College football fans hate the BCS so much…

that ESPN’s reported to have thrown down a four-year, $500 million offer for the whole shooting match after the Fox contract expires in 2010.  (h/t The Wizard of Odds) That’s a mere 50% increase over what Fox currently pays for the right to promote Jumpers during a craptastically broadcast game.

Before you begin wildly celebrating the possibility that robot graphics may soon become a relic of the BCS’ past, three sobering points to consider:

  • Fox has a right of first refusal that runs for approximately another week, so it’s possible that it could elect to pay more for what it’s currently got, which I suppose wouldn’t mean fewer minutes devoted to advertising, would it?  Naaaah.
  • The World Wide Leader would pull all of the BCS games, including the Rose Bowl, off of over-the-air broadcast and onto cable.
  • It would also put off the possibility of a D-1 football playoff until after the 2015 season.  (That’s not a drawback to some, of course.)

Doc Saturday, who’s a playoff proponent (albeit a level headed one) sees a different drawback.

… From a pro-playoff perspective, though, the real consequence of a ridiculously lucrative deal between the BCS and the Worldwide Leader is the potential for the playoff argument to disappear altogether from the discourse of the sport’s most visible, agenda-setting media giant. With no major corporate stake in the Series or the legitimacy of The National Championship Game as an actual championship game, playoff talk gets bandied about pretty regularly on ESPN’s various outlets. It comes up on GameDay and studio segments with Rece, Lou and Mark; Kirk Herbstreit has gone out of his way for years to argue on-air for a “Plus One,” the bridge to a playoff (or a mini-playoff in itself, depending on your definition of “Plus One”) in a less revolutionary guise. Even if it comes out in half-baked form, the concept of a playoff still exists in the mainstream discourse for the average fan who tunes in to College Football Live or GameDay Final, or to any random game wherein Chris Spielman or Andre Ware or somebody might bring it up. Online, Pat Forde was setting up hypothetical brackets just last week.

But corporations are usually loathe to allow employees to pull the legs from underneath a $500 million investment. My concern as playoff advocate is that the Worldwide Leader — which really is that, in terms of influence and agenda-setting — will start to look like a more slickly-produced, less obvious version of the shameless BCS home page

I dunno… giving Herbie and Mark May one less hypothetical thing to whine about strikes me as more of a feature than a bug, but what do I know?



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

8 responses to “College football fans hate the BCS so much…

  1. dean

    Well the WWL already decides who plays in the BCS Championship game so they might as well televise it. 😉

    But seriously anything is better than fox. Say what you will about Raycom calling AJ Green AJ Bryant but at least they never called the dawgs Florida.


  2. Greg

    Yes, get it off Fox….”Knomar Moreno is under it, he’s got it and that’s the end of the inning” Some of their announcers(Thom Brennamen included), actually call Big Ten Network games during the year. Regardless, they’re terrible and the pre-game and post-game shows are equally hideous.


  3. Joe

    The World Wide Leader would pull all of the BCS games, including the Rose Bowl, off of over-the-air broadcast and onto cable.

    Seriously? Seriously? Aren’t we about 20 years past this mattering at all?


  4. This is a vast improvement, I won’t have to stab my eyes out while having to listen to Fox coverage of BCS games.


  5. Will Q

    I would assume that some of the games would be aired on “ESPN on ABC!!!”.


  6. Wolfman

    I seriously wonder why they would put all the games on ESPN, and not show them on ABC. I guess this emphasizes the demise of network television, but I certainly don’t foresee CBS putting March Madness on any other Viacom network.


  7. ArchDawg

    They would definitely be airing all of the games on ABC. There’s no need to say ‘ABC’ is buying the rights, because it’s understood: ESPN is ABC’s sports entity. ABC already airs the Rose Bowl anyway, and that game’s production is heads and shoulders above any of the other bowls in any way you evaluate game broadcasts. FOX is just completely abominable when it comes to the college game.


  8. ArchDawg

    Actually, upon further reading it looks like the games will air on ESPN. So strike most of what I wrote above.