If it doesn’t work out, there’s always more expansion.

Rumor has it that the SEC’s network deal will likely be for 15-20 years.  Long time, there.  Bernie Machen’s not worried about that.

“If it goes big, it will be huge,” Machen said. “If it doesn’t, it won’t be. I think it will be huge.”

Well, maybe more like Bernie Machen has no idea about whether to be worried about that.

For all the confident excitement about this, it seems like everybody’s forgotten it was Slive’s incompetence in negotiating the last TV deal that led to a conference expansion that he still hasn’t wrapped his brain completely around yet.  Why exactly are we supposed to believe that this time around he got it right?

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25 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

25 responses to “If it doesn’t work out, there’s always more expansion.

  1. Mike

    Senator, In your opinion what did Slive do the last time that you consider to be incompetent?

    • He didn’t negotiate an opt-out deal in case a few years down the road market conditions changed. Which they did.

      • Mike

        Ahh…but haven’t the TV deals been renegotiated anyway ?

        • Haven’t heard yet. But as a fan, was it worth the scheduling crap we’re suffering through for them to get a better deal? And as a school president, wouldn’t it have been easier just to negotiate the opt-out in the first place?

          • Mike

            You contend that the reason the SEC won’t go to a 9 game SEC regular season schedule is because of the TV contracts? I haven’t followed the reasoning behind not expanding the SEC games very closely, but that seems a bit odd. And indeed incompetent on Slive’s part.

            • The SEC had to expand to fourteen schools, with all the awkward scheduling issues – Georgia plays at Auburn in back-to-back seasons, for example – that have ensued (both in basketball and in football), because it was the only way to get the networks to revisit the contract terms.

              It’s not that I’m blaming a nine-game schedule on the TV contracts. It’s that that’s probably the best way to bring some semblance of balance back to conference scheduling in football.

              None of this would have been necessary if Slive hadn’t felt obligated to undo his mistake through conference expansion.

        • Connor

          Tangential, but this is the same reason the playoff will expand. If it’s successful, which I suspect it will be, the schools and conferences will quickly realize that they undervalued it when they sold it to ESPN et al. In order to go back to the negotiating table they’ll have to expand the product, just like the SEC did with A&M and Missouri. It’ll be 8 teams in no time.

      • Keese

        How do you negotiate an opt out clause with ESPN when they’re doling out big TV dollars at the time? Hindsight is easy to criticize

        • Are you serious? Why do you think they’re doling out big dollars?

          The whole story about sports broadcasting rights over the past decade is that they’ve been seriously undervalued. When you’re offering the best football conference in the land as product, you’ve got all the leverage you need. Slive didn’t appreciate his own bargaining position.

          • Keese

            Ok so ESPN allows a one sided opt out clause? What would they get out if it other than a year-year deal. Pretty weak position for such a big $ contract

            • (1) why would it be one-sided? I doubt the SEC would be worried ESPN would want to back out.

              (2) opt-outs don’t have to be year-to-year, or even repeated. Most of the ones I see set out a single, specified time during the contract term for that to occur.

          • Keese

            Do any of the other conferences have this? ( not trying to hammer such a small point here)

            • Big Ten and Pac-12 are running their own networks, so there’s nobody to opt out with. Doubt the small fry would have the leverage to negotiate it (or, in the case of the Big East would want to risk broadcast partner walking away).

              Don’t know about the others. But I’d argue none of the others equal the SEC’s market power.

  2. ETennDawg

    Will i be expected to pay an additional fee for the new SEC network, or will I get it by being “southern by the grace of GAWD?” I am a directv guy btw.

  3. Will Trane

    Everything increased in price…healthcare, property taxes, satellite subscriptions, gas, food, name it. I’d pay a fair price to see all the Dawg’s football games on TV.
    Is there a possiblity the AD could hire a “woman” to coach the men’s basketball team and “another woman” to coach the men’s baseball team. I do not know why it took me so long to understand why the women’s program do so well at UGA…most have women coaches.

    • At least those coaches don’t constantly bitch like a woman.

    • Cojones

      You’re a brave soul, Will Trane.

      Women shop better and are good with children. They would be great negotiating on Slive’s staff as well as in charge of UGA recruiting.

  4. Scott

    Will this deal mean no more CBS games?

    • Go Dawgs!

      No. At least, not for a long time. This won’t void the contracts the league had signed. And while some conference football will eventually be shown on the new network, it will be the worst games like GA Southern at UGA. Broadcast TV still reaches the most viewers and has the most money so it remains the most desired outlet, followed by ESPN. In the coming decades the conference networks may get better games, but not anytime soon. What this does mean is even more exposure for SEC baseball and softball and the other sports.

    • Dog in Fla

      Does Verne have a longer half-life than the CBS contract?