The Edsel of conference expansion moves

What struck me in reading this post about the value ACC schools bring to the table isn’t that FSU is getting screwed.

It’s that whoever had the thought to invite Boston College into the conference as a shrewd choice to gain access to a new market is a complete idiot.  If he or she is still working for the ACC, they all deserve what they get from here on out.

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23 Comments

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23 responses to “The Edsel of conference expansion moves

  1. SSB Charley

    Reminds me of what Kyle King said about the Big Ten taking NU over Mizzou: Mizzou promised more eyeballs. Nebraska promised more eyeballs that would watch.

  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    I’d like to see that data over 5 years. Pat on the back for lots of work though.

    Boston College? Lots of people in Massachusetts. Guess college sports ain’t their thing.

    • TennesseeDawg

      Lots of people in Massachusetts that don’t watch Boston College.

      • Joe

        Exactly, why not invite Temple as well then to get the Philly market? And for balance, why not Fordham!

    • Comin' Down The Track

      Ian Faith: The Boston gig has been cancelled…
      David St. Hubbins: What?
      Ian Faith: Yeah. I wouldn’t worry about it though, it’s not a big college town.

  3. And now the ACC has compounded its mistake by adding Pitt and Syracuse. Two more programs that would’ve been great gets in, oh, 1997 but seem mostly indifferent now.

    The funny thing is, in its original round of expansion back in ’04, the ACC was zeroing in on Miami, Syracuse and BC; Virginia Tech only got shoehorned into the deal at the last minute because of pressure from the Virginia governor to have both of his state’s flagship schools in the same league. Since then, though, VT is the only one who’s contributed consistently to the conference’s football success (not to mention the only one with a BCS bowl victory).

    • John Swofford is real popular within about a 15 mile epicenter of ACC country. Outside of that…not so much.

      • I wonder if ESPN has a grand scheme, where ultimately the Big East, or at least the respectable football playing portions of the Big East, get absorbed in to the ACC, and we’re left with 5 super conferences-Pac 12, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, ACC, of varying sizes and strengths. The ACC can be composed of Wake, NC, NC St, Duke, UVA, Va Tech, Maryland, BC, Syracuse, Pitt, and then add UConn, Rutgers, and whatever Big East teams survive the cut between the creation of a big boy D1 (the aforementioned 5 conferences) and a little brother D1 (of the SunBelts, MACs, Mountain Wests, etc).

      • CLT Dawg

        I’m not sure his popularity makes it past the gates at Grandover…complete bungling of their expansion regardless of how they try to spin it.

  4. Always Someone Else's Fault

    So, of the ACC’s 4 best draws, 4 stink and 2 just got nailed for cheating 9 ways to Sunday. There’s a formula for success for ya.

    His formula for viewership (Average Viewers x Times Shown) is in the ballpark but leaves a lot of room to move those totals one way or the other. I understand he can’t do more without individual numbers per broadcast. I’m assuming I read him right – I skimmed it.

    Second, I didn’t see anything to adjust for probable ratios of viewers. For example, FSU gets massive credit for the Oklahoma game. How many of those viewers belong to Oklahoma? They watched that game, but you can’t assume they represent long-term value for FSU. And I assume they were one-time viewers because, drum roll, they ain’t there in later broadcasts.

    That’s even more an issue in basketball. Example: Hard to believe that Miami brings as much to table as UNC. UNC and Duke get the multiplier for the number of times they appear, but I’m betting almost all of the viewers for a UNC-Miami game are there for UNC. How do viewers in these games get apportioned? Short of data, you just split them, but that’s probably an error as well.

    In short, lots of numbers, looks great, probably illustrates some trends, but hardly definitive and probably warped given the short sample size and methodology. But it’s all Gospel now to FSU fans.

    I’m an English/history guy, which probably means some econ major is going to shred me on this.

  5. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Seems pretty clear. If the SEC is going to expand further it needs to add FSU and Clemson whether FU and USCe like it or not.

    • I always ask why, and no one has ever had a monetary based answer. It’s tradition, or geography, or a “natural fit” sort of argument. But that’s not what major college athletics is about anymore. It’s a billion dollar industry about money, and making as much as possible. So with that in mind, what does Clemson or FSU bring to the table we don’t already own? They don’t add TV markets, eyeballs for games or for a possible SEC Network cable channel, neither is a national championship caliber program right now, and more importantly, they simple do not add to the pie. We’ve got this big pie already, cut in to 14 slices. We made it 14 slices because the extra 2 for A&M and Missouri made the overall pie bigger. When Univ. Presidents vote, FSU and Clemson don’t add academic prestige, don’t add markets, and most importantly, don’t add value monetarily to warrant making more slices of pie since neither one gives us a bigger pie.

      • Yep. If the SEC wants to raid the ACC, Va. Tech far and away makes the most sense as the target.

        • I’d make that realistic target. The most sense of a target is North Carolina imo, bigger name brand and I’m assuming they add as many, if not more because of a wider following, eyeballs than VT would. But then, I doubt they are a realistic option without being piggybacked to at least one, if not all 3 of the other Tobacco Road schools. But singularly, North Carolina has got to be much more valuable than Va Tech.

