Seriously, the big news is that the SEC Network has its first major distribution deal.
Now I just wonder how much that’s gonna cost me.
There’s always something to grab.
Remember when everyone and his brother were hailing Pac-12 Commish Larry Scott for his genius in negotiating his conference’s new broadcast deals? All that money, served up on a platter.
Yeah, well, the bill’s come due.
The Pac-12 is in discussions with its network partners to change programming practices and avoid another season with an overwhelming number of night games, according to sources inside and outside the conference.
I wouldn’t necessarily characterize the back-and-forth as negotiations, because the league has a contract with ESPN and Fox that isn’t going away for a decade.
But Pac-12 officials were not happy with the ’13 broadcast schedule and are working with their partners to find an acceptable resolution for all parties involved. One source called the league’s approach “fair but firm.”
The conference spent three months listening to complaints from fans and school officials. Commissioner Larry Scott and his lieutenant are keenly aware of the frustration.
Whether they can do anything about it remains to be seen.
A $3 billion dollar deal and the networks want say so over broadcast times. Some kinda nerve there.
But here’s what they can do: They can reduce or eliminate the exclusive window for the over-the-air broadcasts on ABC and Big FOX.
Maybe they eliminate it altogether.
Maybe they scrap it for half of the 10 broadcasts.
Either way, it would create more flexibility for the Pac12Nets.
I don’t know the specifics of the options being discussed.
But I know this: If nothing changes, the uproar from fans and campuses will be significant.
Maybe Larry can hit ‘em into silence with the conference’s bank account. After all, we know who’s gonna win here.
How much are some conferences struggling against going to a nine-game conference schedule. Enough for at least some folks in the ACC and SEC to consider something along these lines.
In addition to considering a nine-game conference schedule, ACC officials have also broached the idea of a model in which the conference would play eight league games and one SEC team every year, according to several sources from both conferences.
I really doubt that comes together. I’m not the only one.
The SEC source said he did not see a scenario where all 14 SEC schools would agree to it, but there may be a scenario in which the SEC could match some teams against the ACC, particularly if those SEC teams were having trouble finding a suitable BCS nonconference opponent.
It is unlikely that the SEC would make all its teams play the ACC on the final week of the season, when the Auburn-Alabama already game steals the show.
Two SEC sources said the conference was also considering more regular matchups with the Big 12.
I don’t know why they keep fighting a nine-game arrangement. It’s the easiest scenario for the conferences to control. But it’s pretty clear everybody wants to placate
their new conference overlords ESPN with more quality product.
Interesting tale from the board of trustees meeting for the Georgia Tech Athletic Association last Thursday, where Tech’s AD shared the following:
At the conference’s meetings this week, the conference and ESPN are expected to have an update on where things stand in regards to a possible ACC channel. Should it go forward, Bobinski said, ESPN will likely want more “inventory” to put on the channel, meaning an additional conference game.
“Likely”, hunh. But the ACC already has so much on its scheduling plate.
There has been considerable pushback against a ninth game due to Notre Dame’s agreement to play five ACC opponents annually. (The league approved a nine-game schedule in May 2012 before changing back to eight after Notre Dame was added later in the year.) Particularly for Tech, Clemson and Florida State (and possibly Louisville), which all play SEC opponents, that would mean playing nine conference games, an SEC rival and Notre Dame in the same 12-game season roughly once every three seasons.
You know there’s a “but” coming, right?
But, TV money may trump. The GTAA projects it will receive $22.2 million from the ACC in the 2015 fiscal year. (That’s $5.5 million more than was previously projected. The increase is due in part to the league signing its grant of rights, which was worth about $1.1 million per school from ESPN.) That is largely ESPN cash. That number would increase in the future if plans for an ACC network are realized.
“I don’t know that there will be ultimately a lot of decision making to go into that,” Bobinski said, referring to the nine-game possibility. “I think it’ll be something that we’ll need to do to find a way to do as a league, and that’s a way to do it.”
Give the man credit for being honest, at least. It’s more than Mike Slive’s willing to admit.
In a move certain to crush the hopes of every college football player’s pretty girlfriend, SI.com reports that Brent Musburger is out as the lead announcer for ABC’s Saturday Night Football.
Believe it or not, there are other happenings in the world of college football beyond the Pruitt hire.
