
          Michigan -2.17
          Michigan State -1.46
          Minnesota -1.33
          Northwestern 1.61
          Ohio State -1.94
          Penn State -1.57
          Purdue +2
          Wisconsin 0.7

          I also did for the future in an 8 game conference schedule, assuming teams kept their same relative win percentage. I also assumed teams would have a winning percentage against Nebraska equal to the average of their winning percentage against OSU, PSU and Michigan:

          Team, Extra Conference Wins/Year
          Illinois 0.082
          Indiana -0.148
          Iowa 0.066
          Michigan -0.143
          Michigan State 0.058
          Minnesota -0.123
          Northwestern 0.143
          Ohio State -0.2
          Penn State 0.097
          Purdue -0.108
          Wisconsin 0.252

          The most interesting difference is the net .452 between Wisconsin (whose cross divisional opponent is Minnesota) and OSU (whose cross division opponent is Michigan). In other words, Wisconsin will get nearly an extra win every two years based on schedule alone compared to OSU.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            Yes, WI was the clear winner in terms of divisional alignment helping a team win. Adding OSU/NE and WI/IA should only widen the gap as OSU’s schedule would get even harder compared to WI’s. This is why I say the top teams would have a legitimate gripe about the balance of schedules.

            Like

          • jj says:

            Everyone has an opinion. I like 9 games with 2 cross-overs, I declare this to be fair:

            Iowa / Wisc
            Mich / Purdue
            MSU / PSU
            Neb / Ill
            Minn / Ind
            NW / OSU

            Note, the “Big 4” are spread out, which seems the most fair thing to do to me.

            I think the only “wrongs” that need “righting” are Wisc / Iowa & MSU getting one of its big games taken away (or swapped in a way).

            Like

          • jj says:

            Eases up on the big 4 scheduling, gives the rest of the pack another big sale day, and cuts the currently worst producing 2 teams some slack.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            jj,

            Those pairings are certainly more fair than the TV friendly version, if not exactly what I would choose. However, I don’t see a majority of the schools liking the second locked rival.

            IA and WI would like it. NW, IL and PU might want to lock in the sellouts or might prefer more frequent games against everyone. At best the MSU and PSU fan bases have been split over whether they care about that game or not. They might both choose that pairing if they have to lock a second rival, but I’m not sure they would prefer that to the variety. Certainly OSU, MI and NE would not want to lock in such unimportant games. I’m not sure IN and MN want to lock in such a tiny crowd every year, either.

            Like

          • jj says:

            Hey Brian:

            My thought/hope is that everyone would be losing a crappy game with moving to 3 ooc games. Frankly, having one of the on-paper easier conference games is an advantage. I think the weak link here would be Minn & Ind. Not sure what to do with them really. I also think the 2 lock is needed to weigh Wisc down a bit more.

            Like

          • M says:

            @Brian

            The point you’re missing is that OSU doesn’t want to play more road games at the middle and lower tier conference teams. They would never schedule a home and home with Minnesota or Northwestern; why would they want to force one in conference?

            Like

          • Brian says:

            M,

            Of course OSU doesn’t want more road conference games at MN and/or NW per se, but they understand that is the price they pay for losing a payday OOC game and helping out other conference members. OSU also doesn’t want more games at NE.

            As an OSU alum, I’d rather have forced road games at NW or MN every other year than at NE simply for the sake of winning. OSU doesn’t need NE coming to town to sell out a home game, so there’s no financial loss there.

            jj’s pairings do a decent job of balancing schedule difficulty so no team gets too much of an advantage towards winning the conference. That’s more important to me as a fan than any other schedule issues.

            I’d still prefer only locking 1 rival (except IA/WI and MSU/PSU if both schools want it), but if you have to lock 2 then I’d like them to be balanced.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            jj,

            I just think the top programs would rather see more teams more often rather than lock a weak second rival.

            Yes, going to 9 eliminates 1 bad OOC game hopefully, but replacing that with an annual IN or MN game (half on the road) isn’t an improvement except maybe for the AD. Getting a mix of the other 5 schools is better than locking in a bad one.

            The good news is, the choice of a second rival doesn’t have a huge impact on the expected wins for any team on average. I ran the numbers the same way you did, also assuming NE was an average of OSU, PSU and MI.

            Most teams should only win or lose 1 extra game every 5 years. MSU could gain the most since they dominate IL but PSU dominates them, but even they are looking at only 1 game every 3 years.

            The year to year fluctuations in schedule, location and team strength should be enough to reduce the effects from the schedule difficulty. Of course, the numbers can’t account for the wear and tear of playing a top conference opponent instead of a MAC/FCS team.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            jj:

            If we go to 2 cross-divisional rivals, Iowa-PU will be dropped and both Iowa-Wisconsin and Iowa-Illinois would be added.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            I think we all agree IA/WI will be added if there is a second locked rival.

