Make sure you read Barnhart’s post on the SEC TV deals with CBS and – especially – ESPN. There are a ton of good points and questions he brings out.
For example, on recruiting:
The games on ESPN and ESPN2 will have a unique national branding as the “SEC on ESPN.” That may not sound like a big deal to you but it will be a major recruiting pitch in the future. No other conference has that kind of branding on ESPN: Not the Big Ten, not the Big 12, and not the ACC. The SEC will be able to walk into a living room and say that every conference game will either be on CBS or one of the ESPN platforms. And if the SEC is recruiting a player outside the nine-state area, the coaches can tell parents that the games will be on the dish as part of ESPN’s Game Plan. This is a huge part of this deal. The NFL has the best television package on the planet but what the SEC has with CBS and ESPN is not far off.
It’s good stuff, good enough that I keep wondering why the AJ-C is letting Barnhart go.
And I’m gonna beat a certain dead horse one more time with this observation:
… Other conferences should take heed of this deal because it shows the value of college football in a changing marketplace. While just about all other sports, including college basketball, are hurting when it comes to ratings, college football is more popular than it has ever been and is increasing in value.
Other than the NFL, the TV execs are discovering that college football gives them the most bang for their buck. Collectively CBS and ESPN are investing $3 billion into the SEC over the next 15 years. Those guys don’t throw around that kind of money on an asset that is going to decrease in value over time.
Hmm… what is it about college football that makes it so attractive in the marketplace? It couldn’t be that old “every week counts” regular season format, could it? All I can tell you is that, judging from Barnhart’s information, ESPN wanted this deal badly. In the end, the numbers speak for themselves.