Apocalypse not

Poor ol’ Tim Stephens spent all this time working up a scenario of conference realignment that has this as its underpinning

… Speaking of the Irish, they are the key domino. Their deal with NBC, which essentially gives them the funds to remain a football independent, expires in 2010. The Irish relationship with the Big East in other sports also bears watching closely. On the football field, it would behoove Notre Dame to start winning big again or its ability to dictate BCS terms may run short. If things do not go as the Irish hope, they may be forced to join a league. That could set off a chain of moves because Notre Dame in a league would change the balance of economic power…

only to find that Notre Dame has reupped with NBC for five more years (h/t NDNation).

The fat coach sings:

… Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weis added: “I’m thrilled on two levels to hear that Notre Dame will maintain its great relationship with NBC. As the head football coach, it is very beneficial for the program to have all of our home games broadcast into every living room in the country for the foreseeable future. As an alumnus, it is great to know that future students at Notre Dame will benefit from this partnership in the form of need-based scholarships.”

In other words, never mind.

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UPDATE: In somewhat related news, Brian at MGoBlog has posted that the Big Ten Network and Comcast are now officially in bed with each other.  Brian sees it as a big win for the BTN.

7 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, The Blogosphere

7 responses to “Apocalypse not

  1. Ally

    I will never understand that relationship. I just don’t get how anyone can claim that its fair.

    And doesn’t NBC have to answer to its advertisers? Surely the ratings from last year’s debacle of a season were in the toilet.

  2. They were. I think it’s safe to say that NBC is betting on the come with Weis and the ND program.

  3. Ally

    I have to wonder though if the ratings will EVER be low enough to null that incredibly biased “relationship.”

  4. kckd

    The same deal that lets the SEC get a deal with CBS lets ND get a deal with NBC. Thank Dooley and Switzer for that. But you can’t argue that the deal has been very good for the SEC.

    If things continue to go how they are now, I’m not so sure having ND football broadcast nationally in every living room for every home game is a good thing for Weis.

  5. Tim Stephens

    Senator Blutarsky, thanks for the link and the mention. I’m not surprised by ND’s re-up. The other leagues will re-up, too, and so will the BCS. None of my musings — which were not predictions, BTW, but rather conceivable scenarios — have ever proclaimed the superconference to be imminent but are more aimed toward, at earliest, the middle of next decade. Of which even ND’s reup through 2015 with NBC still fits. And many conference movements could happen with or without Notre Dame — though clearly an ND move would accelerate movement elsewhere. ND’s ability to remain on an island has never stopped other realignments, and if the market forces move teams toward the true superconference, it would not stop it in the future.
    Thanks for reading.

  6. Thanks, Tim. I enjoy your blog.

    My only critique of your scenario is that I don’t see why the conferences would want to spread the TV wealth with four or more additional schools. Other than that, I thought it was a fun read.

  7. Tim Stephens

    Very good question, Senator. I have a part III coming that will address some of that. And a part IV that will examine some reasons why none of this will happen.

    You are right that 16 does not work in college sports as we have known them until now. If it did, we would already be at 16 (the SEC and ACC, I know for sure, looked at that number in previous expansions; the Big 12 has look at at least 14). They decided not to do it then in part for the reason you state.

    But if/when we reach the point of conference-owned networks and playoffs, the math may change. I’ve seen estimates on a playoff that would produce several times the money produced by bowls as we have them now. The presidents have resisted that, but if their budgets continue to be under assault perhaps their opposition softens.

    And we should not discount the savings that more geographically sensible travel created by eight-team divisions could have. As one AD described it, those savings count the same as revenue. The 16-team model reduces a lot of travel for cross-division games that is currently required in the 12-team format. Especially in non-revenue sports.

    I have doubts that the 16-team superconference truly takes hold anytime soon but I expect it to be considered very closely.