            Do you have any evidence that IA/PU would be dropped for IA/IL (quotes from ADs, rumors, etc) or is that your personal opinion? IA has played PU a lot more than IL in the past 50 years (44 to 36) and that will only increase with the next few years of IA/PU locked.

            Like

    • Brian says:

      As a follow up, Adam Rittenberg says the 9 game schedule is on the agenda for the B10 meetings according to the conference office.

      http://espn.go.com/blog/ncfnation/post/_/id/41483/9-game-sked-on-b1g-spring-meeting-agenda

      Like

  45. ohio1317 says:

    PAC-10 agrees to 12 year $2.7 billion dollar deal with Fox and ESPN. Conference holds back some rights possibly for their own network.

    http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Morning-Buzz/2011/05/03/Pac-12.aspx

    Like

  46. swesleyh says:

    http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Morning-Buzz/2011/05/03/Pac-12.aspx

    It appears that Colorado will double their income with their move from the Big 12-2 to their new home in the PAC 12. Does anybody have the numbers the Big 12-2 is bandying about for the 12-2’s new TV deal as a comparison?

    Like

    • Michael in Indy says:

      I get the feeling that Colorado’s move was not about money. The differences in the long run will be fairly minimal, and in the short term, the exit fees carry a financial loss during a time the athletic department is in debt.

      CU’s move really was more about moving to the league that fit them better culturally. Colorado’s only heated rival in the Big 12, to my knowledge, was Nebraska, and even the Huskers themselves never felt the rivalry was very significant. The other B12 North schools–Iowa State, Mizzou, and the Kansas schools–were far away and seemed to have little in common with Colorado, other than a shared history. To me, Colorado in the Big 12 was at least as out of place as Boston College in the ACC, if not more so, despite CU’s longer history with B12 schools.

      Like

      • cfn_ms says:

        I tend to agree with this. And even BC in ACC is mainly because they just didn’t want to be in the Big East anymore once Miami was gone.

        That said, I think Colorado will end up making more in Pac-12 over the long term than they would have in Big 12 once you factor in the P12 Network (which should be at least another few $M per school year year once it really gets going).

        Like

      • Super D says:

        There were a couple of other issues that made it a much better fit, including the association with a group of schools that we were more similar too in terms of academic profile. The biggest issue was that it gets us much closer to our largest out-of-state alumni bases, the PAC 12 states dwarf the alumni numbers in any of the Big 12 states, and it raises our profile in the region that is going to be the greatest source of future students.

        That said, I’m pretty sure we’re going to make money in the Pac 12. Maybe Texas, TAMU or Oklahoma wouldn’t, but we will, particularly since its now being reported that its a 250 per year average, with some rights retained for a Pac 12 network and a new digital distribution channel similar to ESPN3.com.

        Like

      • bullet says:

        Once Colorado’s economic ties were to the Great Plains and Texas, but it has shifted to the west coast. They were going as long as they could afford the move, regardless of conference $ (as long as it was close). AZ has more CU alums than all the Big 12 states combined except for Texas. And California has the largest number.

        Like

      • Gopher86 says:

        It’s sad to see the Buffs go, but hats off to them for making the right move. There really wasn’t much left for them with the prospect of Nebraska leaving. CU was always a bit of an outlier in the conference, but certainly a welcomed one.

        I’m sure there are a lot of Denver Big 12’ers that are pretty upset about this. Denver has been a very important hub for the majority of the Big 12 Norht teams. The move will be a big game changer for alumni and future student recruitment efforts for many Big 12 universities.

        Like

    • bullet says:

      Based on the 250 million number, that is $21 million a year/school + some amount for their network. That would put the Pac 12 first, a little ahead of the B1G. The SEC is $17.1 million ($205 million average per year) but that doesn’t include tertiary rights. Big 12 is $15 million ($60 ABC + $90 Fox) w/o tertiary (they were at $80 million/12=$6.7 per school for TV-CU was getting total distributions from the conference around $8 million). ACC looked good at the time, but now we can see it was at the bottom of the market at $12.9 million for all rights ($155 million average per year).

      When you consider that most of the SEC schools are getting $5+ million for tertiary its:
      1 Pac 12 (their network will keep them above SEC)
      2 SEC
      3 B1G
      4 Big 12
      5 ACC

      The Big 12 will almost certainly move into #1 or #2 when they renew their primary contract moving the B1G temporarily to 4th until they renew theirs a year or two after the Big 12. At that point the SEC will likely drop to #4, but all the top 4 will be close.