          • Basketball, yes. Football, no. And don’t underestimate the size of the media market VT pulls in.

            • NC football has had some decent success. They certainly aren’t Vandy, or Kentucky in terms of football, and with the right coach have proven to be very good.

              But VT really pulls in a strong media market? I know they can claim DC and NoVa, but is that area strongly aligned with them? They still have to split some with UVa, in addition to a pro market of Washington and a lot of transients or folks moving in with other allegiances. I’d think NC has a larger fanbase, a very dedicated fan base, and can pull in greater numbers, along the lines of SSB Charley’s opening comment about not just fans and eyeballs, but “eyeballs that would watch”.

              But then, even if they were the greater singular target, they aren’t really singular in that I can’t imagine politics in the state allowing them to split from the other Tobacco Rd schools.

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                I for one would love for UNC to be in the SEC. Ain’t happening. Basketball. UNC is joined at the hip to Duke and for that matter NC State and Wake, too. As for the physical proximity Tallahassee is barely across the state line from Georgia and Clemson is almost in Georgia, too. Finally, look at the linked study. If we are going to raid the ACC FSU and Clemson are the best 2 teams for the SEC to acquire for financial reasons. As for academics, the SEC is the home to Auburn, Mississippi State, Bama, Kentucky….tell me with a straight face that the SEC is so superior academically.

                • Todd

                  Do people put ACC or SEC on their resume? I never undertstood the conference – academic tie in.
                  In the words of an Alabama recruit, “you can go to school anywhere, I am going to Alabama to play football.”

              • Governor Milledge

                VT is approximately 50% bigger in student body size. The Senator, while a Cavalier through and through, would probably be quick to admit the sheer dominance/interest in VT v UVA. It also helps that George Welsh stuck on a few years too long, and Al Groh was nothing but putrid, in contrast to the ascendancy of Beemer ball.

                Besides my dad (UVA alum) and his friends, every person I ever ask about college allegiance in Virginia generally answers VT. UVA has a strong upper class/white collar association, while VT is far and away viewed as blue collar. Which of those two groups is more rabid about college football? Which one is more likely to attract the casual, non-alumni Wal-mart fans?

                You are right though, between a top-tier VT program and a playoff-bound Redskins, the ‘Skins always win in NoVa

        • Cojones

          It always did. Their highly competitive nature adds more to their fit into the SEC.

      • The Bruce

        Here’s my problem with that. Let’s say you are building a conference from scratch. Would you pick Auburn for your conference (assuming the National Cam-pionship never happened)? What tv market does Auburn bring to the table? Mobile-Pensacola at # 60? http://www.stationindex.com/tv/tv-markets
        (meanwhile, you could make an argument for Clemson bringing Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville-Anderson at a respectable # 36)

        Just going by media markets, there’s not much reason for Georgia-Auburn to have many viewers. BUT people watch games like Georgia-Auburn specifically because of the geography and tradition and things like that. The game is important BECAUSE WE HATE EACH OTHER. And because we have been hating each other for over a century.

        Personally, I hate both the Jets and the Patriots, but I enjoy watching their games because of the nature of their rivalry. It’s the tradition and the passion that makes the SEC great viewing, not tv markets. Why don’t we drop the Starkville Bulldogs and bring in the Tampa-St. Petersburg Bulls? Because NOBODY CARES ABOUT SOUTH FLORIDA. Because they have no tradition, and that is what college football is all about.

        I guess, basically, you’re saying money over tradition, and I’m trying to make the point that, in college football, tradition equals money. Can you honestly tell me that you think Georgia-Virginia Tech would bring in more tv viewers around the country than a renewed Georgia-Clemson rivalry?

  6. Greg

    In fairness to BC, the one year sample couldn’t have been done in a worse year for them. They were 4-8 in football and lost 6 of their first 7 games(beating only FCS UMass). In basketball, they were 9-22 and won only 2 of their first 9 games(barely winning those over no-name schools). BC agreed to move from the Big East out of necessity, not because they wanted to do so. The current state of their football and basketball programs has everything to do with being a part of the ACC where they have no natural rivals. Other than ND, there is no football game on their schedule to get excited about. There’s just too much distance and not enough common ground for BC to strike up an intense rivalry with teams in NC, VA , SC, etc. You don’t think this impacts recruiting? Bringing in a couple of new ACC members from the NE will help.

    As for VT, I’m a UGA grad who lives in Richmond and has traveled extensively throughout the state. Blacksburg/Christiansburg is a rural area, but Roanoke is a decent-sized city close by and the 3 large population centers in VA – Northern VA, VA Beach/Norfolk(Tidewater region) and Richmond all have huge Hokie fan bases. Blacksburg is only a 4 hour drive up 81 from Knoxville. Certainly a much better fit for the SEC than Mizzou, but I’m sure they feel a good bit of loyalty to the ACC since they moved there from the Big East 8 years ago.