Kudos to the Orlando Sentinel, which managed to produce an article about the economics of the D-1 football postseason without having to resort to blind assurances that grabbing all that extra money from a new playoff format would be a breeze.
Here’s the heart of the matter:
… When approached about a playoff, most officials and analysts toss out the disclaimer that “it isn’t all about money.”
It’s about sharing, and not the kind of sharing you learn in kindergarten.
“Conferences have to ask themselves if the hundreds of millions they share 12 ways should be shared 120 ways,” said Steve Hogan, chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Sports. “Most have trouble with that scenario.”
Despite increases in bowl revenue for non-automatic qualifying conferences since the BCS’ inception in 1998, many experts say the six most powerful conferences have too sweet of a deal to desire a change.
A study by Brigham Young University assistant economics professor Richard W. Evans found the automatic qualifiers have taken at least 93 percent of the overall bowl revenue in seven of the last 11 years in the BCS era.
The Atlantic Coast Conference, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and Southeastern Conference have earned $1.87 billion in bowl money since 1998, according to Evans’ calculations. That figure includes Notre Dame, an independent.
The Mountain West, Western Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Sun Belt and Mid-American Conference have earned a combined $196.4 million during that span, less than last year’s total alone of $218.85 million for the automatic qualifiers.
“I can’t see any reason why they would want to change that sort of financial boon,” said Evans, who spent eight months researching the BCS and published his work on the Web site econosseur.com.
That’s because, quite simply, there isn’t one. If they want more for what they bring to the table, the mid-majors are going to have to create their own incentives, or sit and wait on the likes of Orrin Hatch for a government-led end run.
Two other issues addressed in the article are worth pondering: (1) the effect a playoff would have on the value of the mid-majors’ regular season and (2) the anti-playoff incentive of the new SEC TV contract.