      It will be interesting to see what the BE gets. And whether those offers motivate a split. ESPN is supposedly saying an early renewal will get 110-130 million/year. If you assume $70 million bb and $60 million fb, you get $70/17=4.1 + $60/10=6.0 for a total of $10.1 for the football schools.

      Like

      • frug says:

        Are you sure that it is $5 million on average for the SEC schools? I thought the $5 million number was the high end that schools like Georgia and Florida made?

        Also, have you accounted for the CCG for the Big 10 number?

        Like

        • bullet says:

          Not certain at all about the SEC #. But Alan, who is pretty knowledgable about SEC affairs stated that most were making around $5 million. Ole Miss, MS St. and Vandy are likely below that, but FL and UGA are above. LSU, Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas, TN, and UK (basketball) all do very well. Not sure about S. Carolina.

          Most figures I’ve seen quoted on the B1G say $20-21 million so that’s what I’m basing the above post on. Because the BTN #s aren’t readily available and are variable, its hard to pin down exactly.

          Like

        • greg says:

          OSU makes something like $11M, Iowa makes $5M, so its not like the SEC is the only one pulling down these numbers.

          I’ll just point out again: we don’t have the data.

          Like

        • Nostradamus says:

          1. Georgia $11.6 million a year (ISP)
          2. Ohio State $11 million (IMG)
          3. Florida $10 million (Sun Sports/IMG)
          4. Alabama $9.44 million (ISP/Learfield)
          5. Texas $9.4 million (IMG)
          6. Nebraska $8.65 million (IMG)
          7. Tennessee 8.34 million (IMG)
          8. Connecticut $8 million (IMG)
          8. Kentucky $8 million (IMG)
          10. North Carolina $7.5 million (Learfield)
          11. LSU $7.45 million, 12. Arkansas $7.3 million 13. Michigan $7.16 million

          Like

          • Nostradamus says:

            Texas is pre-LSN. LSU’s PPV game likely isn’t factored into those numbers per Alan and the fact they rank 11th likely backs that up.

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            The $7.45mm number for LSU is reflective of its 3rd tier TV rights with Cox Sports and its radio rights. LSU’s internet rights, signage, corporate sponsorships and football PPV game are not reflected in that figure.

            Its really hard to know how to compare apples to apples when you get past the 2nd tier rights. I understand that those ISP, IMG, and Learfield contracts probably include TV, radio, signage, and internet. That’s not the case with LSU. Also, I think the Florida/Sun Sports $10mm deal is just TV, but I could be wrong.

            Like

    • bullet says:

      Big 12 contract:
      http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2011/apr/14/big-12s-tv-deal-worth-1-billion/

      A lot of media quotes $130 million for the Big 12 current deal, but that seems based on the initial reports that Fox was $70 million. Later reports put it at $90 million, making the deal $150 million.

      Like

  47. ccrider55 says:

    Wilner post:

    *** 7:55 a.m. update: Hearing that 1) the initial figures are light — the actual deal is more lucrative than what has been reported thus far. Could be $250 million annually? … 2) Pac-12 Network still very much a possibility … Also, I think there still a big piece of this that has NOT been disclosed. None of the info is coming from the Pac-12. The league could release all the info Wednesday.

    *** 6:39 a.m. update: Looks like SportsBusiness Daily beat me to the punch. Those guys are good.

    Like

  48. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Dennis Dodds is now writing 12 years for $3 billion.

    http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/6270202/29025408

    Like

  49. MrTemecula says:

    Larry Scott, you magnificent bastard! I don’t know what kind of games ESPN was playing, but you really put the screws to them. Moreover, I’ve read you still have some rights to start a conference network. Shrewed. You probably can get ESPN to pony up for that, too. The Nueve.

    Like

  50. Stats says:

    And they own 100% of their network. Going to be hard for the B1G to ever catch up given that they’re in a hole to begin with if this number is accurate, then they’ve got that 50% difference in network ownership on top of it.

    Like

    • greg says:

      I think its a little silly, given the uncertain numbers in front of us, for people to rank the conference payouts with precision. B1G and SEC have been the top tier, and it looks like P12 will join them in the top tier. I think its foolish to pretend the P12 is now “in the lead”.

      As for the P12 100% network ownership… B1G gave up 49% of the ownership to get immediate national satellite coverage and to basically subsidize the startup risk. B1G has a monthly carriage fees like are likely to be impossible for P12 to match. The P12 channel doesn’t even exist, so I don’t think it makes any sense to talk about B1G catching up. Call me when P12 network starts making a profit, it will be years from now.