One of these days, I’m going to get it through my thick skull that college football’s capacity to disappoint me is bottomless. Just when I thought I couldn’t be more bummed out about the future of the sport, along comes this:
ESPN plans to study college football data this offseason for an age-old question in sports: Does more scoring produce higher television viewership?
CBS set record ratings this season for the SEC in a year in which the conference shattered many of its offensive records. Viewership is up on ESPN for this season’s BCS bowls, which have been some of the highest-scoring in the histories of those games.
“There’s sort of an anecdotal opinion that high-scoring games bring more people to the set,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN’s senior vice president of college sports programming.
Oh, goody. And, gee, if that turns out to be the case, I wonder what the WWL will want to do about it. Well, let everybody’s favorite hack explain it to you.
“I heard from a purist this morning who said, ‘You guys have ruined the game with all this scoring,’” BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said this week. “I like them both. I was looking forward to the rock’ em, sock ‘em Rose Bowl, and I was looking forward to what we anticipated happening at the Fiesta Bowl. The casual fan would rather see 52-45 than 7-6. Fans love offense. And I think during games people are talking people telling them, ‘You need to tune in.’”
Chicks dig the long ball! And ESPN digs chicks. The more, the merrier.
Now certainly on one level this is simply the result of being in a golden era of offensive innovation – as a reminder, you could do worse than check out the latest thing Chris Brown has written about what Malzahn is up to – but college football, just like any other sport, can make changes to the rules that open up scoring regardless of the prevailing offensive schemes. Let’s face it, offensive holding is almost extinct. The new targeting rules, while ostensibly created for other purposes, also restrict defenses. Officials’ approach to running no huddle attacks has definitely been relaxed over the last decade, as any Georgia fan can tell you. And there’s plenty more where that came from (I keep expecting the NCAA to adopt the NFL’s rule for pass interference).
Bottom line, if there’s one thing we know from the past few years, it’s that what ESPN wants, it generally gets. Payment has its privileges. And if big scoring games drive viewership, which in turn drives rights fees, what do you think Bill Hancock’s bosses will do in response? Yeah, that’s what I think, too.
This isn’t about defense über alles, either. I’m not longing for an world of Auburn 3, Mississippi State 2. I was enthralled as anybody with the Georgia-LSU back and forth in this season’s meeting. But the idea that college football needs to tinker with the margins to make the sport appealing to casual fans – bracket lovers, if I may be allowed the analogy – strikes me as both profoundly stupid for a sport that is so obviously built on a passionate fan base as well as insulting to those of us who already love what we’ve got.
Anyway, here’s hoping I’m wrong about what that study turns up. After all, if offense were everything, wouldn’t Conference USA have dominated the ratings over the past decade?
It strikes me that an Associate AD getting in a bitch slap fight on Twitter with an ESPN PR Director is a dumb, dumb move on more than one level.
It’s even worse when you get totally destroyed.
Tebow is the first college football analyst hired for the SEC Network.
If you weren’t already sick of him, ESPN pretty much guarantees you’re going to be soon enough.
Through a multi-year agreement, Tebow’s primary role will be as an analyst for SEC Nation, the network’s traveling pregame show that will originate from a different SEC campus each week beginning August 28, 2014. In the months leading up to launch and after, he will contribute to a variety of ESPN platforms including SportsCenter, ESPN Radio, and the network’s Heisman Trophy coverage, offering in-depth perspective as a legendary Southeastern Conference player.
On Monday, Jan. 6, Tebow will make his first appearance as an ESPN analyst during pregame coverage of the 2013 VIZIO BCS National Championship. He will contribute to the 9 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter, College Football Live (3 p.m.) and College GameDay Built by The Home Depot (7 p.m.). He will also be part of studio coverage for the new College Football Playoff (semifinals and championship game), which begins next season.
Hoo, boy. Overexposed much?
There is, though, one potential fly in the ointment.
“I am so excited that ESPN has given me this incredible opportunity,” said Tebow. “When I was six years old I fell in love with the game of football, and while I continue to pursue my dream of playing quarterback in the NFL, this is an amazing opportunity to be part of the unparalleled passion of college football and the SEC.”
I’m guessing the WWL isn’t losing much sleep over the possibility.