      If anything, P12 has pulled into the B1G/SEC tier for 2012-13 through 2015-2016, at least on a network payout basis. That ignores the currently lucrative BTN payouts, and SEC’s tertiary edge. Then B1G will start what will likely be a massive new network contract.

      Like

      • ccrider55 says:

        Everybody seems to treat this as a race but seem to forget that there are staggered start times and no finish line, only check points along the way.

        Like

    • Jake says:

      This could be good news for the Big East. If just having big markets, even without a super passionate fanbase, is enough to get you a big deal, then the BEast is all set. Might even get a conference network, which was the one thing I regretted about leaving the MWC. It’s nice to be able to watch conference baseball games on TV.

      And just think about the jump Utah is making here. The TV money they were getting from the MWC is going to look like a rounding error once they move to the Pac-12.

      Like

      • frug says:

        Yep. For all that was made about talk about Texas and the Big 10, nobody improved their situation more than Utah in this last round of realignment. In fact, it’s not particularly close.

        Like

      • Mike says:

        What does that do to BYU? If Utah jumps ahead in in the “arms race” does this start the decline of the Cougars?

        Like

      • Mike says:

        What does that do to BYU? If Utah jumps ahead in the “arms race” does this start the decline of the Cougars?

        Like

  51. ccrider55 says:

    Cal gymnastics sucessfully ransomed.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/news/story?id=6468869

    Like

    • Brian says:

      One would think the new TV deal would be enough to restore them all.

      Like

      • ccrider55 says:

        That, and restore some sports that have been cut in the past.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          They have a pretty broad program now (25 teams I think). Plus, they have stadium renovations to pay for too.

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            I agree. However, as a former wrestler I’d think restoring that program (cut in 1980) would only cost 300+K/year and would provide a state of over 35 million the fourth D1 in state destination for the over 25000 CA high school wrestlers.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Wrestling would cost a lot more than that. Scholarships, coaches salaries, travel, operating costs, etc would add up quickly. Besides, it might cause Title IX issues.

            It’s be nice to see more schools add wrestling and men’s gymnastics before those sports die off, and hopefully these recent TV deals help, but most schools will need to find another women’s sport too.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Dan Hicks ws running Fullerton at under 250K. Nobody says you have to be at full scholorships. Many programs are not. U of Oregon baseball only gave 4 first year back and won’t reach full for another year or two.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Under 250k considering what costs? And how much is tuition at Cal versus CSF?

            My guess is Cal doesn’t want to do any sport half-assed. If they add wrestling, they’ll want to do it right. Last year the P10 schools spent $2.3 million on wrestling with 81 participants on 3 teams.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            I find that number hard to believe. Unless it changed recently Stanford does not use the full 9.9 scholarships, Oregon State is aproaching full endowment for the program, and ASU has Art Martori(sp?) who basically funds that program, built their new practice facility.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            As with the five rescued Cal programs OSU and ASU wrestling will be self funded in the near future. The new bump coming in income to Cal would seem an opportunity to provide some seed money to start the same process for other discontinued sports.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            That number is what the programs cost to run, as self-reported to the DoE. It says nothing about the source of the money. They also reported $1.7M in revenue for a net cost of about $600k, but you didn’t mention net cost.

            I think the schools are wise to use the new money to reduce funding from the schools, build up reserves and pay down debt rather than trying to add programs and face a possible money crisis in the future.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            I conceed if it is actually has a long term cost. My point was to seed a program that would, as the 5 that were just saved will be, self funding. Some smaller (yes, with lower costs) enrollment driven schools look to some sports as a net income producer. A team of aprox 35 would mean at least 25 full cost of tuition paying students. I doubt that would matter at Cal.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Do you think those other teams will stay self-funded with this new deal? I know they had to get 5 years worth of money together, but it’s hard to imagine people keeping them funded with this much TV money rolling in.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            I don’t know about the sports at Cal but ASU and OSU wrestling will be. In the OSU case the endowment is ironclad (which has been tested) so the school cannot use it for any other purpose…unlike what happened to Nuter Dame’s 10 mill wrestling endowment in the ’80s.

            Perhaps my hopes are not completely misplaced.
            “2.Scott also said the $21 million annual revenue for each school will allow schools to reinstate sports that have been cut. (The impact of the new deal on women’s and Olympic sports cannot be overstated.)”
            Or maybe thats just words in the wind.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            I’m just guessing that they are talking about recently cut sports more than ones dropped decades ago.

            Cal made their cuts to reduce the amount of support the school gives the athletic department. This deal will help a lot with that, but they were in really bad shape before. I think they will be conservative in growing the department, especially with the stadium renovations to pay for now.

            Like

  52. Frank the Ag says:

    I can’t see the SE